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YHA Day 17: Woodend Campsite, Lairg to SYHA Tongue
    12/08/2013 08:43

Day 17: Woodend Campsite, Lairg to SYHA Tongue

Tom and I were awoken by a sort of "Arghouuuuughghrargh!" noise coming from our tent door... Twas not a farmyard animal but Gareth's vocal splurge on unzipping the porch and seeing the spectacular view in which we had set up camp in the dark the night before.

Day 16 Route: Woodend Campsite, Lairg to SYHA Tongue
Mileage: 29 miles
Total Mileage: 983 miles
Phrase of the Day: It's time for a Tommy Panoramic

Whilst putting on my temporary-replacement-for-lost-trousers (pair of 100 denier tights) in the camping loos a chap walked in who looked oddly familiar. After exchanging mildly confused expressions, I realised this was Greg who we had last seen at Land's End on day one of our LEJOG, to whom Gareth had gifted one of his Buffs.

We alternately exchanged stories in between teeth brushing stints, Greg had had a fall a few days in after clipping a curb, but other than that had had a fantastic time. A well-travelled man, Greg, from Sacramento, San Franc. was retired and had been on numerous cycle tours over the years — enough to rack up over 57,000 miles on the very bike he was riding on LEJOG. Thailand, India, Australia, New Zealand, West Coast USA, and many others were all under his Brooks saddle.

Onwards! We hoped onto our bikes and were hoofed off by a couple of rather fetching cattle on the hillside. The winding road climbed up and out into complete wilderness. We were apparently on an A road, although in reality a winding single track with passing places. It was soon obvious that this was one of the most eyeball-explodingly, brain-tinglingly epic roads we had yet cycled and, I dare say, one of the best on this very isle of Great Britain.

Now that the choices of route had thinned we were beginning to see a few more cyclists on their own LEJOGs. At around 11am we came across the only building for many, many miles around - The Crask Inn, and it seemed most of the cycling world had also descended upon Kai, the owner's olde-worlde rest stop.

A cupcake and a coffee later, Greg rocked up and we decided to continue the day together — the three of A Biking Good Ride became a four. The road continued to surpass its earlier self with one genuinely jaw-dropping view and 10-minute gliding downhill section after another.

The road eventually dropped into the town of Tongue where we had a bite to eat with our new cycling friend Greg and we made our way to the hostel - SYHA Tongue. The wonderful Kate checked us in, Tom whipped up a marvellous beef stew and it was off to the pub across the causeway for a nightcap. Today was a proper good day; what cycling is all about - friends and free-wheeling windy roads in the wilderness!

Tomorrow is the final day. Excitement, apprehension, sadness... a big mix of emotions is bubbling around us all.

By Harry Hosteller

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