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Day 4. 3/6/2014. Cycle Elgin to Alness. Distance cycled 119.9km. Ascent 742m. Cumulative distance cycled 473.8km. Cumulative ascent 3641m.

farm yard
Woodside Farm Yard.
There was quite a climb to start with today to get out of Elgin and over onto the coastal flats. We took a mixture of roads with several bits on NCN1 but deliberately misssed out sections where an obvious short cut was possible. After the hiccup with the GPS yesterday I was much more critical of the route choices when they came up.

Findhorn across the Findhorn estuary.
First stop was at the farm shop at Woodside Farm just outside Kinloss. The cafe wasn't supposed to open until 10.30 but they took pity on us and opened early. It was a wonderfully clean yard and the conversion of some of the old steadings had been quite tastefully carried out. They also have a biomass system working on site and are looking at installing a digester system to generate power from the waste from their operations. They obviously have a very good business ideal.

fort george
Fort George Barracks.
From Kinloss we skirted the Findhorn estuary and passed by some very extensive flood protection works around Broom of Moy where the whole river channel had been tidied up with a bulldozer. Our second morning coffee was in Nairn and the wireless network in the cafe was used to check the latest rain radar pictures that
fort george
Cannons covering every part.
showed a large area of rain heading north in front of us. We left the cafe to find that it was indeed correct as it had just started raining there. Neil purchased a spare folding tyre at the local bike shop along the road just in case he suffered any damage to his delicate tyres but despite looking at a good selection of saddles opted to not buy a new one to alleviate the discomfort his existing one was causing him.

Rainbow over the Cromarty Firth.
We took the opportunity to visit Fort George today as we were passing quite close and as Neil has never been to see it. It is an amazing place with its indented revetments that allowed every part of the outer walls to be protected by cannon or small arms fire from another part. It was completed in 1769 and is the only ancient monument in Scotland still functioning as intended – a working army barracks - but still welcoming visitors. Dolphins can often be seen from the ramparts although the tide was at slack water when we were there so there were none to see.

cromarty Firth
Showers over the Cromarty Firth.
At Inverness, Neil wanted to have a look at saddles in Tiso's in Inverness so we never managed a visit to the velocity cafe and bicycle workshop and that was a great pity, especially when the choice of saddles was little better than it had been in Nairn.

From Dingwall the cycle route makes a big climb to get up onto an old road that runs roughly parallel to the A9 giving great views out over the Cromarty Firth. When we came this way three years ago the Firth was full of drilling rigs but I don't recollect seeing any this time. There were quite a few showers around especially a very black one to the east but thankfully it passed north before we reached our stop in Alness.


Day 04 map
Click map to see full details of this day's ride in Ride With GPS.