With my End to End completed I enjoyed a smug breakfast, and a morning of leisure writing smug postcards, followed by a smug lunch, in the John o’Groats House Hotel.
I amused myself watching the trickle of arrivals at the fingerpost from the comfort of my warm dry table – it was cold, drizzly and windy outside – and the varied celebrations. Some people jumped up and down and sprayed champagne. Others just looked knackered and wearily grateful.
The weather was so bad that the photographer who normally hangs around and charges you a fiver to use their signpost had stayed at home. So I nipped across to snap myself under it. (See pic from previous day’s post).
In the afternoon I rode with a tailwind to Dunnet Head, the northernmost point of the British mainland, so that I could take a picture of myself with the lighthouse (pic) and say Been there, Dunnet.
Some parents of a friend of a friend in Thurso had generously offered to put me up for the night – and, going above and beyond, gave me breakfast at 5am the next morning for my 0633 train, the beginning of the long journey back home.
Which gave me a few final local-food experiences thanks to Mr and Mrs R, my kind hosts. My dinner was Caithness beef sausages, from the butcher in town. Beefeater rating: Looking after those crown jewels.
The apple pie for pudding was local too, and the producer even knew the name of the tree that had produced them. The ice-cream was from Capaldi’s, a third-generation Italian Scottish family in Brora, and was very creamy and very nice. Cream rating: Eric Clapton solo.
I also enjoyed a bottle of Belhaven, made in Dundee: an average-tasting dark and malty beer which sent me off to sleep before I could decide in detail how it had tasted. Bell rating: Hergé’s adventures of tintinnabulation.
(Addendum from the morning after, 27 Jun 1997: Breakfast – and the final local-food experience of this enjoyable culinary trip – was scrambled eggs rustled up by Mr R from local free-range hens across the road. I could see which hen had produced them. That one, there. Pun rating: Fowl play not suspected.)
Miles today: 34
Miles Land’s End to John o’Groats: 1167
Miles total on trip: 1211