Day 1 in numbers - Distance: 86mi (138Km) - Ascent: 3,869ft (1,179m)

Day 1 is set to be one of the more gentle and picturesque days of the adventure. However after a long day of travelling all the way from Essex to John O’groat the previous day there are likely to be some stiff legs from the start.

“Gentle” is of course a relative term and today is by no means an easy day in the saddle. With gradients topping out at over 20% there are a couple of short sharp lumps around Berriedale towards the middle of the day.

From John O’Groats we south via Watten before picking up the A9 just outside Lybster on East coast. We stay close to the coast for the rest of the day which looks set to offer some stunning view out to the North Sea. After the Berriedale climbs the route flattens out nicely for the afternoon as we head towards Golspie which with a population of 1,650 is the busieast place we pass through all day until Tain. Just beyond Golspie we pass Loch Fleet a national nature reserve home to seals, ospreys and rare wild flowers.

Finally we ride over the Dornoch Firth on the imaginatively named “Dornoch Firth Bridge” and through Glen Morangie famed for its tasty single malt whisky. Assuming we don’t stop for too long here to sample the local produce we should be in Tain in time for dinner.

Tain is Scotland’s oldest Royal Burgh with a charter dating from 1066 and is a town of around 4,000 people. The average temperature is just 13°C in May so we’ll have to find a pub with a log fire and get a “wee dram” in to keep warm. However we going to need our rest as the following day is a beast with 125 mile in the saddle down to Ballater.

Below you should find a VeloViewer of the day’s ride (sometimes takes a few seconds to load).