Day 7 – Monday 30th  March

  • 60 minutes plus 5 minutes’ cooldown level 8
  • Max heart rate = 152bpm
  • Calories = 472
  • Distance covered = 16.35 miles 
  • Total distance so far = 70.74 miles

Sensibly, I decided to pace myself today and it took me 39 minutes 37 seconds to do 10 miles – so a minute longer than Friday.  Heather Small did a good job of pushing me on.  To keep myself amused I noted my pulse at various points – at 20 minutes it was 131, 40 minutes 152, 60 minutes 146 and I finished at 132.  Of course, it does depend on where I am in the programme – before or after a hill!

I treated myself to a catch up on The Great British Menu (usually reserved for ironing). Always useful to know about nice restaurants around the country – sadly it’s started with Central England just when I needed Scotland!

Mary decided to ‘join’ me on her bike today.  No stats to report but she was pleased to find she could while away a not too strenuous 25 minutes whilst engrossed in a podcast.  Very relevant to today’s situation if anyone would like to listen in.  Grab a chair and a quiet corner and settle in for a thought provoking and inspiring interview. Click here.

Alternatively – how about ‘joining’ me too!  Would love to hear your stories and knowing you are ‘riding’ with me will be a great boost.

So, today I got back on track with a ‘full cycling’ day and reached Golspie.  Sadly no time to stop (or even shop!) on the way at the wonderful Brora.

The story of Golspie is in large measure the story of the Dukes of Sutherland and their predecessors the Earls of Sutherland.  At the start of the 1800s the Sutherland estates of the Countess of Sutherland and her husband, the Marquess of Stafford amounted to some 1.5 million acres and formed the biggest private estate in Europe.

The discovery that more money could be made from the land if it was grazed by sheep than from the rents of the crofters led to what many saw at the time as “agricultural improvements”.  However, I doubt whether the crofters thought the same way.  These improvements meant the forcible and sometimes brutal removal of up to 15,000 people from the Sutherland estates to make room for the sheep.  As I’ve been learning along the way, some displaced people were resettled in coastal communities to take advantage of the herring boom. More were shipped abroad: many to North America where they in turn helped displace the Native Americans. 

It looks an interesting town with a very attractive hotel and a wide expanse of beach.

Just a mile to the north of the village is the magnificent and extravagant Dunrobin Castle, the ancestral home of the Sutherlands. A castle was built here in the late 1300s, and parts still remain within the later additions. However, most of today’s fairytale castle dates back to the 1840s.

Gradually working my way south – the Dornoch Firth is almost ‘in sight’!