Somehow I have to admit that the way back started today. On the first stage it will be demonstrated by example that even well-known terrain is not necessarily easier to ride on.

Today, I actually make a u-turn and simply drive the north coast back to the east. Generations of "cycling with golf"-historians will be racked over the reasons, symposia on this question will escalate in controversy over this, formerly fruitful research communities will break up. Let's look forward to it and simply state for today: The destination for today is Bettyhill and the thought of the camping site makes me horrified right away already. But the only hotel of the place is obviously fully booked. That is astonishing in view of the remoteness.

Well, only the horror won't bring me closer to my destination, so at some point I had no choice but to pedal and leave the beautiful Durness. See you again!

 

Three days ago, on the way there, a café operator told me that the way in the other direction, i.e. that of today, would be considered more strenuous. Of course I couldn't even imagine that. However, I remember exactly the tortured, annoyed face of a racing cyclist who came uphill towards me and I thought to myself: He could look a bit more friendly. To make the suffering of others one's own it is generally regarded as a sought-after quality under the keyword empathy. I admit openly: When I'm rolling down a mountain, there's nothing but malicious joy behind the mask of the encouraging nod. Let him see how he gets up there. It wasn't easy for me either, until now. I worked hard for my loose rolling and I didn't act that way! And then please take a look at how much luggage I carry around with me! I just remembered how disgusted I was by the comment of J. Fleischhauer, a journalist who can only be tolerated as a cabaret artist - which unfortunately he is not. People like that work the floor for the shift to the right of the politically centred. Only for the sake of completeness, I provide the LINK to this column, one should not follow it and it is only available in German either way. 

What can I say? The good landlady was right. I had great weather, only a few cars were to be seen, even the wind held back pleasantly. And yet it could not be denied that the climbs in this direction were simply a bit steeper and the descents required more attention, so that the effort increased by the minute. As I jittered up the climb where I met the grim racing cyclist, the thought occurred to me what a pleasant cheerful nature he was. But what was true on the whole tour also applied here: This mountain also had an end at some point. And in fact the worst was done. I rested again at the place I had already discussed, where man might soon set out to explore outer space.

Then I cycled relatively relaxed to Bettyhill. On the way I met a whole pack of VW buses from Saxony. Here it just occurred to me that I wanted to tell you all the time that the sheep were behaving incredibly funny here. Imagine the situation as follows: We are on a relatively little used road that meanders through the area. To the left and to the right there is little or nothing that the eye can hold on to, but a lot that the common sheep likes to eat. Since some centuries ago the so-called Clearances (for the interested one: LINK) made sure that the sheep breeding spread in the Scottish Highlands area-wide, there are a lot of these wool heads at the roadside.
Even if the road is not very busy, this means that every few minutes a car or a motorcycle passes by. Some of these vehicles do this with enormous speed and volume. The sheep acknowledge this by: No reaction at all. They don't even look up from their tasty meal, let alone that there would be any other reaction. But if you now imagine the same road and the same sheep and replace the car with a bicycle, it becomes turbulent. Even from a distance, the cyclist is eyed by the sheep and they seem to be murmuring that another stranger is coming. When the bike approaches the sheep, something really unexpected happens: they collectively run away in sometimes astonishing intensity. Obviously they feel threatened in their sheepishness by the unusual bicycle and see the existence of their sheep culture lightly put at risk. Yes, the unknown can cause you a lot of fear, even if on closer inspection it is much less threatening than what you have known for a long time. It is nice that the sheep have at least found an appropriate way to deal with their fear. With a little distance they can learn after the flight that the foreign is not so unbearable. This is just as true for sheep that have already been sheared as it is for those who are still in possesion of their wool.

One kilometre before the end of the day I passed a trustworthy B&B which indicated on the usual sign that there were still rooms available for tonight. And so my suppressed worries about the campsite were immediately dispelled. It was a very good decision. I splashed after the many hills of the day a whole time in the bathtub and the strains were ancient history, soon. The operator of the B&B told me amusingly that she was the cousin of the greenkeeper in Durness mentioned yesterday. A small and beautiful world up here.

Today gets the Babe-A-Little-Pig-Goes-A-Long-Way-Award for exemplary communication in the animal kingdom.