It was only in the morning as I left that I noticed all the wall murals in town depicting the history and culture of the area. There is also a distillery on the edge of town, a part of Whyte & Mackay producing grain spirit for the blending industry.
The B817 road along Nigg Bay was almost absent of cars and for some of the way I could use the beach. Oil rigs were prominent in the bay.The villages passed had no facilities so I pushed on and found even quieter lanes inland. The odd cyclist passed me with a cheery greeting [not all cyclists are odd!] A petrol station appeared and an ice cream was purchased.
The A9 was perishingly close but I was able to continue on an old road which was slowly being reclaimed by nature. At its end it was a short hop across the main road to reach the rather isolated Shandwick Arms where I rested over a Belhaven ale and sandwich. Despite being refreshed I soon ran into blocked ways and escaped to fields and barbed wire crossings. Then all was all plain sailing on little used lanes passing small crofts. I didn’t try to join up with the JO’G Trail in the forests which I had heard was difficult. So I was soon dropping into Tain a prosperous looking town just above the Dornoch Firth. It was only in the last few hundred yards that I touched the JO’G Trail. An uneventful day’s walk through very pleasant scenery.
On the outskirts of town today a Highland gathering and games were taking place. My hotel was central and the games continued into the night by the sound of it.