We retraced our route a few hundred yards before turning left down a narrow path overgrown with nettles which led to a new footbridge bolted onto the railway bridge over the Kyle of Sutherland. We’d probably have missed it but a German cyclist leaving the hostel with us had reconnoitred the previous evening and we helped each other down the steep steps, never easy with a fully laden bike.

This footbridge deposited us on the quiet A836 but we took the parallel “B” road past the Falls of Shin where we stopped to admire the cascade and visit the café. We rejoined the A836 near Lairg and soon after it diverged from Loch Shin and became a single track affair through lovely open scenery with views of Ben Kilbreck and Ben Loyal before the run along Loch Loyal and on to Tongue.

This was a great day’s cycling – sunny weather, Highland scenery and gentle hills. The three Scottish cyclists and the lone German again shared the quiet friendly hostel with us. The German was tackling the 6000km North Sea Route and had only taken up cycling a year ago, when he retired from work. He too was carrying a tent but hadn’t yet used it. After dinner we strolled back to the Tongue Hotel for some palatable if outrageously expensive (£2.25) Caledonian 80/- ale.