RideEatCamp

Rest day in Tongue

Europe

We decided to stay an extra day at the Tongue Hostel, where we camped the night before. This hostel seems to be unique in Scotland because it offers camping. In Ireland, we stayed at several hostels that allowed camping. As I’ve mentioned before, this is our favorite type of accommodation.

After heading west on the main road, we took the minor road to Altnaharra. Ben Hope rises to the left.
After heading west on the main road, we took the minor road to Altnaharra. Ben Hope rises to the left.

The minor road continued to impress with its rolling terrain and uninterrupted views of the Highlands.
The minor road continued to impress with its rolling terrain and uninterrupted views of the Highlands.
As we headed north back to Tongue on the A road, we watched some squalls give the mountains a wee dousing.
As we headed north back to Tongue on the A road, we watched some squalls give the mountains a wee dousing.

This hostel also happens to be lovely. It’s a large Victorian home with a cozy lounge and generously sized cooking and eating facilities. Now that we’re hooked on tea, there’s nothing finer than relaxing in a sofa in front of the fire with a cup of tea as the world outside is gray and wet.

But this wouldn’t be an interesting bicycle touring blog if all we did was sit around in cozy rooms sipping tea. No, we need to add in dashes of adventure and sometimes plain hardship to make those moments of cozy tea sipping feel as good as they do.

Therefore instead of spending our rest day resting, we decided to go for a wee ride into some of the most remote countryside in all of Europe. Our fifty-mile loop from Tongue put us on some tiny singletrack roads through the heart of the Highlands. I kept wondering why in the world there was even a paved road out in these parts, since we saw maybe four motor vehicles in twenty miles, but I was supremely happy it was there.

Carrie and I were wearing big grins all day, despite the ever-present drizzle. We rolled along and just admired the roughly hewn peaks and wide river valleys, all devoid of any signs of human interference, except our little ribbon of road. It’s days like this that remind me why I love cycling.