A stage of two halves – we left Inverness YHA hostel and crossed the North Kessock bridge before cycling east along the spine of the Black Isle – some long and steep climbs involved. Cromarty was our lunch stop before taking the ferry to Nigg back on the ‘mainland’. From there it was a hard slog north-west to our overnight stop at the well appointed and hospitable Shandwick Hotel in Tain. The weather remained cold – we reckon with wind-chill around 8 deg. – and showery. Strictly speaking, no new additions to the bird list, but a couple of hybrid Carrion x Hooded Crow provided interest on route and a taste of things to come. Tain was home to a joint RAF /FAA base during WW11 and in the final years of the conflict hosted the USAF 66th squadron of B-24D Liberator bombers – the flat desolate landscape is still punctuated with war-time buildings. Today we head north west along the shores of the Dornoch Firth and deeper into the highlands.