I was looking forward to perhaps walking off the main roads for a bit choosing to walk closer to the firth and passing through Invergordon. This was a pleasant little town, steeped in ship history and naval sculduggery. I ate in a great little cafe called the Purple Turtle Cafe. It had free Wi-Fi and home cooked food. (Though in a shop of course) Mike the owner was a man from other parts, somewhere south of England if I remember, but lived a few miles away now and had been running the place for about 18 months. As he said himself, business was tough but rewarding as many of the regulars were locals and they also held private events out of hours if requested. Kat was a funny and helpful waitress and the mood of the place was very conducive to me typing and trying to get some stuff published here. I sat people watching for quite a while too before they closed for the day.
I wound my way back towards the A9 though I had seen options to keep me away from it ahead and eventually as it got dark was surprised to find a village with a pub and a shop, where I had not seen evidence of it on the map. Milton of Kildarty and the Milton Inn welcomed me with great freedom and smiles. Sandra the owner manager was very kind, chatty as were many of the regulars. A man named Scott was playing darts on his own, practicing but came over and engaged with me instantly. He was keen to know about the project, why I was walking so far and made a very nice contribution to the cause and invited me to several drinks too. Sandra asked if I could play darts and I began to throw the arrows against Scott, though I doubt I challenged his skills very far. At the end of the night another young man by the name Sean was chatting away to me telling me a lot about the village and life here. Sandra kindly said that I could put my tent up in the garden as it was. More of a terrace, but dry and close with lighting to erect the tent by.
A castle looking building to my left caught my attention. It advertised a welcome to non residents, and was named the Mansfield Castle Hotel. I was intrigued as to what it would be like inside so decided to find out.
As I left the town, I soon realised why I had heard of Tain before. On the front of the bottle of GlenMorange whiskey it says, "Perfected by, the sixteen men of Tain."
Soon I was crossing over the Dornoch bridge that had been opened by her Majesty the Queen mother in 1991?. it was impressive but not on the scale of the Forth or the Humber bridges but constructed by a shunt method it was one of the longest in Europe of its kind.