Day 11 29th April 2013 Inverness to Carrbridge
Gruffolos in the woods at Culloden!! Good run, hard hills in places, hail, rain, sun and wind. Now on NCN7, well signed track. Taking the Dextrose tablets. Rounded-up by a collie. Lunch stop at Tomatin – only the Post Office there now but selling “micro-wave” snacks – no Pub. now. Very, very wet – decided to go to Carrbridge Hostel – arrived 1430 – early but let us in. Ski, walking, mountain-biking centre. First Aid course in progress. Did french Tax return as excellent WiFi. I’m feeling much better and only walked a bit on hills. Comfortable hostel, homely kitchen, free free-range eggs and a guitar-playing, folk-singing fellow guest from Fife. (£46 for room)
Log: 319,22kms Trip: 41,43kms Time: 3:34:34 Av.speed: 11.58kph
Day 12 30th April 2013 Carrbridge to Newtonmore
Good sunny day and run to Boat of Garten. Took NCN7 not the Speyside trail. Fresh eggs for breakfast and shared porridge. Bought cakes at Aviemore outskirts for lunch and picnicked in forest. My shoulder playing up again (30kish), so stopped enjoying quite so much. Undulating road – quite fast. Wind round to S-Sw. B&B at Clune House, Newtonmore. Comfortable room – bit pricey, so hope it’s a good breakfast. WiFi good – able to do photos etc.
Saw Reuthuen Barracks (ruins) Going for beer and supper – might look at Aqua Theatre?? (didn’t) Beers – Brewer’s Passion, Caledonian brewery, Edinburgh.
Log: 374,15 kms Trip: 54,23kms Time: 3:47:01 Av.speed: 14,33kph
Day 13 1st May 2013 Newtonmore to Struan
I’m still bit panicky – feel v. full after cooked breakfast. Bought lunch at Co-op and left in rain. Made 10k stops and at special cafe for early lunch, the Dalwhinnie “Tollhouse Cafe” and
Bunkhouse – good lentil soup, etc. Brilliant NCN7 through Drumochter Pass (459mtrs) Climb was gradual, more or less beside A9 – really wasn’t as hard as the “wimp,” expected – amazing ride down on the NCN7 switchbacks but basically all downhill. Watched helicopter working on banks of the Garry. Struan early (1515) – looks excellent place – will be a pub again hopefully. Great supper, very nice hostess (bagpipe player).
Log: 423,88kms Trip: 49,72kms Time: 3:31:42 AV.speed: 14,09kph
Day 14 2nd May 2013 Struan to Bankfoot
White cloud (weather forecast term) Good run out to Blair Atholl (Struan was a great B&B); passed very posh shopping development – The House of Bruar – ladies’ country clothing. Coffee stop at Pitlochry – very twee holiday place – it’s getting more and more like that. But met really nice chatty lady. Switchback road through to Logerait where left NCN7 for the 77 over horrid rickety bridge; more switchbacks; following river and railway. No real lunch stop. Hard and rough forest track into Dunkeld past the Hilton – shocking potholes up their drive!! Dunkeld more “real” than Pitlochry. Bought emergency food and booked Bankfoot B&B. Chain lube by Progression Bikes – quite a bit of interest.
Stopped at Beatrix Potter gardens to change GPS batteries. Nasty steps up to station and not very nice track on to Bankfoot road – relief to reach the final downhill run into Bankfoot – old coaching inn – real ales. Good breakfast and supper although I had a slightly upset tum.
Log: 475,98kms Trip: 52,09kms Time: 3:59:11 Av.speed: 13,06kph
Day 15 3rd May 2013 Bankfoot to Errol
Good start – reasonably warm and windfree. Great cycleway round Perth along river. Very steep hill out on NCN77 and then undulating – rain catching us and getting wetter and wetter. I walked down very steep slippery hill above Glencarse. Stopped for lunch in bus shelter. Michael(chainsaw) chatted and filled flask. Continued towards Dundee getting wetter and wetter. Dripped all over the Picture House Restaurant and Cafe but booked into Courtyard B&B (owner took pity) arrived soaked to the knickers but they let us have their own personal guest room – very spacious. Still raining. Steepest up and down and wettest ride yet!! Supper of teacakes and nutbars. Gerry bit coldy.
Log: 515,88kms Trip: 39,90kms Time: 3:15:21 Av.speed 12,25kph
Day 16 4th May 2013 Errol to Crees/Abernethy
“Dash” to Dundee – wind behind us, loads of other cyclists. Good dedicated NCN77 along road into Dundee – surprise – a lift to take pedestrians & cyclists up to bridge. “Discovery” exhibition with penguins. Gerry rode the bridge, I walked it – too many pedestrians. Interesting road (NCN777) through Newport-on-Tay to Newburgh. Very steep hill in the middle. Forest picnic at top, headwind all way so hard work. Thought luck was in as first pub with B&B said “vacancies” but was full, kindly phoned to next town 3 miles off route (I was not very happy) and booked the Crees Inn. Customer tried B&B on route, no reply, shame (actually just as well as was still off route on rough track) If there is a wind tomorrow – let it be an easterly!!!
Log: 571,28kms Trip: 55,39kms Time: 4:26:50 Av.speed: 12,45kph
Day 17 5th May 2013 Crees to Kinross
Sunny morning – wind behind back to Newburgh then in face and very steep “walking hill”. Auchtermuchty coffee stop by Jimmy Shand statue, nice sunshine. Falkland Village very busy apparently quite a tourist site – medieval village. Took cycle path through House of Falkland to Pillars of Hercules – lunch break (soup, bread and cake £12.20) Good but not exactly as website led us to believe. Gerry cold bad when stationary, easier when pedalling. My legs pretty tired against wind. Pleased that we stayed on cycle route as good surface through to Strathmilgo. Hardish hills against wind to Kinross. Last bit hard – NCN1 blanked out but still signed for cycling. B&B Roxburgh House – landlady also does chinese medicine! Bikes in the garden. “Chippy” next door. Queues out-the-door (£6.90 for supper) £50 B&B. Landlady bought aspirin for Gerry – v. kind.
Log: 612,74kms Trip: 41,46kms Time: 3:33:00 Av.speed: 11,67kph
Day 18 6th May (Bank Holiday Monday) Kinross to Edinburgh
Discussion with other cyclist staying at B&B from Newcastle he had taken 5 days. Slightly mizzly start and steep hill from Kinross through Forests to Bowershall. Made good time to in sight of bridge so
decided to go for Edinburgh. Met Policeman cycling to Bournemouth. Very impressed with weight of Gerry’s bike! Bridge good (v. impressive looking across to iron rail bridge). Cycle route into City and Hostel surprisingly rural in places, suburbia in others and an excellent path! Good hostel with reasonably priced food. Only downer, bike store in basement down awkward steps. Walked to Carlton Hill, looking out over river mouth – perfect spot – bit of John moment, so much what he would have liked. Bought breakfast – did shopkeeper charge for too expensive Edinburgh rock that we didn’t buy? Ready for bed now – only 2125!
Log: 662,30 kms Trip: 46,56kms Time: 4:02:24 Av.speed 12,26kph
Day 19 7th May 2013 Edinburgh
Day off from cycling – Tourists…
Lovely warm sunny day. Did laundry, walked, bought fudge, visited “Museum of Childhood” (fascinating and free) Walked up to castle – more magnificent views. Strolled round Scottish National Gallery; wandered through maze of the Records (Ancestral Investigations) office looking for cafe! Lunch eventually at Mama Rosa’s Italian (genuine) near hostel. Excellent 3-course lunch for £7.95 each. Rested for couple of hours. Sent card to Jean