Thursday, 21 August 2014

Day 4: Thursday 21 August 2014

Blair Atholl to Dalwhinnie (24 miles cycling)

Woke to torrential downpour. On the positive side there was no wind but I wasn't in the best of moods at Blair Atholl this morning. Mood cleared about 6 miles in and so did the weather at least until just before Dalwhinnie. Cycle route 7 is a curious mixture: all off the A9 which is good but oddly engineered and in places the surface deadly for a road bike. Cattle grids also not much fun. Got decent speeds after the Drumochter summit and Dalwhinnie was treated to my version of “Do you know the way to Dalwhinnie?” as I tore into town. A lovely rest afternoon wandering around Pitlochry.

Day 3: Wednesday 20th August 2014

 Linn of Dee to Blair Atholl (22.5 miles running)

All running today which was a relief. Dropped off at Linn of Dee with my Border Terrier Reiver. I'd been a bit worried about the river levels especially the Geldie Burn Crossing but after discussing the route with our Al our B&B host,whose credits include a number of rounds including the Bob Graham,decided to go for it. In the end the Geldie burn was difficult but OK with care. The rest of that route is a dream. Wet feet all the way as there are a good many fords initially but the rest of it a narrow but very distinct path, gravelly and extremely runnable. Reiver in good form those wee legs eating up the miles. Met a good many folk along the way including a kilted fisherman. Sandra had needed to go to Tillicoultry during the day so I just had time for a pint of Moulin Ale in the Atholl Arms Hotel before she collected us.

Day 2: Tuesday 19th August 2014

Glendoll to Linn of Dee (13.5 miles running, 8.5 bike)

2nd day and my support driver / soignuer (Sandra) had to endure a 130 mile round trip just so that I could run the 13.5 miles between Glendoll and Braemar! Weather was a bit changeable but it was a cracking run up over Jock's Road.  A very runnable climb from the south and a good run our but the path (never mind road) doesn't really exist beyond Davy’s Bourach the shelter at the top of Glendoll. It is beautiful wild running and Kisii, Sandra’s Ridgeback, was most impressed by the variety of wildlife about: Ptarmigan already turning white and masses of hares as well as deer.  Sandra and Reiver walked up the track to meet us. I switched to the bike in the car park and rattled out the eight miles to Linn of Dee to finish off the day.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Coast to Coast Day 1: Monday 18th August 2014

Montrose to Glendoll

Today I began my attempt at a Coast to Coast to mark my 50th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary. A busy morning (financial affairs in Forfar while I ate a Bridie and watched Guide Dog training) and very strong westerly winds saw me adjusting the route to start on the beach at Montrose rather than in Gourdon. I insisted on actually dipping a toe in the North Sea so we negotiated the dunes at Montrose with the dogs before I turned my bike to the west and set off to Glendoll in the Angus Glens.  From the beginning I was cycling into a strong westerly and even had to pedal the downhills.  The road from Montrose to Brechin was busy but after Brechin the roads were very quiet indeed and the views west across Angus were splendid between rain showers. Met Sandra at the Rottal junction after turning up Glen Clova and took a break before setting off on the last 9 miles up to Glendoll. We are saying overnight in Braemar and although it is only 15 miles or so over the hill we had a 60 mile drive round.