Tuesday 18th June
- From: Blair Atholl
- To: Carrbridge
- LEJOG miles cycled: 66.59 (66 planned)
- Miles cycled: 870.36
- Map of the Journey
The Bluck Odometer is now recalibrated and accurate!
Two limericks for the price of one today!
From Atholl we biked to Carr-Bridge
Via Drumochter, the mountainous ridge:
On through Rothiemuchus
With acres of Quercus*
And no sign at all of the midge!
* That’s oak in the Latin (actually it was mostly Scots Pine, Silver Birch and Alder)
There is a bonus limerick at Drumochter summit:
This mile’s for our dear friend Kate Jackson:
Our bikes glide along, with their Packson.
The highest mile yet
But no need to fret –
With three days to go, we’ll be Backson.
Just a little note about the family running our B&B in Blair Atholl - the owner is a National Scottish Curling Coach, his two sons are in the National squad and his daughter is world champion. Well done all of you.
We left Blair Atholl after a 7:30 breakfast and were on the road at 8:18 with a relatively clear road. The first part of our route took us on a 15.75 mile uphill section via Glen Garry to the summit of the Drumochter pass. We used the ‘old A9’, the ‘old old A9’ and a dedicated cycle way where we hardly saw a soul. It was wonderful and despite this morning’s low cloud hanging just above us, the scenery was spectacular. I am running out of adjectives to describe the splendor of this country – simply magnificent.
The summit (pictures on Facebook) is the watershed between Tay and Spey plus is the highest point on the British railway network. We saw a number of trains using the line today – a mixture of single and double track – including an excursion ‘Orient Express’ in Kingussie station. It was at the pass that we saw our first sign of snow remaining on North facing or hidden slopes – there was much more further on near Aviemore.
Beyond the summit, not long after the Dalwhinnie Distillery, we stopped for a well deserved rest at a café in Dalwhinnie, where we were treated to half price tea and cakes for doing our charity ride – we will donate the difference to the Hospice. Kind people everywhere, it is wonderful. The cloud was also lifting by now (we had managed to avoid rain) and brightening with every turn of the wheels. The number of distilleries on our route is beginning to increase and we may be in danger of serious diversion soon.
Fearing a lack of tea rooms further on we then stopped 13 miles onward at Kingussie, where for a change Steve’s eyes were bigger than his stomach and after a sandwich/salad he had to admit defeat and take away a piece of Pam’s carrot cake in a bag to eat later. Well it was our second stop in an hour and all before 1pm
Onward towards more stunning views including the remains of a castle on a mound, Ruthven Barracks, just outside Kingussie with Highland cattle in the grounds. The back road to Insh was simply fabulous and we reached the renowned tea rooms, at Jack Drake’s Alpine Nursery, a few hours later. This tea room is famous among the cycling fraternity, as well as situated in a wonderful nursery setting. The first cake I saw from a magnificent selection, as I entered the tea room, was a very good looking carrot cake. However, with a piece of carrot cake in my rear pannier I had to resist. We sat in the tea room panorama window with incredible views of birds feeding at various feeders – we saw woodpeckers, siskins, chaffinches, coal tits and others – it was very entertaining and enjoyable. I will add a short video later and there are some pictures on my Facebook page.
Mmmm, this is definitely beginning to sound like a tour of the country’s tea rooms, and, at night, the pubs and hotels.
On to Boat of Garten, home of the Strathspey Steam Railway (nothing there when we passed) and close to the Strathspey Ospreys, before then heading into our final destination at Carrbridge.
Today has been visually outstanding and easier going than we had anticipated. Perhaps we are getting fitter !?!!!!
30 miles to the centre of Inverness tomorrow where we cross the eastern end of the great glen (well sort of) and head North towards Tain for our evening destination, with an early morning climb ahead of us.
Don't forget you can also see more, including photos, posted more promptly than the blog on my Facebook page.