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Monday 17th June

  • From: Kinross
  • To: Blair Atholl
  • LEJOG miles cycled: 55.97 (55 planned)
  • Miles cycled: 803.77
  • Map of the Journey 
 

A fine sunny day to Blair Atholl,
Through Perth and Dunkeld, with no Hatholl*
We followed the Tay
And saw on the way
A Scottish baronial catholl**

* pronounced hassle
** pronounced castle

Well, what a day – magnificent, truly outstanding from beginning to end, beautiful stunning view, a true pleasure to be here on the best weather day of the trip so far. We are in the warmest part of the country today.

The climb out of the vale around Kinross was gentle, long but acceptable and resulted in an exhilarating descent down the other side towards Perth. At Perth we stopped at a Wetherspoons branded free house, the second in two days, set in an old Victorian institute building. Superb architecture and decent coffee, you can’t ask for more.

I had not been to Perth before having previously driven by on the A9. Well, I have missed a gem. Beautiful parks and stunning riverside paths together with a bridge designed by the same architect as designed the river bridge at Hexham, near home. The homes on the north bank made the houses we had seen yesterday in Barnton, Edinburgh, seem quite impoverished. Stunning, manicured gardens going down to the River Tay complimented the ‘estates’. The ride out of Perth stayed simply beautiful all the way to our evening’s destination.

Another 18 miles of scenery took us to Dunkeld, a beautiful Perth & Kinross town. We ate a lunch at the “Spill the Beans” tea room where we received a wonderfully warm welcome. I recommend this establishment to any of you visiting this area.

There was also a small bike shop in Dunkeld where I managed to get some replacement cycling gloves.

After lunch we pushed on towards Pitlochry avoiding the A9 and using smaller roads. Amongst the stunning scenery we also saw two historic railway bridges, one in use and of listed status. I will add more detail on these after the ride together with the picture you can see on my facebook page.

Another tea room stop at Pitlochry before we cycled the final seven miles or so to Blair Atholl with great views of the castle as we approached the town. The café at Pitlochry had some wonderful colourful paintings of Scottish mines, villages and scenes, They filled most walls and I would really like to have bought one or more, but they were not for sale, sadly.

At Blair Atholl we are staying at the magnificent Ptarmigan guest house, a former hunting lodge, with great views over the valley with the Inverness to Perth railway in the foreground. Shortly we should see the overnight sleeper on its way to London.

This has been one of our shortest rides so far on LEJOG but the most consistently stunning – a real privilege to be here and do this.

Tomorrow we tackle the 13.75 mile uphill climb to 457m (about 1500ft) and the Dromachter Pass on the edge of the Cairngorms before descending towards Aviemore and beyond. The pass is the site of the highest point on the British railway system. Weather permitting it should also provide us with more amazing scenery, something very much to look forward to even though it will be a long arduous day.

Don't forget you can also see more, including photos, posted more promptly than the blog on my Facebook page