Monday, 14 June 2010

Day 10 - Edinburgh/Dunfermline to Blair Atholl

After a night in our own beds it was time to hit the road again.  Sandy got a lie in since I had to make my way to Dunfermline - a mere 17.5 miles.  It was beautifully sunny first thing as I set off shortly after 8 a.m.  It was a strange feeling cycling the route I have taken many hundreds of times on the way to work at Agilent.  I stopped briefly to take a photo as I passed.  The site will be vacated at the end of July.

On to the Forth Bridge.  Believe it or not I have never cycled over it before.  I have cycled on the other side of it but not over it.  I didn't realise that the East side cycle/walkway was closed so because of the route I had taken I had to cart my bike down the steps and under the subway to the other side.  Not impressed.

From there it was a straightforward run through Inverkeithing and to the edge of Dunfermline to Sandy's house.  Time for a quick cup of coffee (no cake :-)) and a bit of adjustment to the rear gears before setting off again using Sandy's local knowledge to pick the best route.  At one point he did offer hills or distance - I chose hills on the theory that if you have an up eventually you get a down.  In fact there were four ups before we arrived in Kelty.

We stopped for coffee, toasties and cake in Kinross where the proprietor recommended a b&b in Blair Atholl. He also recommended a place to eat.  We mentally filed the information for later.  We pushed on - Bridge of Earn and then Perth, recognisable territory from our trips around The Tay a few years ago.

From Perth we looked for the cycle route up by the A9. It was not well signed (big understatement.) We followed a cycle route towards Luncarty which was heading in the right direction, but we didn't pick up route 7 or 77. In retrospect I should have dug out the map I have of The Salmon Run since that covers the Pitlochry to Perth section.

The upshot was that we eventually ended up on the A9 with no alternatives. Not a pleasant option.  We did a few hundred metres with the high speed traffic before we managed to turn off.  The back road added a few miles, but still preferable to the main road. In the process we found the cycle route we had been seeking and followed it from here to Blair Atholl.

The route was fairly uneventful up to Dunkeld.  It got fairly overcast and cold for a while although the sun did come out again later.  We tracked the A9 up the Tay Valley - when we got to Birnam/Dunkeld we looked for a tea shop.  My energy levels were getting low but there was nothing obvious so we pressed on towards Pitlochry.  The route out of Dunkeld was ridiculous.  The proper route is signed through the grounds of some stately home/health farm.  The alternative route went by the road. It started off ok - along tarmac, then as we got close to the house it started to degenerate and the next section was slow going along a track more suited to mountain bikes.  When we re-emerged on the A9 we had to make our way in the wrong direction before getting back onto the backroads again.

The ride into Pitlochry was uneventful.  We passed the PGL centre at Dalguise along the way. My legs were getting weary by the time we found the cake and coffee shop on the way into town.  We took the opportunity to phone the b&b we had been recommended.  They had space so we booked it and set off.

We arrived to be greeted with scones and tea in the garden.  Fantastic and very welcome.  As I said earlier we had to fight off the blackbirds - one of which almost got away with a scone.  Another great b&b.

We showered and headed down to The Atholl Arms for tea.  Sandy knows this place well having been here on holiday a number of times in his youth.
I phoned Robbie in Inverness who we are staying with tomorrow night.

Now watching Italy vs Paraguay.

We are hoping to be away about 8.30 a.m. tomorrow.

Covered 85 miles today - tomorrow is our last big day at around 80 plus miles.


  1. Glad to see you are keeping up the carb loading!

    Got to say to Sandy, even after cycling >80 miles, with panniers, I still struggled to keep up with you on the '4 hills' back to your place in Dunfermline! I was really gutted ... and exhausted when I made it back to my place .. thank goodness it was mostly downhill!

    Keep it up! You are doing great!!!

  2. stayed up all night wondering if there really was a dog.

    wash your hands and make me a sandwich

    you'd have thought at least one of them would have seen it.

    why the long face

    watching the world cup - its a lot like being in a relationship - sometimes enjoyable but a constant whine in the background