Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Day 11 - Blair Atholl to Inverness

We got away about 8.30 a.m. after breakfast of porridge and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs.  That has been a family favourite since discovering it in Norway many years ago.

The first 10 miles seemed fairly flat, but we were actually climbing pretty much from the off.  The route was close to the A9 for most of the day - either on the path beside it or on a nearby road.  We followed cycle route 7 until the last 5 or 6 miles - and in fact we could have stayed on it until the last mile.

We climbed over Drumochter just as the sun disappeared.  Some splendid views over the loch near the top.

We carried on into Dalwhinnie where we paused to visit the distillery. We took the tour and did the tasting.  After that we bashed on towards Newtonmore, stopping for coffee and toasties and a non home made cake at Rialla.  The path was very well sign posted as far as Kingussie.  After that they must have run out of stickers.

We paused briefly to survey the ruins of Ruthven barracks before bashing on, now quite a way from the main road, towards Aviemore.  From there it was onto Carrbridge where we stopped at a small cofffee shop that said cyclists welcome.  There was a whole table of homemade cakes. We were told to help ourselves - so we did :-).  Two pieces of cake, a cup of coffee and a milkshake each later we were feeling suitably revived for the last 25 miles.  Up over Slochd summit and then along the back roads to Balloch, which to all intents and purposes is Inverness - at least it is in my book.

We saw quite a few curlews today and a dead deer beside the A9. Yesterday we saw a live one near Dalguise.

Various quality of surfaces from excellent to diabolical.

A long day in the saddle but a good average speed of almost 13 mph.

Today's new game for bike geeks is gear gambling.  As you approach a hill how high a gear are you prepared to go up it in?  I'll raise you a chain ring...if you make it up in the higher gear you win :-).

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