West to East Cross Scotland Cycle …

Well, partially! I missed the first leg of the traverse from Oban to Kinloch Rannoch which included a stretch on the train from Bridge of Orchy to Rannoch Station. Instead, I cycled in from Pitlochry to meet the others close to Kinloch Rannoch at a nice B&B.

Loch Tummel from Queen’s View

Up early next day, the five of us headed off after some heavy rain first to Blair Atholl on quiet roads before a slight delay for second breakfast then our off-road section began with a pleasant ride up most of Glen Tilt.

Early on in Glen Tilt

Glen Tilt

On to the single track section

An unexpected delight – the Falls of Tarf and a refreshing swim and lunch.

Bedford Bridge at Falls of Tarf

Glen Tilt is a really nice place and our cycle through it was mostly pleasant but once the single track, higher up the glen, got rough enough, cycling became impractical and pushing, carrying and stumbling along took over. At this point the weather also turned – double punishment – but that may have helped keep us a bit cooler despite the additional effort required.

A change in weather and carrying and pushing commences on rougher terrain

Walking along I became distracted by the increasing number of times I was going over on my ankle. At first I thought this was just the awkwardness of walking with a bike on a narrow track on a slope but soon it became clear my shoe was the problem. Both were falling apart but the right one vastly more so, age seems to have degraded the material and glue significantly. It was easier to walk barefoot which I did till cycling resumed and the shoe lasted the cycle out to Braemar where all pressure was on the front which thankfully was still holding up.

Very inconvenient wardrobe malfunction with 70+ miles to go

Happiness is reaching tarmac!

Pints, food and chat followed in Braemar after a hard day.

Our final day was all tarmac and took us from Braemar, through Ballater, Banchory and on to Aberdeen. A stunning cycle on thankfully quieter-than-expected roads but a heavy spell of rain had us chilled and dreaming of soup on the approach to Banchory.

Typical roadside views on Braemar to Banchory stretch

Traffic, red lights and people were bit of a contrast after the miles of quiet leading to Aberdeen but we were all happy to have made it and with plenty of time to fit in showers, pints and a well-earned curry before a train back home.

Always carry duct tape! My shoe was taped up round my foot almost to the point of making it waterproof and it successfully held together for the last day.

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