Bonnie Braes

Kippen to Blair Atholl

The Scottish highlands have treated us very well today, passing through some of my favourite countryside, and reminding me why it’s good to live up here. Rugged mountains and mirror-smooth lochs rolled past, great views were enjoyed, we had near perfect cycling weather and as we were following Sustrans cycle route 7, there was hardly a car in sight. Having done the first half of the route a couple of times during training, I knew what to expect, but that didn’t stop me from retaking lots of photos, nor did it stop me from being surprised when I was struggling up the steep hills, although to be fair, my legs are more tired and the bike heavier this time around. Our legs have also developed a new trick, where if we stop for a few minutes, the next time we pedal, even downhill, they burn intensely as though straining to keep up. Funnily, it doesn’t mean we’ve given up stopping!

Our little B&B for tonight is out in the sticks, which meant we needed to eat before getting there, and what else to do but head for the chippy! Even more so as we’ve not actually visited a chippy for the whole trip! I also took the chance to have a haggis supper (haggis + chips for the English), which is the local food for the day. In fact there was porridge this morning too – double hit!

Well, you’d expect a stomach full of offal, potatoes and fat to slow me down, but no, I was raring to go, the sun was dipping to the horizon and shone through the trees, the road was smooth, and I managed to spot a red squirrel along the way. I could’ve carried on further than the B&B, and I did for a few yards – it seemed wrong to leave the mileage at 79.95!

P.S. Chris A – “Wee brae” should mean a little hill, but it’s always a warning of a long steep climb if uttered by Dad…

Mel’s Muse:

Sorry for not adding anything to the blog previously but I’m normally asleep shortly after eating!

You have to go down to come back up again (or something like that – For those of you who know me, you’ll know I’m terrible with clichés!) Anyway, that statement can be applied to much of the terrain throughout our trip but also to my mood. I had a bad day yesterday what with tiredness, bad belly and wind in our faces – I think I’d hit rock bottom, however today was fantastic! After some much needed and well received TLC from Caroline (Thank you) we headed off. The sun came out and shone over the beautiful Scottish Highlands, the roads were gently undulating and the wind even helped us along the way too! Coming down one stretch of cycle track was great – a strip of tarmac twisting and turning just like a toboggan run!

So we’re on the home stretch now. Only 3 days of cycling to go. I have to say though ladies that even with all of the miles cycled and metres climbed I still haven’t made a dent into decreasing my wobbly thighs! I have now officially had to accept that they are part of me!!!

Here’s to hopefully some more great days like today!

Pete’s Thought for the Day:

Now when you decide to undertake a bike ride such as this you obviously think about what the days are going to bring. Inevitably you think about the Scottish part of the trip and you dream of cycling past lochs twinkling in the sun, munros towering above you casting shadows over you path and bees dancing and buzzing about in the heather. Today that dream came true as we cycled some of the most magnificent miles I have ever done. We followed the Sustrans Route 7 which is probably not on many lejogers routes but it should be as it passes through breathtaking scenery along quiet roads and traffic free routes, what a day and a complete tonic compared to yesterday.

On a slightly sillier note mel has taken over the bum baton as it were. With her regular requests for vasoline meaning only one thing.

Only 3 days to go now, off to Inverness tomorrow, once again following route 7. If its anything as pretty as today then we have an other fantastic day ahead of us as long as my knees hold together.

5 Responses to “Bonnie Braes”

  1. Caroline says:

    Glad to hear you all had a good day – think you were due! Your descriptions even had be (briefly) wishing I had been able to join you (maybe I’ll just stick to doing half of it at a time!)
    Hope your last 3 days are just as good or even better! Sleep well 🙂

  2. Joanne Mcfadyen says:

    That does sound scenic, maybe I’ll venture out on the bike next time I visit Kippin!

  3. Chris A says:

    If after the puncture, you are all still pedalling at midnight tonight, don’t forget to look to the heavens. Northern lights is expected to be seen in Scotland (and possibly even England) due to a massive series of solar ejections a couple of days ago.

  4. Richard says:

    Hi All
    Glad I caught you before you left Kippen, sorry I was not all that talkative I had just had a phone call my Brother in Law had died, and I was on my way to see him.
    Will still keep a eye on your blogs
    Keep up the good work
    Ride safe

  5. Kerry says:

    Hey guys. I’m so jealous. I want to be in Scotland. It was def. my fav. bit when I was ‘support’! Keep it up Mel – you know you are amazing (even if you will be slighty slippery – what with all the vasoline :)). Can’t believe you only have 3 days to go. You are all brilliant. Love lots K xxx (and Tazzle who is lying next to me dreaming of highland days).