Well, after a good night’s rest, it was time to get up, load up on some fruit and whole grains, and head off again! I got off to a bit later of a start than I wanted, but as I didn’t have anywhere to be that evening aside from making one of the later trains, all was good.
Day 2, Fearnan by Aberfeldy to Pitlochry via Glen Lyon and Loch Tay, 75.80 miles.
GPS log via MotionBased:
Day 2 began with a scenic ride through the center of Glen Lyon, up to the eastern side of Loch Lyon. I was getting worried, as I knew I was turning south at some point and the mountains to the south didn’t seem to have a natural break. They were quite spectacular, however.
Towards the end of the glen, I spotted a few local deer… they had scampered off a reasonable distance by the time I got my camera out, but proceeded to display for me so i could get a good shot in! I also saw a couple herds of yaks about, although certainly it was predominantly sheep with some cattle mixed in.
The route turns south at Loch Lyon, and while there was a traverse, it was still fairly steep — 1700 feet at the summit! Fortunately, I was already at about 900 feet, so it wasn’t that horrible, but still a healthy climb. Along the way I noticed some ruins of an old Scottish stone house… there were a number of these scattered throughout the ride. For some reason, when I saw this one I just couldn’t help but wonder who had lived there and what finally caused the last person to abandon the house. It’s a marvelous location for a house, with a great view and ample access to fields for ranching.
I then bombed down the hill to Glen Lochay, which wasn’t nearly as fun as it should have been. I was on a narrow access road, and while it was paved, there was only room for one vehicle — car or bike. And it was windy with blind turns and summits… so I couldn’t go very fast as I never knew if a car would be coming up. Used those brakes pretty well though! At the bottom, I had a great view of Glen Lochay and then up through Loch Tay — some gorgeous scenery of local farms and homes.
After an hour or so, I came to Loch Tay and rode along the southern edge… I ended up on Cycle Route 7, which is just a normal back road that is labeled on maps as good for cyclists. I actually prefer B-* routes, which are bi-directional secondary routes. On the single-lane roads, every time a car passed in either direction, I had to slow down to pass carefully. On the B roads, I could actually get some momentum and cruise between 17-20mph.
Past Loch Tay, I passed by Castle Menzies, a small Scottish castle nestled against a hill. Quite a sight, and the view on the other side was also rather impressive. It turns out that “castle” doesn’t necessarily imply huge walls and moats… but a 5-story stone mansion isn’t shabby!
The sun came out towards the end of the ride near Pitlochry. Along the way I passed by this house overlooking a field filled with sheep and pheasants. I can only imagine the view from the house on the valley, which I took from my level. But I have to say, it wouldn’t be that bad to live in this countryside with such gorgeous scenery all around. I suspect the winter months might be where you pay for it, as it was still chilly in May, but still, gorgeous scenery.
I finally arrived at Pitlochry about 7:40, about 40 minutes from the next train. I plopped down on the bench, took off my helmet and gloves, and ate my last bit of food — an orange! There weren’t great places to stop for lunch around lunch time on the route, an issue with my timing I suspect, so I ended up snarfing down string cheese and PureFit bars — 3 PureFits and 4 string cheeses per day! Was reasonable enough to get me through lunch.
Anyway, the train ride home was uneventful and quiet, and finally got back to the Balmoral around 10:30 at night. I did some quick analysis… over 10,000 calories burned over 130 miles, with some 12,000 feet of elevation gain over the hills and occasional peak. Huh… maybe RAMROD isn’t so out of reach as I thought!