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Day 10 - Edinburgh to Crianlarich      Weather icon, click for today's weather in this location Today's weather in Edinburgh

Monday 8 May 2006

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Map of ninth day of route, click to go to interactive map

Route Description

Heading into the Highlands. First across the Forth Road Bridge - I've run it in the past, now time to ride across. Then up to Crieff via Gleneagles...not sure I'll stop for a round of golf! Finally, due west to Lochearnhead and on to Crianlarich where I will be staying in Ewich House B&B.


Route map.

Mileage: 86

Cycling time: 5 hours 47 mins

Average speed: 14.8 mph

Top speed: 32.2 mph

Start to finish time: 7 hours 30 minutes

Worst hill: Pointless hills around Dunfirmline

High point: 987ft

Mileage to date: 784

Tears Before Lunch Time

I hit the wall today.

After a slightly slower start than normal and not enough sleep (I did the journal myself last night and it took a while), I didn't leave Jenny until 10am. I then went up to Merchiston Castle School to call in on anyone who still remembered me. Spanish teacher, Chrispa Prini-Garcia, made me a cup of tea and then my old music teacher, Philip Rossiter, showed me round some of the rather swanky new teaching blocks that have sprung up since I left. However, all this chatting meant not leaving Edinburgh until 11 - a really late start.

Thanks were ok getting to Queensferry but, once on the road bridge, the horrors of what lay in store became apparent. A biting easterly wind whipped in off the North Sea, making riding across the bridge quite hairy. Then came Dunfirmline and its pointless hills! I don't mind hills which get you somewhere but those around Dunfirmline are just there to get in your way and make life miserable.

By this stage, I was only 20 miles in to an 80 mile day, but know my energy was dipping. So I stopped at a cafe for some over-priced scrambled egg on soggy toast before trying again.

Sadly, renewed energy levels and a positive attitude didn't materialise and, by the time I had slogged past Knockhill and the home of Scottish motor sport and arrived in the one horse town of Powmill, I had been reduced to a quivering wreck!

It took a not unemotional call to Rog to kick-start me back into gear. Assisted by some thumping tunes on the mp3, some Grassmere ginger cake (kindly given to me by Leonie Fairbairn when I was in Cumbria) and the rest of Jenny's award-winning cake from the night before, I finally started to make some faster progress.

I have to admit, the beautiful Glen Devon and Gleneagles passed without appreciation as I kept my head down and counted the miles to Crieff. I also missed a visit to Muthill Church and graveyard where some of my ancestors are buried.

I finally rolled in to Crieff, 50 miles from Edinburgh, at 3.15pm. Crieff managed to produce a cheese and ham toastie and some 'atmospheric' Scottish reel music, scratched out on an out of tune violin by a busker! However, the town let itself down when I discovered that to use the public conveniences, I would have to shell out 30p - more than Waterloo station in London!!!! I crossed my legs and set off for the next village.

Now heading West, the wind which had blighted my ride thus far was now working in my favour and the Trossachs were soon all around as I approached Lock Earn. It seemed appropriate that I was now listening to the diva that is Alison Moyet. Sometimes melancholic, sometimes ecstatic, her voice is always raw with emotion - it seemed to suite the mood and the scenery. At one point, I startled about a dozen fishermen with my singing as I rounded a corner...I hope they hadn't intended catching any fish!

After 10 miles at speed along the loch side, I turned to head up Glen Ogle - a long but steady and rewarding climb. It was then a lovely flat 10 miles into the late afternoon sunshine with grand views of Ben More to enjoy all the way to Crianlarich (Jack Johnson proved perfect for this stretch - thank Rob and Kate). You can imagine how pleased I was to see the sign come into sight!

My B&B is very comfortable and, after a hot bubbly bath, I enjoyed a delicious evening meal before an early night. Your reading this means that I have been able to get to an internet cafe in Fort William to load it up - hopefully mobile coverage will be better tonight and further north!?!

The glories of Glencoe in tomorrow's entry...

Cake Review - Grassmere ginger cake. Actually more biscuit-like than caky. A crumbly coating hides quite a hard interior and the gingeryness is intense. A flavour rush and pretty good for on the go! - 7 out of 10.


Forth Bridge

Loch Earn

Glen Ogle

Relief - only 10 miles to Loch Lubhair!

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