Wednesday, 23 May 2018

5 days of Scottish Gravel



Well, it's been sometime hasn't it?! As regular visitors will know I've been out of it a bit for a long time due to knee issues stopping me having fun. Anyway, I've now been told I'll be getting a knee replacement around the end of June, so what better way to celebrate than to get away and make the most of it while I can?

In case you're wondering what some who needs a knee replacement is doing going for long bikes rides, it's about the only thing that doesn't seem to bother it too much. I can ride 100 miles, but a walk to the local shop isn't any fun.

So, a friend and I planned a trip in the Cairngorms of gravel riding. A fair distance each day, but not too rough a route, so that I can handle it. The weather Gods shined on us and we had a brilliant time!


After cycling to Lerwick for the overnight ferry day one took us 91km from Aberdeen to Ballater via back roads, the Durris Forest and the Deesside Way. 


Banchory riverside...


Bridge of Potarch...



 We were staying at the Ballater Hostel, but being early we decided to have a (32km) run up to Loch Muick until opening time. We headed up forest tracks on the west of the valley and sped back down the road on the east. I've been there once before years ago, it's a stunning place...



Day 2 saw us then ride an adventurous 105km through Balmoral, Braemar, Linn of Dee and Glen Feshie and around to stay at Badaguish Wigwams for 2 nights.


Glen Feshie was a toughie, particularly with my knee as there were some bits that couldn't be ridden, but the dry weather made it less tiresome. Still that was slow going with a number of fords to cross.

Queenie was busy with some wedding eslewhere...



Looking towards the Linn of Dee...


White Bridge...


The ruins of Geldie Lodge made a good lunch stop...


Impressive falls on the River Eidart...


Foot cooling moments!


We spent 2 nights at the wigwams and had a day doing an 80km loop around the area including a massive climb up 'The Burma Road'. We even saw Chris Boardman in the cafe in Aviemore at breakfast and got a nod 'Hello' from him!



Cairngorm Club Bridge...


Loch An Eilein...


The top of the Burma Road...


And down towards Carr Bridge..


Day 4 saw us cycling 83km via Tomintoul and Locg Builg back to Ballater and the hostel again...


An Lochan Uaine on the Ryvaon Pass...



Glen Avon is lovely and has some ace bridges...




The water shed is at Loch Builg and from there is was down hill (ish) to Ballater...




The final day of the trip was back to Aberdeen, but we took a longer way of 100km including a climb up the Cairn O Mount, why? Because it's there and I'm daft!


 The top of the Cairn O Mount. Also known as the Cairn O Vomit by some after they've cycled up there.


 And you can see it all in glorious hand held HD video below...


And here's links to my strava recordings of the rides...