Pitlochry to Nethy Bridge, 114.6 km, 970 m climb. A day of two halves, this time. am: to Drumochter, passing through territory familiar to me – Killiecrankie, Soldiers Leap, Aldclune and The Old SchoolHouse – to Drumochter Pass. This 1400 ft + pass is approached by a remarkably gentle climb. However (there is always a however) a serious head wind made this climb very, very hard.
Luckily the wind miraculously ameliorated on the way down, There is a cycle path alongside the A9, which varies in quality from smooth tarmac to old road to gravel track with little bridges and mini cattle grids. Not for the faint-hearted. Or even someone like me, who who gets the heebie-jeebies on gravel and thinks cattle grids are going to grab him. It may be that this was what I needed ie loads of practice and experience of these hazards. Anyway, I survived without a nervous breakdown apart from one mistook. Approached a small grid at the wrong angle, panicked, grabbed for the gate post and was stuck, suspended, with sloping bike. But for the guys behind me, I would still be there. The whizz down to Dalwhinnie made up for it all and the cafe there was much improved on previous visits. This part of the world is so nostalgic for me, taking me back to Munro-bagging days, supported by my wife, Nita. The Boar of Badenoch and the Sow of Atholl are also worth climbing, although they are not Munros. At Newtonmore, Jen joined me and we went seamlessly into the second half of the day. A few short, sharp showers but a most enjoyable ride, without head-wind, along quiet lanes to Nethy Bridge. Nearly ran over a red squirrel but he/she escaped after several figure-of-eights around my front wheel. There was a strange phenomenon as we approached NB – the Garmin kept belly-aching we were off route, when clearly we were not. No choice. so we pressed on. Jen suggested it was due to pylons parallel to the road, which is the probable explanation.
We hear the weather in the soft south is causing havoc. We are looking forward to a day of showers, a slightly north of west but not strong wind but low temperatures.