Friday, September 02, 2005

Tour of the Cairngorms - Day 1

Tour of the Cairngorms – Day 1

My bike was very heavy as we cycled down the main street of Blair Athol after leaving the cars at the train station first thing in the morning of the 2nd September. The start was an early road ride along the B8079 and eventually onto a dedicated cycle track just past Calvine after our first navigation error – and it wasn’t going to be our last! We eventually turn off the track and cross the A9, we headed into the wilds along a landrover track past Dalnacardoch lodge North, and it wasn’t long before we felt totally alone – not another sole in sight. We stop at the bridge crossing the Edendon Water and take the obligatory photo of Al being daft – every trip has one! A quick jump across the river further up after yet another navigation error – led us to a singletrack by Loch au Duin. The singletrack is amazing – however we are seriously hampered by the panniers. Only Al with his rucksack seems to be able to fully enjoy it – although I also suspect that this is because he is a lot fitter too! We cross the river just after the Loch – Tony and myself just wade across as the river is pretty deep – and we had read the route description that tells you about getting wet feet! Al and Neil try to keep dry feet! Tony and myself sit on the other side laughing!

Lunch is after yet another river crossing at Lochan a Ghaorra. I pump some water through the water filter – but everyone else just takes it direct from the River. Tony makes a brew on his MSR – and it tastes great. There is something about tea brewed outside after hard work! Alistair and Neil both make pasta for lunch – mine consists of pork pie, salami type sausages and peanuts. In the afternoon I feel fully energised – it is referred to as pork pie powered!

We end up crossing a foul smelling bog just after Feshiebridge – I end up going in up to my thighs – and my shorts are now rust covered. We decide to try to make the campsite after this. Alistair is quite annoyed as he also ended up with wet feet! The ride after the bog however is great. Through the forest both myself and Al feel much better and could have carried on – we were enjoying the ride so much. We stop at the campsite – and arrive before the two mountain bikers that had overtaken us earlier in the day – I guess we must have taken a short cut with the route through the bog! Tents up and we manage a shower! Hand-driers are used to dry wet socks and shoes.

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