Touring Scotland

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  • Excellent write up, thanks for sharing.

    confident the bad weather of the past weeks had kept them at bay,

    This made me laugh like a drain, I'm afraid, as someone who grew up in Scotland.

  • Great write up and pics, but can't believe you didn't have deet to dowse yourself with. Noone probably mentioned it as it's just a given for up here., Our collective bad! Currently sat in my tent drinking hiding from midges near loch Lyon

  • I should add that being naive is never been an acceptable excuse, so it's totally my fault for being unprepared. I also hate deet, it gives me horrible rashes in combination with sun and sweat. I ended up using smidge which somewhat worked and was not as oily as I thought. It still provided a nice base for all the dust to gunk up!

    Even when I had the right tool to keep them at bay, I still resented the fact you'd have to constantly be aware of midges, having to hide in your tent or smear yourself in repellent, rather than just be.

  • I think you were just a little late in the year for limited midge. Really enjoyed reading your write up.

  • "annoyingly boggy"

    Don't lie. You loved it @giofox! :P

  • I look forward to one day fighting with the mystical midges and comparing them to our mozzies. At least having read your report I will be more prepared than you were.

    Sounds like a challenging trip and they're the ones you learn the most from so you'll probably look back on it with fondness once all the bites heal :D

  • Don't lie. You loved it

    I was laughing all along tbh

  • limited midge

    From what I gathered, those were still very much "manageable" levels

  • I need to wait until the Earth's temp has risen 10C across the board. Then Scotland might be dry enough for me. :)

  • I was not the most challenging trip, only had one real (physically) hard day, everything else was rather comfortable, bar the itching.

    It's a trip I am glad I took and have some great memories associated with it already! Not sure that reads from my write up as I am still itching more than a week later!

  • I don't necessarily mean physically challenging but it does read like you were eaten alive early on and then carried on with some rather annoying skin issues, etc. plus further struggling to escape the midges.

  • Did a ride, central belter which I found on komoot and shortened and tweaked considerably after much fretting about what to do with a few days holiday.

    Day1. Pedal to Glasgow for train to Stirling. Had a mild panic as 5 other jabronis on bikes turned up after me and linger immediately by the wide access turnstile. Thankfully they didn't get on my train but caused needless stress as you can't reserve space on this line.. ScotRail train had a weird bar for hooking your top tube onto, bike with all the bags and shit obviously didn't fit.

    Stirling, immediate gravel climb up to Wallace monument which was lovely then up even more to Dumyat. Managed to clean most of it apart from the peak as it's abit steep, cracking view. Sketchy af descent down the grass path loaded up and onto a lovely gravel road. Cinturato H did not like the moist grass and slid around on the back considerably causing mild panic.

    Through Dunblane and some lovely trails and you pick up a great path all the way to Doune. Had to stop at Roots bike shop for some more chain lube and ended up having a blether for ages. Opted for one wee single use sachets things which was a daft choice as it had almost congealed and barely did one application.

    Back roads, cycle path and a field I was in Callander. . Pick the class bike path back up and a bit of road to get to Glen Ample. First time doing it south to north and it's much better, probably as more downhill and it's dried out a fair bit. This section made me happy I hadn't decided to do the King Alfreds way ride as it can't be half as good as this one section of the route. Found another disused railway line and followed it instead of the route and it worked out great, eventually joined the road for the drag into Tyndrum which you could probably avoid more of it but by that point I just wanted burgers and somewhere to hide from the rain.

    Cheeseburgers and snacks from the green Welly and keep going towards Loch Lyon. Fretted about where to pitch for a while. Ended up camping just before the loch in the glen. Waited until the rain was really pissing down before erecting my inner first tent, just to make sure everything was thoroughly damp. Had a wash in the river l, frog jumped on my foot and I jumped out of my skin.

    Cheeseburgers yielded 2x nature poo in the middle of the night, learned an important life lesson to dig before desperate.

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  • nice write-up. glen lyon is beautiful. great road riding round there too

    still need to read through gio's epic write-up. plus plan my own scottish bikepacking hol I guess. annoying that the bothies are still shut

  • Day 2. Tyndrum to Kingussie.

    Around Loch Lyon was incredible, post office for a scone and up and over to kinloch laggan. Grin inducing forest gravel descent. Quick scram and up and down aound loch Garry, wee bit of pushing as the gravel path disappears, was fine as it'd been dry. Onto the A9 bike path to descend for a while which was ace as it's fresh tarmac. Turn off the path onto the Gaick pass north for a few hours of solitude and gravel. It was absolutely magic and ripping descent down into kingussir for fish and chips. Only almost fell off the path into the doom below once.

    Onwards to Ruigh Aiteachain bothy. Ive Paid to stay in worse places than this place, it's incredible. Got the fire on outside and smoked my stinking shoes over it. Was happy to camp if it was closed but was so thankful it was open. I can fully get behind rich cunts going out hunting for a few months during the year if they leave tracks and facilities like this open for the public to use.

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  • Day3. Bothy to Montrose.

    Think this is part of Cairngorms loop. Bit of pushing and swearing at some points to get over the bits i couldn't ride. A MTB would have been welcome here, fork mounts started to loosen a little which was entertaining. Made it over the bridge of doom and through onto the double track all the way to Braemar. Changed the route to follow the Dee which has a great gravel path alongside it.

    Took in Cairn o Mount which I crawled up as was absolutely shagged. I kept telling myself it'll eventually pass and it'll get better and it did! Descending to the coast was great and was really looking forward to a nice wee quaint seaside town....Montrose is a dump but grabbed a pizza to complete the holy trinity of touring fast food. 16inches folds down nicely.

    Camped right on the coast by the old lime kilns at Boddin. Couldn't have got a better spot.

    10/10 mini tour, no midge bites and even caught a bit of sun. Gave up taking pictures eventually as no sense of scale or grandeur with my crap phone/abilties.

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  • Nice write up @Pmccee

    Any gear you took with you and didn't use? Looks loaded on the heavy side.
    Any reason for not having a Gravel M at the rear as well?

  • I didn't weigh it but it was abit hefty inspire of it all being lightweight stuff, the arkose is abit of a tank in xl which didn't help with the overall weight.

    Used everything apart from the pump/repair stuff thankfully. I'd just got the fork bags so wanted to try them out. I could have squished everything down much more and done without them as I've done so in the past with the same kit. I was happy to have them as it just made packing up much easier and let me move stuff around from bag to bag without worrying if it'd all fit in again.

    Used my 2p Hubba Hubba which I still would like to replace with a 1p tent just to remove a little bit of the bulk. Did consider taking my pals Elan hooped bivvy but glad I went for the tent in the end.

    I'd run the M on the rear or a while now and wanted to try the H on the rear in the hope it would provide a faster rolling tyre. Felt the M on the rear was abit draggy especially when on roadie bits. In reality it just slipped about abit probably as I had too much air in there. I'm sure it'll be a good combo for regular riding to /from the peak District.

  • Noice! Out of interest, where did you keep the poles of the tent? (I have the same tent)

  • Thankfully they fit just nicely inside the frame bag. Last time on second city I strapped them to the top tube and they rattled about a bit.

    In hindsight a full frame bag and bottle cages on the forks might make more sense to use the space efficiently.

  • I usually strap them to the underside of the framebag, but yeah, vibrations kill, so I always have to be careful they don't touch anything hard.

  • Was happy to camp if it was closed but was so thankful it was open.

    It may have been unlocked but the MBA is asking people not to use their bothies at the moment.

    Sadly I'm sure you're not the only person to not have respected that.

  • Is your front tyre on backwards?

  • That looks awesome. How come every other public place in the UK ends up fucked?

  • I'd love to say that's intentional for extra grip.. that explains why I'm going so slow obviously.

    @M_V rationalised it as I was the only one there and waited till late in the evening to actually go inside - avoided licking anything inside and kept to one room. Have since signed up for MBA membership to ease my guilty conscious.

    Next up hopefully the Hebridean Way in a few weeks with the gf.

  • So that's a "yes"?

    I have the same tyre on front of mine so it means one of us had got it wrong and #hippyisalwaysright so it didn't bode well for you ;)

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Touring Scotland

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