Sunday, 1 June 2014

A Highland cycle camping tour

My mate Hamish and I just completed a four day cycle tour of Perthshire.

Driving up in our vans along with Chrissie, we settled into the Caravan Club site at Killin with a week to spare. Close examination of weather forecasts showed some showery weather but led us to prepare for the off next morning.

So, loaded up with camping gear, away we rode.

Following the back road along the south of Loch Tay proved an easy warm up and we were soon at the reconstructed crannog near Kenmore.

Just as we finished our soup and cake lunch at the quayside café the rain came. Undeterred, we donned waterproofs and set off towards the stiffest climb of the trip; 4.5 miles up to the shoulder of Schiehallion. It took us around an hour but, once we’d turned west on the road to Loch Rannoch, we  were rewarded with a restful descent and stunning views.

 Opting again for the quiet road along the south of Loch Rannoch we found a perfect spot to camp, having covered 40 miles that day.

I was up at 6 making a refreshing coffee.

And after a lazy breakfast, we broke camp and continued on the circuit of Loch Rannoch.

The café at Kinloch Rannoch closes on Mondays (today) despite it being a bank holiday! So lunch was taken courtesy of the village store and a welcome bench outside. Then away to Tummel Bridge and the only black arrow on the OS map of our route. It was short and sweet though. The quiet lane south of Loch Tummel  yielded up our next campsite. 

We had the only rain of the day as we erected the tents but, later, we were sunbathing, decadently shirtless.

 Our route next day saw us paralleling the A9 along the cycleway as we bypassed the heady delights of Pitlochry. This had been the day I’d been looking forward to most. We paused to view the Dunfallandy Stone.

Returning to the Tay Valley, we crossed the river on the old railway bridge ...

... then spun our way along the narrow lanes, before detouring into Aberfeldy for the most delicious lunch of the trip at Habitat Café in the centre. Their cauliflower cheese soup was unbelievably tasty. This café is highly recommended.

The sun was out and its warming rays meant I switched to shorts for the first time, performing a quick change in the café’s loo. We stocked up with essential supplies (beer & whisky) at the Co-op then set off for the glorious Glen Lyon. We stopped for a look at the Fortinghall Yew …

… and admired the timber roof of the church …

 … before continuing up the magnificent glen, with frequent stops for photos.

  Eventually we arrived at the Glen Lyon Post Office tearoom.

 Suitably filled, we embarked on the last few miles to our final night’s camp.

We’d had no rain at all and enjoyed a good meal, beer,  whisky and really meaningful discussion before retiring to the soothing sound of the river.

We rose next day and reveled in bacon butties.

Our final day saw us heading off up the glen to Loch Lyon before the inevitable climb over the pass into Glen Lochay and the final few miles back to Killin. 

We stopped for a quick look at the longhouse just before the town. 

Then, a great, slobbery welcome from my three girls back at the van.

It had been a brilliant short tour covering around 136 miles. The mixed forecast had proved to be overly pessimistic and we’d been rained on as we rode for only 20 minutes on the first day. AND, as an added bonus, there had been remarkably few midges!

We enjoyed a couple of days walking from Killin before our return south to the Peak District. I’m now preparing for the possible challenge of a circuit of Arran with Cycle Chat’s Scottish contingent in just a week’s time. Life is good!


  1. Blimey, Mr Crow!.
    By fairly random means I stumbled over you while idling after a marathon lawnmowing session.

    here's a few clues.
    Virtutem Petamus, old son.
    You'll be down there, you'll be down there, in effect, we know your sort!
    Crowther, you're a little lipswitch!

    I have exited England, and am now resident in sunny Texas, about an hour north of Houston.
    Ah well, I have some citrus trees to plant, no rest for the wicked.
    No backsliding.....

    1. Hi there and thanks for visiting. Sorry for the short delay in responding, but I was in the Highlands of Scotland AGAIN. Life, for me, is just one long adventure nowadays ... yawn. Anyoldhow, I'll take the bait. The clues make it clear that you too enjoyed the delights of having Fred Stocks as a form teacher in, I think, 5D ... or was it 4D? Such a strange man. His only saving grace was the glorious old maroon Rover he drove. (In later years I enjoyed more than a passing dalliance with the world of classic car ownership).
      But, kind sir, your clues tell me little more than that. I can only guess at which of my classmates might have been lured across the pond. I can only claim the many summer trips my beloved and I have made to the mountainous regions of the god ol' US of A.
      So ... I'll take an off-the-wall stab in the dark. Might you perhaps be ... Mickey Pearson esquire?
      By the way, I'm pleased to see you didn't contemplate using green ink for your comments.

    2. Ok, I admit it. 'Should have explored the link to your blog first, David, and you wouldn't have remained hidden for long.
      Plenty of clues in there as to your identity.
      Glad to hear you appear to have found a soulmate, second time around, as indeed I have myself.
      Our felicitations to you both.
      Good to hear from you, you scheming little devil.

  2. Mickey P?

    I did, some time back, investigate Roundhay School on Friends Re-Untied. Years ago, and while it was interesting....

  3. Yeah, know what you mean. Now ... back to trying to fix that reversing camera. Ho hum.


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