Donate to ...................Cancer research ................................or Macmillan

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

And The Bike Training Begins

Spurred on by two great weekends on Cycling Scotland's Cycle Trainer course where I met some interesting and all round good people who also like bikes, I decided that today should be spent on a nice long bike ride. I've been meaning to explore the Deeside Way for ages now, so today I pedalled off to see how far I could get before the sensible part of my brain suggested I come back.

It turns out that the Deeside Way is a really nice ride through the posher, more picturesque parts of Aberdeen and shire. I think the tell-tale sign was that the fields tended to have horses in them rather than stinky, grass munching bovines.

So, I found out that it was around about Banchory that the sensible part of my brain said, "Charlie, do yourself a favour. Eat some lunch and head back before your legs drop off." However, it was rudely interrupted by the daft part of my brain which then said, "Ooh, look at that tower on top of Scolty Hill. It would be rude to visit Banchory and not visit that."

So after some pushing of the bike and polite banter with a group of oldies walking down (Blue rinse #1: oh they don't like those things up here. Blue rinse #2: There's even a no bikes sign at the top. Blue rinse #1: Aye, I saw that too. Tsk!) I made it to the tower and gazed down upon my conquered domain. I know owned everything from the tower to the horizon!

A fine ride and I even got back in time to meet Beth from school. Now that I've had my cuppa, I'd better go and wash the trusty steed.

Did I mention that I made it back from the Tower via the downhill mtb trail with my Michelin Country Rock tyres inflated to 60psi! I didn't intend to take that route but damn it was fun and a good test of technical skills as roots, narrow gaps and mud would have sent me to my death... or at least given me something to moan about for a while!

Here's the route:

The Deeside Way To Banchory

EveryTrail - Find trail maps for California and beyond

Friday, 25 March 2011

Major Changes as Big Adventure Grows Wheels

It would be fair to say that organising a hiking trip across Scotland would take a bit of planning. I suppose that if it included  being completely self sufficient and taking a route over the Cairngorms then the planning gets greater! So, therefore a serious pair of adventurers would certainly ensure at least two weeks off work by booking this time with the boss well in advance. Wouldn't they?

So, moving on, why don't we cycle instead? According to the wise and all-knowingly reliable internet, there is an off-road route from Montrose to Skye which can be done in 6 days. This goes via Ft William after about 4 days. So in the absence of summer holidays, a long weekend would ensure that Scotland's oil links with J.R. Ewing didn't collapse on account of some time off and upon successful application of a small mortgage, I can still just about afford the cost of fuel back to Aberdeen.

So, here it is. The Plan. We, or I, will endeavour to cross Scotland on two wheels rather than two feet (although I think feet are still involved) following a well publicised route. I'm still to buy the actual guide but in case I end up doing it alone,the route passes through civilisation to ensure that the whole six days' worth of supplies does not need to weigh down the bikes and there is regular contact with loved ones.

Here is the rough idea courtesy of Mountain Bike Routes UK except I think we'll do it backwards.

The Scotland Trail route

Start: Skye or Ft William
Finish: Montrose
Distance: 270 miles
Duration: 4-6 days
Split to day rides: in sections & loops
Rail access: Skye, Ft William, Aviemore, Montrose
For more details of previous rides that I have done over the past couple of years, have a look here.