Day two dawned well, but very midgey. I really hate midges by the way!!!
So, as the midges were so bad I decided to just pack up and get moving. I figured that once the sun came out the midges would run for cover, hopefully there would be a bit of wind too. Once I had got some a few Km down the road I would be able to find somewhere to stop to make a brew, or find somewhere for breakfast.
Having climbed out of the dip that I was camped in it was a nice gentle descent through the woods on forestry track.
As it was a Sunday morning the A9 was pretty quiet, making crossing it an easy affair. I picked up the old A9, which is now the Sustrans Route7 that runs between Perth and Inverness, and had a nice warm up spin along the road as far as House of Bruar.
I was going to avoid the place altogether but as I passed the entrance to the car park I spotted what looked like a coffee shop.
Actually I was a little “under dressed” so opted for the ice cream cart outside, which turned out to be a far better choice. I ordered a double scoop cone, Rum and Raisin and Pistachio nut….yum. I developed a real taste for pistachio ice cream while living in Norway, and am constantly irked by not being able to find it here at home. I have on occasion got really excited only to find that what I spotted was just Mint choc chip! Anyway, I digress, I think the guy must have taken pity on me as the cone was huge, looked like Marge Simpson’s head, only brown and green rather than blue. He also had a fruit stall too, so with some Raspberries, cherries and my ice cream I sat on a bench and had a healthy(ish!) brunch. I was quite amused by the number of people who would look at me and my stash, then the bike, and do a double take at the gear on it. One American tourist asked where I had come from, and when I told him he thought I was insane, he must have asked me to confirm what he had heard several times. I think maybe he was out of his comfort zone as he was at least 20 mtrs from the coach!!!!
Next stop Blair Atholl, from where I can pick up Glen Tilt. There is a good cafe/chip shop at the far end of town so I figured I would have second breakfast and coffee before heading into the glen( I really could like this hobbit thing). After a quick bacon sandwich and coffee I headed up the glen. About 2km up the road I followed the Rights of Way signpost which sent me up a steep hill, through a couple of fields, a short section of woodland and finally dropped back down to the road into the glen.
In hindsight, and next time, I shall follow the sign for the car park, it’s shorter and certainly quicker, and the 2-3km diversion is hardly a stunning ride.
So a little further on you cross a small bridge and continue on past Forest Lodge, finally pick up a landrover track. Great track all the way to the Falls of Tarf, just before the falls the track turns into single track.
The bridge over the river at the falls is wire suspension, built in 1886 to commemorate the death of Francis Bedford in 1879, who drowned while crossing the river close to here. It was payed for with funds from the family and friends, plus the rights of way society.
Once over the bridge it is some great single track over pretty wet moorland, following the river more or less all the way to Red House. Again, for the most part it is rideable, A few more short portages with drops into the glen bottom or river to contend with.
There is a short section of a Kilometre or so that can be very boggy after rain, but today it was pretty dry, I think maybe a fat bike would be a good option for large parts of this trip in inclement conditions. From here it is a short fide to the end of the glen, where it joins the Geldie coming in from the left hand side. As there is no bridge here a crossing is the only option, and although it looks pretty innocuious the water was well past my knees!! fortunately it’s quite a slow moving pool.
Back onto Landrover track and the ride through to the Linn of Dee is pretty fast from here. I planned to camp at the White Bridge, but when I got there I was confronted with about 3 groups of DofE expeditions on assessment by the look of things, complete with their supervisors. So after a bit of a chat with same, decided to carry on down the valley and see about camping closer to the Linn.
Having reached the Linn of Dee with a couple of hours to spare, I decided to go on to the hostel in Braemar and visit a couple of friends in town
A short ride along the Inverey road was a little wet, as the rain came on halfway back, but as it was only about 5Km back to the village it was no real problem.
I went to the Co-op and bought a Pizza and a dram to take round with me. A good night all in all, plenty to catch up on and lots of tales of derring do around the fire, true or not!!