Cairngorm tour, day two.

Day two dawned well, but very midgey. I really hate midges by the way!!!

Track down to last nights campsite. The track to Tromie is just out of shot, right of image frame.

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.

Old A9, looking down toward Pitlochry, now a cycleway. I really enjoyed this ride on the old road, Sustrans have made a really good job of it, so much so that I intend to do a few days along it on my road tourer.

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.

I suggest ignoring the green sign, and just going to the car park instead.

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.

Bridge over the river at the bottom of Glen Tilt.

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.

Bridge over Falls of Tarf, end of landrover track, start of singletrack. Much of the riding to Glen Feshie was like this.

Bridge over Falls of Tarf at the end of the landrover track. After this it’s all single track to the junction with Glen Feshie.

Falls of Tarf themselves.

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.

The track through the middle of Glen Tilt, great riding, if a little difficult with a loaded bike. a few short portages due to long drops into the river, I found the bike difficult to control on slow tech stuff, which at the time, I put down to a lack of fitness and bike time on my part. Since re-visited that idea, I think maybe the frame is too long for me.

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.

Crossing the Geldie Burn at Red House. The crossing was a lot deeper than it looked, about knee/mid thigh high in the middle!! Glad it was pretty slow moving.

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.

White bridge over the Dee, place was mobbed, with several DofE groups camped around the bridge just out of shot. decided to head down the glen a little more.

Bridge over the river at Linn of Dee. as the site I was going to camp at was busy, I decided to run down to Braemar to the hostel.

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

The rain finally caught up with me on the road to the hostel. As it was just 10Km back to Braemar I wasn’t particularly worried.

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!!

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9 Responses to Cairngorm tour, day two.

  1. Fraser says:

    Hi Gari,

    I’m thinking about doing Tromie – Feshie – Tilt, or the reverse. What would you recommend? Unfortunately I don’t have any elevation data for Tromie, so I’m struggling to decide.

    cheers,

    Fraser

    • gari says:

      Hi Fraser, Assuming you are starting in Blair counter clockwise would be fine. Tromie is a little hilly but nothing really steep, the track through the loch an is really nice single track with an interesting drop away on the left side, helps with ones focus:-))
      There are a couple of crossings in Feshie that will need to be watched if there is rain a few days prior to setting off, but usually it is a knee high wade at worst. Would you be cutting through into Tromie from the end of Glen Feshie on the southern end? if so it is best to cross at the ford marked on the map @853907 and then follow the track through the small bealach on the track that heads SE from the x roads @844918, spot 370 on the Harveys 1:40k Cairngorms map. Any more info needed just ask.
      When are you heading out?
      Cheers
      Gari

      • Fraser says:

        Thanks Gari,

        I was actually thinking of going the long way, up to Drumguish and crossing to Feshie at Achleum. You reckon cutting through Slochd Mór via Allt Bhran and Cnapan na Cuilice is doable?

        My initial thought was up Tromie, down Tilt, but I’ve never ridden either, so was trying to decide which offers the easiest/most fun riding/best use of gravity 😉

        Hoping to get out this weekend. I’ll keep an eye on the forecast. Was thinking potentially about doing tilt/feshie linear, and get the train back to Blair on Sunday, depending on how Saturday progresses.

      • gari says:

        Hi Fraser, I just assumed that you would start at Blair as you were coming from the south, my bad, sorry. You can cut through from Drumguish to Feshie but that of course takes you across Glen Tromie yeh? I did my tour in the direction that you are planning, that is up tromie, along the old A9 to Blair and then up Glen Tilt. A great ride, though I then went into Invercauld estate and over to Glen Biulg. It is pretty easy to swing left into Glen Feshie at the old Lodge, just before White Bridge. I imagine it will be a little boggy through the middle section through to the Eidart bridge but that’s only for a few Kms. Once back on the track at the far end of Glenfeshie it should all be ridable.
        The estate track through to Tromie is rideable, but quite steep. A bit of a slog but a good surface last time I went through there. The first section of black top into Tromie is pretty dull form memory, though does get some distance covered pretty quickly! Good luck, the views are stunning so the camera should definitely go with you.

  2. Fraser says:

    Cheers Gari. I’m planning to go from Blair, sorry for confusing you! But am wondering if if Tromie-Drumguish- Feshie-Geldie-Tilt is better CW or CCW.

    My problem is the good camera is a hulking SLR, which means backpack. 😦

    • gari says:

      I have started using a LowePro top loader, works fine with my E1, even with the battery grip, not that I would use that for bike packing!
      I have just come back from a 3 day trip with it and it worked fine. I made some straps up so it fits to the bars, around the Revelate bar bag. very stage and I could get the body/lens, spare battery and a few Grads and Coking holder! I have seen folks using it with a strap, around their bodies, I just don’t like to ride with anything on me these days.
      I would do it CCW personally as I think Glen Tilt is a better ride that way around.

  3. gari says:

    Here is a link to some pics I posted on the Bearbones forum. About half way down.
    http://bearbonesbikepacking.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=3293

  4. Fraser says:

    Not a bad idea. I’ll need to see if I can pick one up for future rides. Going from a full frame to ancient compact is pretty frustrating!

    CCW it is! Thanks again.

  5. gari says:

    Try http://www.ffordes.com, that’s where I got mine, £25 I think. They usually have several in, in various sizes.
    Enjoy the trip
    Cheers
    Gari

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