Sunday, 17 November 2013

Dunkeld - The bag lady

Goretx Paclite. Goretex Pro. Hydrophobic down. Softshell and Activeshell. With so many high performance fabrics available to keep us dry in the outdoors, there was really no excuse for ending up with plastic bags on my feet the other weekend.

Bike buddy Graham and I were cycling in the hills above Dunkeld, soaking up the last of the autumn colours and getting a good soaking into the bargain. On a grey day we powered our way up the Queen's Road, lingering a short while by the glass-like waters of Mill Dam. 
Beyond here we sploshed our way along water-logged tracks and trails, and when heavy rain came on, we were already so wet that it didn't really seem to matter. They say this is good weather for ducks but even the ducks around here felt the need for extra rain protection and had sprouted very strange feather headwear. We almost fell off our bikes laughing at them. 

High up in the hills and woods after a grim afternoon of rain, mud and pushing bikes, it was tempting to stay in the cosy bothy, put the fire on and dry out but we pushed on and put the tents up on a carpet of golden needles below a copse of larch trees.

It was still wet next morning and I realised I hadn't packed my waterproof Sealskinz socks. Readers should  note that Sealskinz are completely synthetic and that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog. Without them, the only way to at least start with dry feet, was to put plastic bags inside my shoes. 

As we cycled back down and passed again the ducks, I could see their beady, little eyes resting on my feet. I knew they were thinking "who's laughing now".

Fact File
Start/finish: Dunkeld Station served by Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness trains
Map: OS Landranger 52
Route: Fom the station cycle down into Birnam and turn left on the main road. At the next junction turn right and cycle through the main street in Dunkeld. At the far side turn right onto the A923 then take a quick left onto a forest road signed as a right of way to Kirkmichael. Climb this track to Mill Dam and continue to Loch Ordie. Pass in front of Loch Ordie Lodge following a track around the loch but at the east end stay on the main track and head away from the lochside. Take the left split in the track and follow it north behind Capel Hill. It becomes increasingly rough and then a footpath. Progress is hard here but the woods are lovely. Follow this trail north to Lochan Oisinneach where you'll find a gorgeous camp spot on a little knoll above the water with a copse of larch trees. Follow the trail which becomes a better track as it turns south passing Lochan Oisinneach Mor and returns to Loch Ordie. Retrace outward route
Tip: The tracks and trails above Dunkeld are great for cycling with lots of route options. I only had to do some pushing because of the conditions underfoot and because my pannier bags were catching on tall trailside heather where the trail was very narrow.

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