Sunday, 19 October 2014

Loch Rannoch - The best things

When Bart and I were cycling around Inverpolly in the last blog, we stopped for coffee at Drumbeg in the Secret Tea Garden, a small café hidden away in a garden whose green lushness contrasted with the sparse surrounding moors. On the wall was a quirky sign that read “The best things in life aren’t things”. At first I thought that was spot-on but after giving it a second thought I decided that my bicycle is a “thing” and it is one of the best things in my life. So much so that, even after several months of cycling, the first thing I wanted to do with a bit of free time in Scotland was to ride my bike. So my friend Graham and I set out on a two-day cycle around the Loch Rannoch area. Here are some of the best things from the trip.

I loved the lines in the sand formed by the wind-driven waters of the loch. Luckily, those clouds didn't rain on us.

Golden birch leaves were washed in on a gentle breeze and settled amongst the rocks on the shore.

We put the tents up on the south shore of Loch Rannoch in a lovely copse of birch trees on a beautiful still evening and retreated indoors early to escape some lingering midges of summer.

Gunmetal grey clouds threatened rain but late evening sun punched through and set the lochside trees alight.

The next day early morning showers gave way to weak sunshine that filtered through the trees. Graham cycled ahead through the pine forests, hoping to add to the tally of red squirrels that we'd already seen.

Fact File
Start/Finish: Pitlochry. Whilst it's disappointing that the new rail franchise has not gone to a Scottish company, I'm quite excited about the Dutch company taking over who have promised a cycle-rail integrated network. Hopefully that will mean in future you can get your bike on the Inverness trains that stop at Pitlochry which are so often fully booked for bikes. This time, we took Graham's van. 
Map: OS Landranger 51 and 52
Route: Follow the national cycle route signs out of Pitlochry going south, turning left after the suspension bridge but then right at the next junction. Cycle up the hill and pick up a bike path to the right heading north beside the A9. This will take you onto the Foss road. Follow the idyllic Foss road west to its junction with the B846 and turn right to Tummel Bridge. Take the B846 to Kinloch Rannoch (nice cafe and small shop) and then west along the north shore of Loch Rannoch to Bridge of Gaur and return via the south shore of Loch Rannoch. For the return we took the Schiehallion road out of Kinloch Rannoch. It's a lovely route with a bit of climbing but then a long high-level meander below Schiehallion before dropping again to the Foss road and returning to Pitlochry.
Tip: We parked Graham's van in a parking place opposite Pitlochry Town Hall a little way up the A924. There's a wee stream and pond here and we had brilliant views of a kingfisher.

No comments:

Post a Comment