Friday, October 21, 2011

Scottish Highlands . Day 4.

Pic 1 show typical Sustrans signage on their paths (really excellent).

Pics 2 and 6 are of the Staion Hotel,Carnoustie. The only way I could wheel the bike was with tyre off-it was so buckled---as you can imagine from looking at pic 3.

Pic 4 is of the Discovery at Dundee and pic 5 is of me outside Dunkeld Cathedral !

Waking up after yesterday's ride I felt pretty shattered to be honest. I had another fantastic breakfast at the B&B and was soon on my way. I had no idea to be honest where I would end up at the end of the day.Montrose would be ideal as that is where I was supposed to finish if I had taken the official route. However I figured anywhere on the east coast would be a good result as it would still be a Highlands coast to coast ride!

So I was heading for Perth still on Sustrans route 7. the ride was very pleasant ---cold but clear weather and gently rolling landscape, becoming really pretty as you join and cycle along paths by the river Tay.

The riverside path leads you into Dunkeld and initially you are confronted by the huge Dunkeld Cathedral which really stands out because of it's size and it also has original beautiful lead guttering and downpipes!!

From Dunkeld to Perth was more of the same really ---undulating pleasant landscape but just clocking up the miles to be honest. Approaching Perth the route joins the river Tay again and runs into the pretty city through beautiful parkland with many office workers all out for lunchtime strolls .Time for lunch here and I found a lovely but simple little cafe where I filled up like a dustbin again ---as one does on these rides !

Next stop or next port of call -Dundee. Very steep climb east out of Perth but really enjoyed that. For a few miles up and down hilly terrain and raining now. Hard work and cold now but great really.Suprisingly a few miles west of Dundee the landscape changes completely and there is mile after mile of really flat land . Obviously great farming terrain and the Garmin was for once showing a straight flat line for elevation !

As you approach Dundee the cycle path takes you round the south side along the Firth of Tay and past Scott's famous ship The Discovery and then past the oldest floating warship left in our country- The Unicorn. Huge amount of waterfront development taking place around Dundee--enjoyed seeing it although somewhat briefly !!

Hammering along now towards Broughton Ferry --really pretty old Victorian seaside town just on the eastern outskirts of Dundee. At this point one could say the east coast had been reached --hooray-- but I was just getting my second wind as late afternoon approached and as I started to head north east I was starting to feel the wind on my back. So let's push on.

The eastern coast of Scotland at this point is beautiful. Mile after mile of sandy beach and sand dunes. Really lovely with a special atmosphere.Starting to get dark as I sailed past Carnoustie Golf Course but I had lights ---lets keep going.

Suddenly as I approached a gate to cross the railway line and luckily moving slowly ---Bang---. O.K what now-- wheel is out of true so broken spoke I thought. No probs I had spokes so 15 mins later I would be on my way again. However as I turned the bike over to check which spokes had gone I discovered the wheel had exploded (the rim had split) so game over on this trip !!

Thankfully the Station Inn at Carnoustie was close so I walked the bike there- struck a good deal for B&B and had a lovely meal and relaxing evening before catching the train back to Cambridge the next morning.

Amusingly enough---if I had been continuing it would have been fine as the hotel chef had seen a cheap mountain bike in a skip near his home and would have been willing to bring it in for me---so I would have been on the move again with no probs.Today's distance 70 miles.

Great fun travelling like this !!