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Day 8 – Perth to Aviemore

In Cycling most of Land's End to John O'Groats | 28 Apr 2023 | cycling

There was a new twist my digestion saga last night. I thought I was doing OK and so went out for a tasty dinner. Wrong! And so I started another day cautiously with just a little muesli and toast in place of the cooked breakfast my hosts wanted to prepare.

Unsurprisingly, I was sluggish to start. The weather was overcast/misty but not actually raining. The route started out along lovely bike paths following the River Tay and through a golf course with plenty of people out playing. Then, after about 6 miles it headed up over rolling farmland, variously farther or closer from the river valley were were following upstream.

Blooming cherry tree in a little graveyard

Blooming cherry tree in a little graveyard

Arrived in Pitlochry at 30 miles and had some good soup and coffee in “Hattie’s”. Another 8 or so miles then the “climb” up to Drumochter Summit starts.

Weather warning sign

Weather warning is valid even if the summit elevation low by US standards

The route is on entirely separate paths the entire way over, which is good because the A9 is very busy. It was a very gentle ascent all the way so either my host was trying to pull my leg yesterday, or he imagined some other route. The cloud did not lift much.

Cloudy day on route to Drumochter Summit

View on route to Drumochter Summit

Me, near Drumochter Summit

Me, near Drumochter Summit

There was just enough slope down to make the descent feel good, though at times the bike path was a bit windy and had too many little bridges over streams to allow one to build up much speed. At some point there was a ping, tinkle sounds, and I worried that I might have a puncture. Turns out I didn’t but then I noticed a missing spoke!

Back wheel with missing spoke

One spoke too few

Cyclists approaching

Met a friendly dutch couple doing a tour of the area

On the way down I passed the Dalwhinnie distillery and then did get a puncture in my front tire. Sat for a while on convenient and comfortable moss to change the tube. While doing so I noticed that the second spare tube I had was the wrong type — doh! Fortunately, another 30 mins down the road was a little bike shop. I bought 2 tubes of the correct size and discussed my missing spoke. The bike shop owner had a good collection of spare spokes but unfortunately mine is a weird one. He agreed that the wheel will probably stay with the buckle it had already assumed, and advised that I should threat it gently.

Valley view of road and moorland

The cloud lifted so I could see rather more from low in the valley than I had at the pass

The last 20 or so miles headed off across a mix or rolling farmland and woodland. I actually started to feel a little stronger for the first time since being ill.

Fields and ruined castle

Unknown ruin

No detours or big mistakes today so the measured 92 miles closely matches the expected 91, as does the 4,500 feet of elevation. Just over 7 hours in the saddle.

Tomorrow is a big day, 108 miles, so I hope I feel still stronger. I ate very plainly tonight.

Day 8 route