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Blair's Dare (Stage 1)

Updated: May 4, 2021

So, this all started with my nephew Blair asking me if I could cycle to his house. He lives in Troon, I live in Aberdeen. This set the wheels in motion, figuratively and literally. What follows is an account of my version of a coast to coast. From the beach at Aberdeen to the beach at Troon. Via Grangemouth, because I'd always planned to cycle from my home to my mum's.

Stage 1 - Day 1 Aberdeen to Pitlochry - 163.43 KM

I started from Aberdeen Beach, headed down to Duthie Park and from there joined the Deeside Way. I came off the Deeside Way at Banchory and cycled along the A96 until I reached Aboyne.

I rejoined the Deeside Way there and followed it all the way to the end. Close to the city the Deeside Way can be busy as its used by Dog Walkers, Runners and Horse Riders. So a bell or a well timed bellow can be necessary depending on when you set off.

From Aboyne, the Deeside Way is a dream on a gravel bike. Compacted and wide, with much less traffic, the Km's go by at a fair lick and if the weather is playing ball, you get a great view of Lochnagar on the approach to Ballater.

From Ballater I swung onto the South Deeside road and headed for Braemar via the Balmoral Estate.

On reaching Braemar, I stopped for lunch. The Bothy, (next the Braemar Mountain Sports) was perfectly placed and I wolfed down a soup and sandwich before starting up the hill with a fair amount of trepidation to Glenshee. At this point I should mention that the weather took a turn for the worst - just to add the challenge of cycling up to a ski station with a fully laden bike! Still the promise of a eye watering descent to Spittal of Glenshee kept me motivated as the wind and rain picked up.

From Spittal of Glenshee I kicked on in the direction of Blairgowrie, turning west for Pitlochry and made my way through Kirkmicheal and Kindrogan to get there. These are undulating roads surrounded by spectacular scenery and on the day I done it the traffic was thankfully light. If the descent from Glenshee was fast, then keep your eyes open and trigger finger on the brakes as you come into Pitlochry. It gets a bit "Cresta Run" from just before the turn for Edradour Distillery all the way into town. If you have the time, the Distillery tour is ace and I'd heartily recommend it.

By the time I got there, it was time for some food, so I stopped in at the where I was looked after well. Its easy to chain up your bike out front if you are seated inside and there is also plenty of outside tables. Friendly staff gave me a tip off as to where I could bivvy in town and after heading to the Co-Op for supplies I settled down for the night. The tale of the tape read as follows:

  • Distance travelled 163.43 KM

  • Meters gained 1,484 m

  • Time taken 7h 27m

  • 2 Nerve Shredding Descents

  • 2 Ossian Beers (in the Old Mill)

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