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No Nessie And Wet Cairngorms

By Andy Gray

Day 13: Fortrose to Blair Atholl 179 miles

Had a few showers last night but the wind kept up & got even stronger. This meant the tent was bone dry which was a result.

The BMW motorcycle and tent by the shore under mixed skies in the early morning
It looked a bit threatening but it all got packed away totally dry

Left the site by 09:10 as I have plenty to do. Looked on the sat nav but I hadn't downloaded any routes for today & tomorrow. Just have to wing it as today's route is a little complex.

Stopped to get petrol on the way to the A9 & Inverness and it was almost the most expensive so far at £1.30.

Once I'd got through Inverness and onto the road that heads to the south of Loch Ness, I stopped at a big Tesco's and noted down the route to go in my tank bag.

Headed along the south shore of Loch Ness which was a little disappointing as there aren't any really decent views. Admittedly I rode inland halfway way down. I'm presuming the busy north side is more scenic?

A field, then Loch Ness with the vast mountains in the distance
First views of Loch Ness

Just after the village of Foyers I stopped at the very nice Cameron's Tea room for brunch and to dodge the shower that was threatening.

Loch Ness we see the waters and the surrounding mountains falling steeply into the loch
No signs of Nessie

Halfway down Loch Ness just before Whitebridge, I headed north east towards Daviot then joined the A9 for a few miles south east. This was to begin my clockwise trip around & through the Cairngorms.

I had a quick stop at Speybridge then saw a sign for old Speybridge so went to have a quick look and check out the salmon beats which I'm sure are rather expensive to fish.

A stone bridge that is slim and slender crossing the river in one span
New Speybridge
The old stone bridge, solid, chunky with 2 spans across the river
Old Speybridge
Looking down from a bridge we see a curve in the river, trees to one side and rugged fields the other side
Expensive salmon beats

After coming over the Cromdale Hills, I joined the A939 which was a superb road and climbed up to the ski resort at Lecht (2085 ft), dropped to Corgarff Castle before climbing again.

Grey skies yet gorgeous scenery as the road winds its way through vast rolling land
The road wriggles its way through the huge yet mor rounded hills of the Cairngorms
steel shelters look oddly coffin shaped in rusty steel on the route out of Lecht
Viewing booths on the way down from Lecht

At this point the weather closed in for a while as I rode along the A93 next to the River Dee, past Balmoral Castle & Estate into Braemar.

As the road climbed out of Braemar, the rain stopped which was good as this road is a spectacular climb up to the ski resort at Shee (2193 ft). There's an expensive cafe here alongside the ski lifts. It was cold at the top but a lot clearer than the previous valley which seemed to trap the low cloud & drizzle.

Huge overbrearing mountains and grey skies, just as the weather improves out of Braemar
Just out of Braemar and it’s clearing up
Andy's GPS showing an elevation of 2193 feet
The top of Shee

Now comes the descent down Glenshee which is as spectacular as the climb up but in a different way due to the sheer scale of it.

More vast bulbous mountains and the road snaking between the undulations near Glanshee
The view down Glenshee

At the bottom it was a quiet & twisty cross country route through Kirkmichael & Enochdhu to Pitlochry. Then a quick jaunt north to Blair Atholl, home to a castle & associated campsite. This has one of the most expensive bits of grass I've rented this trip at £19 for the night - I may have to roll it up & take it home!

This goes give me 25% off entry to the castle which doesn't help as I'll be leaving first thing. After setting up camp, I wandered up to the castle to see if I could take some photos and found the entry booth closed (as I knew it shut at 5pm) & the last visitors preparing to leave. That's more like a bargain.

A white painted many storey'd castle. More like a stately home than a fortification
Blair Atholl Castle

Temperatures have been between 7 & 11C most of the day. It's looking like it will get soggy as I head south tomorrow.


Detailed descriptions or brief notes like Andy, share your travelogue on Bikes And Travels - click here.

Llangollen Andy starts his trip to Scotland... by going to Wales! It is a long way from London Village to The Highlands though, give the man a break.
Friends And Finally Scotland Day 2 and 3 of Andy's Scottish expedition - and he's only just reached the borders. He's having way too much fun and should be focused on heading North.
Bad Weather, Brilliant Roads Andy's first proper ride into Scotland is proving to be a cracker even if the weather is dire.
Exploring Arran and The Mull Of Kintyre There's wildlife and scenery aplenty for Andy as he explores Arran and The Kintyre Peninsula. "Mixed" weather is keeping him on his toes though.
Easy Onto Mull Andy is taking in the splendid West Coast of Scotland at a sensible pace. From the Kintyre Peninsula to the Isle Of Mull there's a lot to take in.
Walking On Iona Andy is using Shank's Pony to get himself around the small island of Iona. Thing is the island isn't quite as small as Andy's feet had hoped for.
Mulling Around To The Mainland When Tobermory is a major town you know you've been somewhere remote. Andy is making his way up the West Coast of Scotland now.
Bealach na Bà Ain't So Bad Andy is making his excuses for a late start today, but it's all self-inflicted. It's time to be overwhelmed by the not really scary Applecross road.
The Wonder Of The West Coast Andy is up on the West Coast of The Scottish Highlands now, and it shows with his achingly beautiful pictures.
The Wonder Of Even More West Coast Andy is exploring the remote and lonesome shores of the North West of Scotland. Geology, beauty and single track, all in another day's ride in The Highlands.
Out Of The Good Stuff, Into The Weather After The splendour of The Highlands and West Coast of Scotland Andy is now at the top of the country. Is there much to report?
The Scottish North East Coast Andy after reaching the tip of the UK is now meandering his way south along the east coast. Being back in civilisation means proper food in solid buildings.
No Nessie And Wet Cairngorms Andy looks at Loch Ness and The Cairngorms, well, when the weather allows at least.

Reader's Comments

Upt'North said :-
Without doubt Andy some of the best scenery and roads in Scotland, although still not quite the West Coast?
There's also lots of good cafes in the area too but I find all cafes expensive these days which can take the edge off the enjoyment. Doesn't stop me eating though.
We were lucky on the way through x 2,sun but still blummin cold on top.
Upt'North.
Posted Image
10/07/2020 09:40:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
When was that piccy taken Upt? Mrs North does look rather chilly, like Sharon she sits there with her hands tight between her thighs, rubbing them in search of warmth. Would it be sexist and politically incorrect to state that those who lean towards the feminine of the species suffer the cold more?
10/07/2020 10:23:52 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Don't you love technology? No! OK, only askin, Geez.
1138 on Saturday 21st September 2019.
It was lovely and warm, nay hot on the Moray Firth and in the Glen's but physics is physics. Or is it the weather?
Upt'North.
10/07/2020 01:16:37 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
More good stuff and great pics. What are those "viewing booths" intended to view? Look like coffins to me.....
10/07/2020 01:49:52 UTC

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