Day 17 - Monday 27th August – Aberfeldy to Newtonmore
Daily Distance = 55 miles (expected = 55)
Total Distance = 932 miles (expected = 858.5)
Weather: Mainly dry, but cold and strong NW wind in our faces.
Contour: Flat, then up-up-up-up-up. Down-down-down to Newtonmore.
The day started in the best possible way. West Park Farm gave us a splendid breakfast, then made us sandwiches (cheese and salad) for the journey. When I went to pay the owner refused any money and asked us to put it towards the charity.
The mornings cycle was nice, but very cold. I wore my winter cycling gloves for the first time, and my eyes were streaming with the cold air. Today was the one we have been dreading, since NCN have a warning about the Drumochter pass, which is very long and high and which you have to do on a dual carriageway. Their recommendation is to take the train. To us this is cheating.
We made good time, and stopped for coffee mid morning. The hotel then refused payment. Stuart joined us a little later on his motorbike. At the time we were cycling along the old A road, which is now overgrown. We suggested he go on a further 10 miles and then we would stop for lunch.
A slowworm was slithering across the road in front of us, and only just escaped John’s front tyre. 10 miles further on was at the top of the pass. Luckily a cycle track had been built all alongside the road, just behind the crash barriers. This made us feel much better, although the wind in our faces made the climb harder. Stuart was at the top of the pass, and we settled down on the grass verge to eat our sandwiches. 33 miles by lunchtime, and hopefully a long downhill to start the afternoon.
Just as we got up after lunch, John fell face first into a ditch. He was so busy keeping his bike safe that he forgot to put his hands out to stop his body. Luckily he had his helmet on, since he hit his head on a rock. Stuart, a paramedic, checked him over quickly and we got on our way, saying our farewells to Stuart.
Cycling after lunch was fairly easy going. Nice long downhill, and we stopped in a hotel for coffee.
We arrived at Pines Guest House in Newtonmore at 4pm. Single rooms with private bathroom, tea and coffee and television. The owners were very nice, but a bit like Howard and Hilda from Ever Decreasing Circles. The bikes were put in the garage overnight. £23.50 per person.
We walked into Newtonmore for dinner, and after being advised to go to the Italian, found it to be closed on a Monday. Eventually ended up in a pub, and had garlic bread and pizza for dinner followed by chocolate sundae.
John and I played pool after dinner, and he hammered me. That puts him 4-1 up in the series.
No punctures and no breakdowns.