This was going to be a long one, turned out at I broke the 100 miles mark! Before I start a note on Scottish drivers. With the exception of Edinburgh I have found them to be very considerate to cyclists. They give you loads of space and use their indicators! Some English drivers could learn a thing or two from them. Thanks very much 🙂
Also I’ve noticed several constant companions so far – Skylarks, pheasants, road-kill (often pheasants), rabbits, the odd deer and once a herd destroying a field of crops, wind farms, fields of oil seed rape, cattle and sheep (lots of lambs), and weather in a variety of forms – mostly adverse since entering Scotland but heard it might improve soon.
14 May 2013
Post a good nights sleep in Tentsmuir, with no troll activity to report, I awoke to a bright but cold morning. I’d received a text from a friend of my brother last night, offering a relief package in the form of baked goods from his family’s bakery in Dundee, this was quite an exciting prospect seeing as Fisher & Donaldson was apparently recently endorsed by the queen, and bakeries are proving a regular stopping point anyway.
Post a breakfast of oatcakes, cheese and fruit, and setting up my Power Monkey to recharge using the solar panels attached to the rear of my bike, I pedalled out of Tentsmuir with the sun coming through the trees. I intended a good long leg today, but priorities first so I rode out through Tayport, and Newport-upon-Tay, before crossing the Tay Bridge to get to Dundee. The Tay Bridge is pretty lengthy, and you have to use a lift on the North side to get down to street level, the first time I’ve taken my bike in a lift.
The clouds were sweeping in from the south west at this point, so after getting directions from a friendly cyclist I made my way across the short distance to Whitehall Street and Fisher & Donaldson. The lovely ladies at the bakery sorted me with a bacon roll and decaf coffee, plus pies and doughnuts for the day, hearty fair and just what I need to keep my energy levels up. Nice to have a chat too. Thanks very much for organising Ronan, much appreciated!
Bidding adieu but intending to return later, I cycled back over the bridge and down the Firth of Tay on the south side, through Wormit, Balmerino – where there’s an Abbey, and Newburgh, amongst other places. I didn’t really stop until Perth as the day was turning duller and showery, and with some big hills and a headwind I wanted to get this bit over and done with.
I met a fellow tourer just outside Perth, out for a day’s ride, who gave me some directions – meet interesting and helpful people from time to time and always good to have a chat, agreed the weather was indeed bad. I had a quick cycle around Perth and consumed lunch from the bakery, great pies and exceptional fudge doughnut containing custard filling, best doughnut I’ve ever had I reckon, and worth going back to the shop just for that!
I meant to take the back route out of Perth, which I knew involved a big hill climb but was quieter and safer than the A92. Unfortunately I must not have been concentrating and somehow got trapped on the dual carriageway for a short but alarming stretch, not for the faint hearted with all the heavy traffic going to Dundee. I was soon off it though and back on route 77 which I followed to Dundee up the north side of the Firth of Tay, through Glencarse and Invergowrie, on fairly flat roads and with a tailwind for a change, nice riding.
Having only been rained on a couple of times (glad of the Ortlieb panniers again) and with it getting slightly warmer, I shed a layer and made my way back to Fisher & Donaldson for another coffee and doughnut, very nice too, before heading on up the coast wanting to put some more miles in, and take advantage of the nice evening and tailwind.
I rode on up the coast through Broughton Ferry, Monifieth and Carnoustie, then on to Arbroath. With the tailwind it was a great ride and made good time up quiet and tarmac’d cycle paths, past yet more golf courses and an MOD firing range – the red flags were up but didn’t hear any bangs.
I had fish and chips in Arbroath and considered finding somewhere to camp. To that end I rode out to St. Vigeans where there was allegedly a tent friendly caravan park, but I couldn’t find it. I did find St Vigeans which is a lovely old village with a museum containing Pictish carvings.
There endeth the pictures for the day as my phone needed charging.
Deciding to follow my original plan of wild camping I continued up the coast out of Arbroath, following route 1 over the hills. Was a lovely evening and I made great progress, the wind having dropped and rain holding off. I passed through Lunan with it’s sandy bay and dunes, Usan, and then on to Montrose as dusk approached. Great countryside but sadly no pics, google it.
Passing over the bridge into Montrose, a busy port by the looks of it, and old town judging from the buildings, I pedalled on looking for a suitable pace to camp. As the light faded I finally found somewhere a little inland near the House of Dun that was suitable – farmer’s field with no crops or livestock. I was quite relieved to set up my tent, have a snack and go to sleep, after a very long ride – worked out later it was 110 miles, longest leg yet but legs felt good still.
Day 14 done and Norfolk seems a long way off now, as does the start of my tour even though it was only 2 weeks ago. Went to sleep dreaming of doughnuts.
Note: need to buy more camping stove fuel, and bananas, can never have enough bananas.