Day 6 – Lockerbie to Comrie
First things first – a big thank you to the Dinwoodie Lodge Hotel for last night’s accommodation. On leaving this morning, and after having a chat with the proprietor about my charitable intentions, he handed me an envelope containing a donation! Completely out of the blue and unexpected, but most welcome.
On the subject of the hotel itself, it’s a bit dated but the service is great, dinner well presented and reasonable and the breakfast is awesome. It’s great when you step across the border to find the fryup contains two additional items – tattie scones and haggis. I went for the former, but James insisted on everything. A big breakfast definitely sets us up for the day so it’s most welcome!
Onto the bikes, we took the old A74 as far as Abington. This is a mostly great road in that it’s very quiet but has some appalling sections of Tarmac that are rough enough to shake fillings loose. Other than that it’s good, with a cycle lane almost all the way, sometimes on road and other times on a separate track.
At Abington, we took the road towards Lanark, heading round Tinto hill (incidentally a nice afternoon’s walk with the dog), and then towards Carnwath. A fuel stop in the Apple Pie bakery saw us back on the road to Forth, then on to Whitburn. There followed the first real climb of the day to Armadale, then a few more through California to Shieldhill.
We stopped for a drink here, with my visit into the shop timed perfectly to watch the SFL boot Rangers into the 3rd division – a great day all round!
Coming out of Shieldhill and towards Glen Village was a section I’ve ridden in the opposite direction, and then it was an absolute stinker of a climb. I therefore knew this would be good as a descent – it was. There’s something about flying down a hill on tyres an inch wide that is unbeatable.
Making our way through Falkirk, we joined the A9 through Plean and into Stirling. A quick stop in Bridge of Allan (brake pads), and then we started on what I expected to be a long push up Dunblane. It wasn’t, with the top of the town reached quickly, and we followed the road to Braco. Once again, I’ve ridden this road in the other direction, and I didn’t realise how much of a climb it was until I effortlessly coasted into Braco. From Braco, we took the Langside into Comrie, with the descent being far better in that direction than by the normal route I take. Once the descent ended, the cloud lifted and I saw the splendour of the Highlands unfold before me. We’d covered the Central Belt without even thinking about it, so all we really need to do is get to the top of our island and then we’ll be done.