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Saturday, 16/04/2011: Aviemore - Glencarron Lodge accompanied by Alex and Dave.

Riding distance 135km. Ascent 1391m.

Aviemore - Glencarron Track

GC2 elev
Aviemore - Glencarron profile

Slochd Summit.
Shortly before nine Ron arrived. Dave nipped up to the bike shop to see if he could get a new tyre but returned empty-handed as they were not open yet. We set off up the old A9 with a little bit of a tailwind to help us on our way. Just before Slochd summit there is a bike and ski shop where Dave bought and fitted a new tyre and Ron a new saddle and a mirror, although the mirror did not survive even its first day on the bike.

Kessock Bridge.
We followed the national cycle route all the way to Inverness and then took a diversion around some very busy roads to get to the Alpine Bikes shop. Neil bought some new mitts to replace his very holey ones and a new cycling shirt and we also had lunch here as well.

Windy on the loch
Wind on the loch.
We then set off over the Kessock bridge before dropping down to the side of the river to follow it towards Muir of Ord. By this time, the wind was in our faces and the going was starting to get a bit tougher even though the road was level. After Muir of Ord we followed some more little roads before joining the main Ullapool road just before Contin. We stopped at the little shop for a drink and something to eat and briefly discussed the idea of taking the hedge with us that was sheltering us from the wind.

Ledgowan Hotel.
From Contin to Garve was quite unpleasant with high-speed traffic trying to squeeze past us on the narrow twisty road. Once out of Garve and onto the Kyle road things were much better in terms of the traffic but were getting steadily worse in terms of the headwind. Just past Nostie bridge powerstation we pulled into a layby and worked out a strategy to try and cope with the wind. We agreed on doing 5 min at a time at the front of the queue then dropping to the back to work slowly forwards until it was our turn again.

Alex's puncture.
In the wide-open valley heading towards Achnasheen the strategy worked but the energy output was taking its toll. As the cafe in the gift shop was closed by then we took refuge in the Ledgowan Hotel for tea and cakes. Rested and fortified, the final miles to the Lodge were completed but not without a bit more excitement when Alex had another puncture. Dave's spare tyre was pressed into service again to save the day.