Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Straight off the back of walking the Speyside Way I only had one day left in Scotland and ever since I'd arrived I'd seen a really big hill on the horizon and I was determined to get up it. No rest for the wicked!
To get up there, I rather overenthusiastically planned a 20 mile loop riding Captain Brown Trousers. This would get me conveniently past the base of Farragon Hill and I would do it "if I had time"... knowing full well I was going to try it even if it got dark on me 😏
The initial hill was a bit of a killer but worse than the physical exhaustion was the discomfort around my first dabble with the Scottish "right to roam". I rode straight through a fancy estate and working farm and cringed as I prepared to get yelled or shot at. But nobody got mad and I made it to the proper highlands. Ooph it was beautiful and worth the stress!
Farragon Hill towered above me so I ditched my bike in some bracken and began the walk up. It was hot as hell but I reveled in the lack of track and having to pick my own way up the thing. The Speyside had been mostly flat so I didn't even mind the climb. I was much less of a fan of the 20-30 large black flies that WOULD NOT LEAVE ME ALONE! It was super claustrophobic and agitating so it sped me to the top where it was too windy for the buggers!
The view was incredible! As there aren't many other peaks nearby you could see for absolutely miles and after feeling like I hadn't really made it to the best bits of Scotland, this was huge goodbye present and teaser for future trips. I'd later find out that I'd done a "Corbett" by accident!
Time was tight so I took down a couple of sketches for future painting and scurried back down the hill. Unfortunately the route I'd picked then involved cycling straight back up another one and by the time I made it to the top of this second summit I wanted to throw up. I took a quick look at how much further I had to go on the GPS and it was completely ridiculous. I'd been out all day, only had two hours left and had only done a quarter! I veeeery reluctantly managed to turn myself around and bike back the way I came.
The adventure wasn't done with yet though because after hammering it down half a mountain covered in chunky rocks and navigating my bike over a three metre fence (ooph), my tires decided to split on me. I'd made the rookie mistake of riding without spare inners and I was stuck in the arse end of nowhere. There was nothing left to do so I plodded the 90 minutes back to Strathtay. A kind stranger offering me a lift all about about 100m from my door. 😅
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