Day 3: Braemar to Blair Atholl (headed to Pitlochry for the night)
Before heading off from Rucksacks Braemar we had a quick chat with the owner to ask her opinion of the Geldie Burn, as it had been raining hard over night. She laughed….
Breakfast was back at Braemar Mountain Sports looking over the Clunie Water. Boy did that water look a bit whiter than the previous evening…..
We headed up to the Linn of Dee car park and onto the trails. We knew that there was a working party at the red roofed bothy so if the burn was too full we could always try and get a lift back to Braemar.
A fit chap in the twilight of his years came cycling towards us, presumably having been working on the bothy. We stopped him for a chat and asked his opinion of the Geldie Burn. He laughed…..
After 5 mins of chat he came to the conclusion that we were up for the challenge and reckoned we could get across if we were prepared for a bit of water up to the knees. No sooner had he left than a convoy of pick-up trucks followed him. The idea of getting a lift back from the chaps working at the Bothy had just been crushed.
We got to the Geldie Burn. Ouch. It was wide, fast flowing and looked deep. We walked up and down to see if there was an easier crossing point. The idea of turning round for another 18 miles back to Braemar followed by a 38 mile tarmac ride over the top of Glenshee was not something we relished. Another lesson learned here – the best route across the river seems to be where the path stops (“route 1”). Seems obvious of course and why we believed we would be the ones to find a secret better crossing up stream is beyond me.
So, shoes off (ties to rucksacks this time) and we set across. It was deep (up to our knees), the water was flowing fast, but with the bike to steady ourselves before we knew it, we were across. High 5s all round.
Another crossing followed and then into Glen Tilt. This really is a spectacular Glen – made all the more impressive with the white water crashing down the mountain tops.
The trail description talks about a narrow piece of single track above a steep drop. They weren’t wrong. The rock was also wet, adding a bit of extra spice. One slip and you are going to head a long long way down. None of us profess to having Danny MacAskill-type skills so we took the option to walk that bit of the trail and live another day. By the looks of the thin trail a foot above the single track, that fitted perfectly for the bike, I suspect we weren’t the only ones to have preferred that option.
Over the suspension bridge and magnificent crashing water, and we were back on an estate trail with a long blast down to Blair Atholl
We decided to stay in Pitlochry that night which added another 7 miles of tarmac, but we dispatched it pretty quickly and were soon at the Backpackers Hotel . This was nnother very friendly establishment and lots of eateries nearby to choose from.
Dinner for us was at the Old Mill Inn
Distance : 59.3km
Ascent : 486m