Coast to Coast Day 6: The final miles

Can we see the Sea yet? This was a Munro sandwich of a day.
Tuesday morning saw us sitting outside the Ballater bike shop at half eight, hoping they would open early. We'd had a couple of punctures so far but when I went to fix the tubes I found my patches (which were in my saddle bag) were totally soaked through. Luckily Adam's had stayed dry but we had to find me new brake pads for the back as they'd only had one set at Laggan and my bike was making a seriously BAD noise.
The shop didn't have any of the right sort of pads (eek) but managed to nick them off another bike (phew), while at the same time giving us some advice on the route. Apparently doing Mount Keen from the Ballater side is not the best way round and he recommended we go along a route further east which is all completely rideable. However, for Adam and Elspeth the lure of a Munro by bike made them all starry eye-d and I didn't get an option. We did however modify our loop to go straight over the hill, rather than the long flat way which added 10km. I'm glad we did this as we scored some of the nicest single-track of the entire trip.
Mount Keen! First and last Munro by bike methinks...lots of rocks, hauling and dragging of big metal bike... windy, cold, nuff said!

The ride down was ok though :)
and very pretty! I'd worried about doing the trip in August, especially with the weather we've been having but I'm glad now we did as otherwise we'd have missed out on all the beautiful colours of heather and hillsides. The side of Mount Keen was particularly stunning.
From there, everything seemed to get a lot easier and it turned out we had 50km of generally downhill quiet country roads to glide on before spotting the gleaming spires of Montrose.

Into the sea for a quick dip ('are you mad?' enquired the women with the dog) which wasn't as cold as expected. It even managed to be sunny for the day!
Given that I'm into triathlon and had already done some biking and a bit of swimming, it seemed appropriate to finish the day with a run. We snuck into the pub for a quick pint before making for the Chinese to get a take-away for the way home. They took so long to make it that we ended up sprinting for the train station while carrying soup and pizzas and still wearing cleated shoes. Don't think my legs had felt so tired the whole trip. We arrived just as the train did, while Elspeth was trying to work out a way to get three bikes and a crate of beer onto the train by herself. What a great end to the trip!

Only three punctures, several sets of worn brake pads and a few tiny bruises. Not bad for 340km of mountain and river crossings!

A massive thank you to Adam for his amazing navigation skills, for being the official trip photographer, taking stunning photos and letting me put them on my blog (not sure how long I'll be allowed to keep up the union jack pants photo!), for being ever-ready with allen keys for bikes and with surgical glue in case of human mishap! And also for giving us lots of peanut m&ms!

Elspeth, take pride in the fact that the bike shop owner was truly awed by your brake pads :)


Red Bike said…
Fantastic achievement.

I had no idea the c2c was so long!
Elizabeth A said…
We took quite a wiggly route across the fattest part of Scotland. Earlier in the year we did another coast to coast (Ullapool to Bonar Bridge), starting just slightly further north and it only took a day!

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