Glasgow to Aberfoyle

By Andrew O'Neill - May 2, 2018

Now that we’re all together we’re off to the races.

Ready to ride

First Day on the Road

My new bike

In the morning, we all got up, made some breakfast, checked out, and were ready to hit the road. Wende and Dan had hired (rented in American) some bikes from a local shop. They were basic road bikes with a rear rack for panniers. We started by riding back to the shop so they could leave some luggage. I also bought them some water bottles and got some more spare tubes. Then we headed northwest toward the first destination, Balloch.

Ducks in a boat

We hadn’t really made any plans. Wende had made a reservation at Pitlochry so we chose a route that would get us there. After cycling through England, Vicki and I were pretty familiar with the national cycle routes. We chose to follow route 7 from Glasgow all the way to Inverness. The first day was pretty easy. A walk in the park for Vicki, Wende, and I. Dan (non-biker) seemed unphased as well. The ride out of Glasgow was not that exciting, pretty urban. We took a small break for lunch at a little coffee shop. The rest of the ride was nicer. The route moved away from the urban areas and got out into the woods. We arrived in Balloch between 3-4PM. We attempted to stay at a campsite. The only one in town did not allow tents though. We ended up staying at an inn on the main road.

Castle

Wende and Dan went out for a walk around the area. They took some pictures of the lake and castle. Vicki and I watched tv and drank a beer. Later we all had dinner at the restaurant downstairs. After a good meal we all went back to our rooms and agreed to get up early, around 8AM, to start our next leg of the trip.

Tree

Riding in the Rain

Another Castle

When we got up the sky was not looking very happy. We rode down the street to the grocery store to get some food for our ride. After stocking up on energy bars, and dried fruit we left for Aberfoyle.

Coming over the hills

We continued along route 7 and encountered our first few hills of the trip. Vicki and I were accustomed to the weight of the bikes and the effort needed to ride over a hill. Dan and Wende had not experienced this yet and for them it was really tough. On the steeper sections both of them would get caught in the wrong gear or already red lining. We later got in the habit of calling out hidden hills or steep inclines, which Vicki and I would sometimes do lovingly later on. This day was really tough. After about an hour of overcast skies the rain came in full force. The rain drenched us and it was freezing cold. In a small town, Dan bought some waterproof boots to cover his shoes while riding. Then we had lunch at a pub. We were all really cold and wet, but the tea and meat pies warmed us up. After a long lunch we continued on in the rain for another few hours. Finally arrived in Aberfoyle.

Now we're wet

Since it was still early we went to a wool shop before trying to find somewhere to stay. It turned out to just be a store for tourists. (I’m not sure the wool was even from Scotland.) We left and went to find a place to spend the night. For Vicki and I finding places to stay had been relatively easy. We rarely booked places in advance very often and found a room at the first place we asked. This was not true when travelling with 4 people. The first place we tried only had one room. Then Vicki asked at one inn while I asked at another. Both were fully booked. We eventually went to the tourist info and asked them about where to stay. They found a B&B for us and we were very relieved. Before this I had never considered that we might not be able to find a place to stay the night. I was really worried that we’d have to split up or wild camp somewhere. Luckily it all worked out.

Our reward

That night we went to a cool stone grill restaurant. They would give you a red-hot stone and a raw slab of beef or lamb. Then you cooked the meat to your desired bloodiness. It was delicious, and then we got to introduce Wende and Dan to Sticky Toffee Pudding. STP is the best dessert in the world. While paying the bill Dan somehow convinced the waitress to let him keep a pint glass. It would become one of the many glasses Dan would carry around Scotland and then home to Buffalo.

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© 2018 Andrew and Vicki