I was a little nervous as to what I’d waken up to following last night’s downpour! I think it rained throughout the night, although I’m none the wiser whether there was any more thunder or lightning having slept pretty well. I woke at 4 am for a forecast check; sadly it suggested that the rain would continue until around 11 am.
The route guide suggested that the South Loch Tay Road should be used ‘if not confident of passing through fields with livestock’. That in itself didn’t bother me; my issue was running around the side of a hill on boggy sheep tracks; the amount of rain having fallen, this was pretty much guaranteed to be an unpleasant experience. After discussion over breakfast with the host at my B & B, I was advised that following the rain I could quite feasibly be ankle deep in water. I figured it best to go for the road.
Waiting for the Rain to Break
Leaving my B & B, it was dry. Five minutes along the road, however, the rain came on again, and got heavier. I was in two minds what to do – keep going and accept a soaking or stop and wait it out; I was carrying a rain jacket in my backpack but the thought of wearing it did not hold any appeal, temperatures lower than previous days but still on the warm side. Handily, the Falls of Dochart Inn had some tables with huge umbrellas outside, so I opted to wait there figuring I could have another cup of tea if necessary. I must have arrived before opening as I sat undisturbed for around half an hour before the rain got lighter and I headed off on my way.
South Loch Tay Road (Cycle Route 7)
Heading off along the road, it began with a slight incline. This proved to be the story of the route, although any incline was usually followed by a similar descent.
I determined to keep running today, stopping only for photos, and am pleased to say I pretty much achieved this. The views across the loch and onto neighbouring hills were lovely and I did enjoy the route.
Only a couple of miles in, I stopped to wander down to the loch and take in the views from the shore. The lovely scenery was spoiled a little by the remains of fires from previous days. Sadly some folks haven’t realised that their bottles and cans don’t disappear; nor do the remains of the fire.
There were some ducks swimming around and some rapidly growing ducklings. I chatted briefly to a young couple packing up their tent and continued on my way.
The road was quiet at this point in the day and the few motorists that passed were considerate, obeying the 40 mph cyclist and walker friendly road signs. I took in the views as I ran, slowly on the inclines, a little less slowly on the descent, although not too quick as my quads are very keen to make themselves known today.
The Ardeonaig Hotel was around 7 miles in and part of my ‘package’ included a taxi from Ardtalnaig, a few miles further along the road. I therefore continued on to the hotel, up a long, slow incline, before stopping for lunch.
Eating – Again!
I’m not sure that I’m cut out for ultra distance running, but I definitely like the idea of a picnic on the run. I’ve excelled on the eating front this week. Maybe that’s why I feel like I’m going so slowly!
I got a lovely seat under cover at the hotel and enjoyed a sandwich for lunch, chatting a bit to a lovely lady, Grace, who informed me that her holiday was part of a forthcoming ‘zero birthday’ celebration.
Staff were very friendly and I happily sat for an extended break (over an hour) allowing myself a comfortable time to run the last 3 miles to Ardantalnaig where I’d meet my carriage.
Final Views of Loch Tay
As I ran the final few miles of the day I caught my last views of Loch Tay – for today. It’s pretty lengthy so I’ll be seeing it again tomorrow, alongside the road as I complete this stretch.
I arrived at the pick up point with around 15 minutes to spare. This gave me enough time to wonder if the empty phone box was in fact the correct place or if I should be somewhere further along. It turned out to be correct and a passing lorry driver asking me for directions timed his arrival to perfection – I was able to advise that while I had not the faintest idea, the driver who was about to pull up behind him would likely be able to advise.
It was amazing how long the journey back to Aberfeldy took on the wee road with speed limitations. We passed the turn off for tomorrow (Falls of Acharn) and I laughed at the prospect of just getting out there instead. However, I’d only be ‘cheating’ myself …
Tomorrow’s blog will confirm one way or another which decision was made.