What do you do when three spare days turn up on your calendar and on your SOSADs (significant other sharing a diary) diary. Go on a tandem tour obv….
With plans made and the tandem well loaded we headed out towards Stirling and an Air BnB we had managed to get booked at short notice. The Scottish weather did not let us down it was exactly as forecast dull, grey and raining a great start to three days in the saddle. A number of firsts were happening on this tour 1. It was Carol and I’s first tandem tour. 2. The first time I had used Komoot as a planning tool.
An early stop was made in Cowdenbeath to try and dry out and warm up, much to Carols embarrassment I managed to knock over our table come tray set up and spilled our tea, milk and biscuits all over the floor the staff were amazing and refilled our pots and mopped up the floor without a murmur of complaint. Thank you Kassy’s Kitchen.
We left Cowdenbeath heading for Dunfermline and the west Fife Cycleway. An old railway the WFC is tarmacked and flat, we made excellent progress towards Clackmannan and Alloa. Still wet and windy we had food and drink in the Tescos in Alloa. Heading to Stirling we were following the route as planned by Komoot and I must say it was pretty good keeping us on cycle paths for a good portion of the journey. Even when we neared our Air BnB which was in the newly refurbished area of Raploch it picked up cycle paths.
We had been looking forward to our evening meal and had booked a table at The Grill in Bridge of Allan. Recently featured on tv the restaurant served wagyu beef and it did not disappoint.
A good first day apart from the wind and rain, 39 miles with 1300ft climbed and happy with Komoot.
Day 2 and 3 of the tour were forecast to have better weather. After a light breakfast we set of from Stirling to Comrie Croft taking in the Bliss trail on the way. Not an auspicious start with Komoot taking us down a fenced off path under a dual carriageway we turned around and managed to dodge the traffic to cross to the other side picking up a cycle track. We then headed along a busy road for a short distance until we turned in near Blair Drummond Safari Park where Komoot seemed to do all sorts of twists, turns and reroutes eventually we ended up back on the main road heading to Doune where we turned off to go up the minor road by Deanston Distillery thank goodness for Google maps!
Reaching Callander we decided food and drink was in order and had lunch sitting in a park watching baby ducks having a great time in the river which had broken its banks. After food we set off on NCN 7 heading to Lochearnhead and the first of the art pieces on the Bliss trail.
We stopped off at the Broch Café a cycle friendly establishment with a few of the pieces by it, I wont publish the pics you can go and see the trail on your own!!
We had a lovely lunch outdoors and then headed on our way again. We found more of the art then headed along the south side of the loch which was much quieter and more scenic. We arrived at Comrie Croft after the reception had closed but there was a message on the chalk board explaining our keys were in our room, unfortunately we did not see this until after we had called the out of hours number!
Day two much better weather we covered just under 49 miles and climbed 1600 feet.
Day three we breakfasted at the Croft’s café on a double decker breakfast roll! We started off on the road and headed onto minor roads as soon as we could heading up a climb almost immediately.
Carol wanted to do some research on this leg of our tour and was looking to find the hotel her parents honeymooned in which was, at the time owned by family friends, and a house that said friends had built once they retired. We had planned a route on Komoot but knew that we would possibly be taking detours to reach either of the locations. We headed through Muthill and onwards to Auchterader where we had a wee break in Synergy café and checked the maps for the locations we were looking for.
Next stop Dunning where we found the hotel and also the road that would lead us to the location of the house. Bingo we found it! Out on it’s own on a country road near Ardargie with the exception of a conservatory not much had changed in the 40 odd years since a fading photo had been taken and which was found by Carol when she was converting slides. Now it truly was homeward bound a final café stop in Heaven Scent, Milnathort and we made our way home.
Day three totals slightly askew due to technology and possibly human failure but look something like just over 49 miles pedalled with 2800ft climbed. Fair to say both of us had some “sair bits” but nothing debilitating and certainly not enough to dissuade us from touring again.