Right. Loads of photos today. So many that I ran the batteries out in the camera.
I attempted this run a few days ago but had to turn back as I'd completely forgotten that I was supposed to be going to the cinema with my good lady. Today however I was free so just went with what I'd originally planned. So the first few photos are from a few days ago but I'll be sort of pretending they're from today.
The weather was great and the destination was Sma (rhymes with 'law') Glen. The route there was on the familiar road through Callandar before heading east past Loch Earn, through Crieff and then home.
was busy! Clearly the sunshine had roused the Scots and there were anglers, water skiers, bikers and hikers on and around the loch. I probably should have stopped to take some scene setting photos but I didn't. So you'll just have to imagine a loch with people around it doing stuff.
Here a few of the photos of Loch Earn I took a few days back. The weather wasn't so hot that day so no water skiers.
This was a water run-off thing that looked pretty cool. I had some child yapping in my ear while I was taking the photo. He buggered off before I could tell him a monster lived inside.
When I was on this road a few days ago, a fella had come off his GS on a bend. I had seen him and his pal earlier in the day when they'd overtaken me. I didn't stop as the police and paramedics were already there. The guy seemed to be in decent shape as he was standing and talking to the medic. I hope he's doing well.
Today, I approached the same corner and to my surprise found a a cop stopping traffic. A car had gone into the ditch at the side of the road. It looked pretty beat up as a result. That's 2 accidents in a week. One more and we get to keep the ball! By that I mean we'll get a shiny new speed camera. Joy.
The next bunch are from the road into Comrie
. I've ridden through Comrie maybe 20 times and never stopped yet. The road in from the west is great though. Good quality tarmac, winding roads and some cracking scenery. I had my footpeg scraping the ground at one point. Only done that once before, on a hairpin bend. As with the first time, I nearly shat myself when it happened as I'd no idea what the hell it was at first.
A85 into Comrie:
I'm not entirely sure about the names of the places coming up here. The Sma Glen is what the road signs say which suggests that that would be the official name but everything I see online suggests that this is just a nickname for Glen Almond. I don't know for sure and I don't suppose it matters much either. Sma Glen sounds like a bastardization of 'Small Glen' which is how I'm going to think of it until I'm corrected.
It's a stunning area. It doesn't have the size or majesty of Glen Coe but the more intimate feel is what makes it. I have heard of people feeling a bit uneasy in this glen as the hills look like they're closing in on them. Hard to imagine on a sunny day like this but I bet a misty night up here is pretty damn scary.
I parked the bike up a few times and wandered on foot to get some non-road photos. I even waded in 2 inch deep water of the River Almond to get some of these so I hope you appreciate it.
There were almost as many bikers on the road today as there were cars. I always nod at bikers but I'm not really quite sure how to greet them when there's 20 in a row. Nodding would probably induce motion sickness and taking my hand off the handle bars to wave for half an hour just seems dangerous.
Further up the glen there's a fantastic bit of road. You need to watch out for sheep though. They often get out of the fields and wander about the road. Whenever I take photos near them, the rams always stare at me. Not sure how I'd cope with one charging at me when I was riding on the road. See if you can tell the sheep from the rocks in this bunch.
By the time I got through this area, I'd done what I'd set out to do today. On a whim though, I took a side road to Glen Quaich. I'd never heard of it and Wikipedia tells me nothing about it so I'm guessing there were no massacres here at any point. Or maybe there were, but the killers covered their tracks really well!
Anyway it's a single track road. That's single track as in relative to our road system. All it means is single lane with passing places every hundred yards or so. Some of the roads can be in bad shape with huge pot holes and gravel every where. This one was perfect though. I'm guessing it was resurfaced recently. It was a fun road. All little hills that make you lose your stomach. Or go airborne if you go fast enough.
The loch that the road runs alongside is Loch Freuchie. It's the most blue I've ever seen a loch.
This next bit is where I decided to turn back. I had no idea where the road was taking me and I needed to double back to make sure I got photos of the parts I wanted (a lot of the photos above were actually taken on the way back). So I pulled in at the side of the road, took some photos and grabbed some juice. I was a bit nervous about heading back as the road was quite difficult to navigate. The hill I was on was very steep and had 2 hairpin bends at the bottom of it. I had to drop down to first to get up the hill in the first place and I could see the difficulty that cars were having negotiating the turns.. My fear was that I'd go in way too fast and not make the turn.
This photo, as always does not show how steep the hill was. It does show a cyclist struggling to get up though. The poor guy lasted another 5 seconds after I took this picture before running out of steam and keeling over. Didn't get his foot down or anything. He was shattered. I headed on foot to help him but he waved to let me know he was ok. I waited to make sure he got away before trying it myself. As it was I made it down no problem so I was quite relieved.
He passed me an hour or so later later when I stopped to take photos. He said hello and seemed to be in a better state than when I saw him previously. He was heading down hill for one thing so I'm sure he was thankful of that.
So that was me heading home. The journey back was more or less unremarkable. Took a different route back which is more about the road than the scenery. The battery had run out on the camera so I wouldn't have mattered anyhow!
I'll finish with an annoyance and a bit of a mother earth loving lecture/rant. Apologies in advance to both the members here and the Scottish Tourist Board.
Litter annoys me everywhere. City or countryside, I can't really think of an excuse. If you can carry a can of coke with you someplace, you can carry an empty one until you find a bin. For all the amazing sights I see when out on the bike I still find piles of rubbish lying beside lochs or empty lager cans floating down rivers. When I take these photos, I make sure there's no litter in view as it makes for prettier pictures but quite often there will be something just outside the field of view. Like I said, it annoys me wherever it is. But when I see real beauty spots like we have in Scotland being tarnished by Scots it really pisses me off. To take this photo
I had to step over or walk past household waste, a discarded car tyre, half a washing machine and what looked like a carpet.