Decided to make the most of one of my days off and headed with Pal Nick up to Loch Finglas (close to aberfoyle / loch katrine) for a ride. A 76yo neighbour who walks dropped off a pamphlet and said it may be a good ride.
Looking over he ride and OS map seemed to be a 600m high point and looking at the photos looked like quite boring farmtrack ….. still Nick is fairly new at the game and I was feeling a bit rusty.
We got there and it was cold – had on jacket, snugg over chin and mouth and ears covered up …. We set off from the car park and immediately it was granny gear front wheel lifting acsending – what a cruel start.
At the top of the first bit nice narrow walking bath swooping along before a drop down to join the tar road that comes in from Brig o’turk.
Through a few gates and already Nick is suffering – says he feels a chunky chuckle about to come on. Luckily there’s not a spew show.
We go right at the fork – the recommended route (and quite correct in my opinion) From there on its 5 miles of quite easy undulating farmtrack with only one walker that we see. Beautiful sunny golden sunlight n on all the crags – warms up a bit as we are in lee of mountain and still working a bit. Open the zips of the jacket and snugg is off.
We start to get into a bit of snow and all I can see is iced over footprints from about 5 walkers, one fell runner (from the trainer’s marks and 5 foot gait) with dog …. And two older bike tracks.
It gets steep again and when I get to the top of first rise there is about 2 inches of lovely crunchy snow …. But cold and a biting wind so I head back down to join Nick and gee him up a bit. The pass is at 599m according to the gps – pretty spot on for once. I have a warming up pee next to the cairn and wait for Nick who is walking the last steep bit. I remember to zip closed all the breathing bits on the jacket and put the snug back up over my head. As Nick get to me we see a quad bike roaring up the road – passes with a mammoth scope and rifle and with a doe head a dangling off the back.
Still we saddle up and head down following the spots of blood that appear on the snow every few yards. Snow actually helps brake on road but make sure to avoid the iced over footprints which are pretty lethal. It starts to thaw half way down then it’s a slushy mudfest …. With a lot of brake applied. You can see the descent but if it was a time slice it would have seemed almost verticval on the graph. Reckon we descended 400m in about 2 minutes ….. not the best use of up effort for down reward.
Stopped at the bottom and waited for nick with front disc tinkling as it cooled. He was bonked by this stage and had no legs for any further uphill that was longer than 10m ….. so I went ahead opening gates allowing him to pass then catching and passing again …. What a gent!
Nice run in all and would be quite good training (although they often have snow even in summer) a couple of quick loops good for marathon training – although not technical at all.
3hrs (with about 40mins stopped or going backwards)
850m asc (according to barometer on HRM – gps said 1050m WRONG)