last updated September 16, 2012

GOING COLD TURKEY

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RANNOCH STATION - PITLOCHRY
40 miles

I'd had a brief week after our holiday in Turkey with some late nights and weekend working and so was looking forward to getting away again for some physical excertion and spending some time in a part of the country I (realised last year whilst driving through) have sadly neglected from my travels.

I'd mapped and calculated the route 2 months previously, booked the accomodation and then basically gotten back to a very heavy shift of work. As with 2011, there were last minute adjustments to the bike (at Rannoch Station) and also a reminder of the route on the train up. We were only focussed on the fist day and it was to be a pretty straight forward roll to Pitlochry so we got moving along the lochside and headed toward Kinloch Rannoch past silver birch, fern, the first of many serious (victorian) civil engineering projects and toward lunch. I'd been to the village in my childhood but more recently in June to visit Mr Penman so I was confident the hotel would do alright scran.

The pub at the back was closed so we were ushered in to the Hotel proper with it's tired surroundings, tired music and tired staff. They were actually playing bagpipe laments at lunch time - "the older clientele like it". Amongst sporadic chat the visitors looked like suicide might be an agreeable alternative, the saving grace being a baby's gurgling and a stuffed, ginger badger that Ross had found an affinity with. A young Caribbean guy came in with three 50 somethings. I met him outside when we were packing up as he had come out for a macdoobie. Grenadan's certainly show up locals for friendliness and welcome. On the way out the young staff had suggested that playing popular music would be "a tragedy" so I started singing the Bee Gee's classic as we left them to their 1970's tartan take on tourism.

After lunch we bumped into a friendly retiree who showed interest in the bikes. 15 minutes later we were at his garage looking at a Dawes tourer he was selling. A nice thought but extra baggage was not something we were needing - especially as we had decided to liven up the days route by heading over Schehallion. To be fair, it was the shoulder of the mountain and not particularly high but nonetheless we were happy that it wasn't too much work to get over. Things seemed promising. A lumpy 15 miles later we rode into Pitlochry - a nice old hostel - had a wash and headed out to find a pub and restaurant.

With Turkey still in my mind we went to a Greek / Turkish restaurant I'd noted in June. If you're in Pitlochry - don't bother. good mezze but salad had a acrid flavour and the staff sat around waiting for, well, I don't know - I think they were just used to sitting around woefully. A shame - the chops were not bad but atmosphere, like in Rannoch, left a lot to be desired. I was waiting for a razor blade to accompany the bill rather than dark chocolate or a mint. We solved the problem by going for an ale at the Old Mill and settled in at the bar for a few - happy to be enroute.

Posted by stupot at September 16, 2012 05:17 PM