last updated September 18, 2012

The Devils Elbow


53 miles

When I planned this trip I didn't actually know that there was a significant climb north before the Lecht. Hazy, non-cycling, teenage memories of Braemar and Blairgowrie did nothing to remind me of Glenshee - all I could remember was a ski hire joint in Blairgowrie - and we didn't even go back to visit. Useless!
The snaking around the outcropping Eastern Cairngorms / Angus Glens was enough of an early morning wake up call and the gels were certainly being being broken out today. The overall height not the issue but the constant steep troughs.

We trundled along very quiet roads past haunted castles, cut trees and roadkill until we almost hit the old military road. Unfortunately bridge works (we tried in vain to get through) meant a 5 mile detour but we got on with it and the road wasn't unpleasant running by the burn. The main road itself was not so busy, but this was balanced out by local delivery drivers testing the limits of their white vans (we'd seen one the previous day almost lose it on a corner at high speed). So here is a quick guide to overtaking a bike. 1) Imagine it is you on the bike. 2) give a wide berth - move your whole vehicle to the other side of the road. 3) when you are going to overtake - get on with it. 4) above all else don't try and sneak past on corners - Death guilt is apparently shit to live with.

So anyway - we're making good progress and stop in at Spittal of Glenshee. It turns out that it's an apt name - the place is a shit hole and it's raining. We stop in a living museum that appears to have just been opened after having been locked up for 40 years - I quite like it until I taste the coffee but the open fire blazes up as soon as we sit down which is a rare treat. To keep with stereotypes, the young lad on duty has never been north of here so we can't determine when Ross will get his next nicotine hit. Apparently there is a shop in Braemar - it's all quality information we're receiving.

And so to the Devils Elbow, or Cock, or all the other unsavoury names we were calling it. It's situated in a beautiful Glen is about all I can say that is nice. The inclines using my standard double chainrings were tough with panniers - always ahead of Ross but not through choice - he was back in the smoking ring somewhere - or he would have been had he cigarettes. He pounced on some unsuspecting Europeans halfway up who tried to understand the conflict of cycling and smoking. And so we headed up the mountain, hitting the Glenshee ski centre just before closing time in gale force gusts - a friendly lassie gave us a cheap hit of espresso as we searched for warm descending clothes. Being between seasons we didn't get very far but we'd done the hard work and all we had to do was put everything on we had in our panniers and drop to Braemar. Looking back on our speed though, and remembering the amount of head wind, it is hard to see that the descent was a descent - nonetheless Braemar looked alright - we got our own room after Ross enquired and headed off for scran and Orkney ales at the FIFE ARMS.

Posted by stupot at September 18, 2012 11:04 AM