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Published: July 22nd 2010
Day 31 Blair Atholl to Newtonmore 38miles 993 miles
A dull and damp start with a blustery wind, but the rain had stopped at least. Before breakfast went for a short ride up to Old Blair bridge where there were good views of dippers on the river and red squirrels in the trees. Coming back on an estate road of Blair castle, I stopped and watched an osprey carrying a fish back to its nest. Near the entrance to the castle I stopped to admire some highland beasties with particularly fine horns.
After a fine breakfast in my very comfortable lodgings I set forth on the gentle climb up Glen Garry. All the way up to the Drumochter pass and beyond the NCN 7 uses the old A9, much of which is traffic free and in some areas reduced to path width. On the seventeen mile pull up there are some fine tumbling waterfalls and the plants were good with stands of melancholy thistle and Northern marsh orchids. I took a short detour to the falls of Struar where a railway viaduct crosses over the road bridge over the gorge. A couple of unusual red squirrels with biscuit
colured tails ran along the parapet of the bridge. The country gets rougher and wilder as it gets higher and is treeless for the last few miles over the summit of the pass which is shared with the railway and the traffic roaring on the busy A9 a few yards away. Every so often I would see keen LEJOGers with their heads down on their racing bikes struggling against the increasing head wind to meet their target of 80 or a hundred miles to get to John o Groats in 7,8 or 10 days!. I shared the slower, more scenic and undulating NCN route with Mike and Jill Armistead from Beverley, Yorks who had been staying at the same B&B in Blair Atholl. They were cycling from Glasgow to Inverness and I was to meet up with them several times over the next few days.
The last two or three miles up to the summit were fairly unpleasant with a gusty headwind and rain but soon after topping the pass the rain eased off and I had a very pleasant ten mile down hill into Dalwhinnie where the Tea room provided a very welcome bowl of soup and pot of
Sustrans route Seven follows the old A9 parallel with the new improved road
Out past the distillery, which smelled great, and a further ten miles down easy quiet roads and I arrived in Newtonmore , my destination for the day.
Met up with my cycling friends for a meal in a pub which we ate while watching the world cup final. Spain won, I believe.
Tot: 1.888s; Tpl: 0.065s; cc: 9; qc: 64; dbt: 0.0333s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb