Day 10

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Origin:        North Queensferry
Destination:   Blacklunans
Waypoints:     Inverkeithing, Dunfermline, Kinross, Perth, Blairgowrie
Lunch:         a convenient supermarket, Perth
Accommodation: Glenkilrie B&B, Blacklunans
Cake:          The Cateran Cafe, Blairgowrie
Dinner:        Bridge of Cally Hotel
Google Maps
Distance:      59.6mi
Ascent:        2664ft by Google

Although I left yesterday's route dangling on the Forth Road Bridge, we started the day down in North Queensferry proper, from where we headed up the steep bottom of Ferryhill Road then take the main road towards Inverkeithing—joining the route as shown here just past the big Ferrytoll junction. I've shown the connection as diversion 1; the “main” route just follows the cycle route off the bridge to Inverkeithing. Past Inverkeithing station, it suddenly gets a bit wide and roundabouty, with a right-left on the double roundabout. There is a Sustrans path on the right of the road. (Funny how they always just appear without warning like that, eh? Always with a nice grass verge separating you from them.) Fortunately there is soon a reprieve, with the left turn onto a little road that crosses the M90 on a bridge.

After that, the road only leads into the depths of Dunfermline, which isn't short of a roundabout or two. A couple of straight-overs and past Saint Columba's High School, our Googly friends wanted us to take a left onto a dubious Sustransy path which, yet again, only a supernatural premonition would tell you is coming up (as by the time you can see it, you've missed the only dropped kerb). We unsurprisingly skipped this Google-prescribed left turn, instead sticking to the road which makes up the other two sides of a rectangle. The fourth side, being the “thin end”, is Halbeath Road, after which a right turn took us up past Queen Margaret station.

It's a car-y landscape... could be worse, but still not much fun to be in. The planned route was to take us to take the nearby Sustrans path, bending west past Loch Fitty and up the B-road through Blairadam Forest. I've no idea whether that way is any good... (diversion 1) frustrated by too many crappy Sustrans siren-songs, we instead kept on the road, taking the right towards Kingseat and Kelty and past Loch Fitty's east side. Out of spite we ignored yet another Sustransy roadside cycle path, this time on the other side of the right-hand hedgerow, which again only a psychic would know about. Someone really needs to prosecute the idiots who claim to “design” these things. (Although this one has a somewhat visible sign, it's still too late—by the time you'd see it, you'd be gearing down for taking the turn on the carriageway... taking the path would be a dangerously abrupt manoeuvre, turning across difficult-to-see oncoming traffic.)

Past Kingseat and Cantsdam, the road is a bit quieter and the landscape starts to open up a little. I'd say something about Kelty too, but I literally have no memory of passing through it. I suppose we cut through towards Keltybridge on the little road (a left turn onto Main St in Kelty) and popped out on the B996. This is the road to Kinross, where a nice talkative old man was chatting to us when we stopped for supplies at the Co-op. This stop also included a quick bit of gear maintenance—J's plastic thing had fallen off from the front derailleur. Do those things matter? It seems not.

The old man also mentioned that he used to cycle up to Bridge of Earn, which is what we did next. This stretch is rather nice... although it is not far apart from the M90 most of the way, there are some pleasingly whooshy downhill stretches and some nice views. Once you get to Bridge of Earn, you've earned a ride across a notable bridge—high-walled, with nice stonework. There not a lot else there, and we kept on towards Perth.

The road along to Perth got slightly busier, and we left it with a hard right to take the back way into town. This zooms down across the railway and through a light-industrial area along the river.

We stopped for lunch and admired some grand buildings... it's a charming city centre. Don't tell Debenhams we used their loos as non-patrons. We had dallied a bit to figure out exactly how to get ourselves into town. I suspect that a little way beyond the Milnes Ice Factory building we took the off-road path over the parkland (which I'm told is called the South Inch), which then left us stranded at the pedestrian-but-not-cycle junction with Marshall Place. I've left the route heading straight on without this diversion into the centre, but it's easily rectified (by a block or so of pushing, in our case).

To get out of town, we eschewed the Sustrans route along the west of the river and took the road along the east, which was not too busy, up to Old Scone. It was good to diverge onto the quiet stuff of Stormontfield Road. (From the map it is tempting to think that we could have taken a short diversion through Scone Palace, which would at least have been monumental... taking a right through the archway. I'm not sure you can get through—Street View reveals the back way on Stormontfield Road is not open, and the side way has a sign very rudely saying “no pedestrians or cyclists”. Of course you'd only see that sign on the way out, so pretend I didn't say anything... I've left it as diversion two.)

On Stormontfield Road one way or another, we manage to avoid the A93 as far as Campsie (just past Guildtown), where it is not idyllic traffic-wise but very manageable. It mostly follows the Tay, and we follow it over the charming single-lane Bridge of Isla, through Carsie, and down into Blairgowrie. We were super-early in Blairgowrie but had been warned by the nice B&B lady (on the phone) that “there's nothing” particularly close to the place. Still, it was only about 3pm and we couldn't possibly eat dinner yet. So we stopped for some cake at the Cateran Cafe, then pressed on out of town (avoiding the Google-trap along the river in Rattray, which ends in some steps) knowing there was one food option remaining.

That was (after several miles of climbing, winding A93) the Bridge of Cally Hotel, where there is indeed also a bridge. Some trivia: the nearby hill is called Hill of Cally. It's a charming spot; the hotel is nice enough but seemed perhaps to be coasting a little on its monopoly in the area. After an early dinner and only half a dozen A93 miles later, we reached Blacklunans and the lovely Glenkilrie B&B. It has a very cosy living room where I chatted to a charming American family from Lubbock, Texas, who were showing unusual good taste by touristing in the area. The young lady of the party (her name sadly escapes me) who was studying urban planning and had some pleasingly right-on opinions. In Perthshire and elsewhere, it's not all doom and gloom.

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Content updated at Thu 19 Mar 15:45:00 GMT 2020.
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