Now I have no one to blame for the over ambitious nature of my first outing of the year. I think the deluded memories of last summer, sauntering over the summits like some puffed up domestique, were just too fresh in the memory to dissuade me from starting with something simpler. And it all looked pretty straight forward on map my ride, but I still seem to be blind to factoring elevation into the equation when planning a route. Anyway, I can safely say that the B974 Fettercairn to Banchory road over the Cairn O’Mount is bastard steep. Normally when you start on up a slope and begin tapping out a rhythm (cough, cough), you can at least fool yourself that the top of the bealach is within reasonable distance. But this slope just kept on going and going. And just when I thought it must be levelling out soon, I realised to my horror that the road went straight over the freaking mount, and there was to be no relief. Man I barely made it to the viewpoint without toppling over and asking for mercy. It was intense, all two miles of it…. So where was I off to? Can you not guess? Oh yes, that’s right I’m the bloody bothy bore who knows about all these obscurities. House of Charr my friends, House of Charr. The most easterly of the MBA’s as I’m sure its becoming clear, even further east than Mount Keen, which is almost in Aberdeen as it is. And that is about as interesting as it got. The bothy is in some nondescript old territory and it doesn’t even have a fireplace. I was lucky to get some sunshine. And the shame of it is that I had to walk the final 500m back up over the summit on my return. Yes walk. I can barely type the words. After a whole year of not getting off the bike on a tarmac road, I had to admit defeat.
The next morning I was filled with not a little apprehension as I got a lift to Glen Shee with my bestest friends John and Katherine, who were absconding from child care duties for the day. The plan was to scoot down the hill towards Bramaer, and trot across to Callater Stable while they went skiing. But obviously that meant in the afternoon I would have to cycle back up to the ski station, and just to rack it up a bit John had to be back for a meeting, so there was a cut off time to contend with. It was a beautiful day so it wasn’t really a hardship, but I didn’t have so many spare minutes for lunch and I was already feeling my legs when I got back to bike. Safest to say, despite my fears that it would turn out to be something like the torturous experience of Tour de France competitors finishing up the Col de Tourmalet, I made it without incident. But I have made a mental note to plan something a bit more sedate for my next adventure.