Finally got out on the bike again a couple of weeks ago after a bit of a summer lull, and pushed through on Sunday with an afternoon visit to Minch Moor. My sighter was a creaky effort from Dunkeld to Killin, faithfully following the banks of the River Tay for thirty odd miles, before tackling the endlessly undulating back road round the loch. This enabled me to put in an appearance at a ceilidh that friends had very generously organised in the village hall, to celebrate a triumvirate of 40th birthdays. Having grumbled for weeks about how much of a pain it was to get to this part of the world by bike, I actually had a really enjoyable ride, and still had enough energy to attempt a passable Gay Gordons, and a little out of sequence Virginia Reel. Got a bit ‘tired’ later on, and rather embarrassing threw an unsuspecting partner to the floor during the final Orkney Strip the Willow, but I think we’ll gloss over that. However much practice I’ve had over the years, I always seem to have trouble with a free bar….
Then last weekend, I took advantage of the unseasonably good weather to pay a visit to the closest bothy to Edinburgh, which much to my surprise is just a couple of miles beyond Traquair. I’ve been here loads of times over the years, but only really became aware of the bothies existence when I was starting the research for this project. Bit thick considering its right there in the list in my MBA handbook, but I suppose observation has never been my strong point. And it turns out to be round the corner to the test piece mountain biking descent off Plora Rig, a kamikaze slalom that I was already acquainted with. Over braking. No helmet. Trip to Borders General. Nine stitches. Forehead. Doh… I only I realised when I turned the corner across the valley from the bothy, and had to negotiate my bike down the routes approach path. Got some dismissive stares from some dudes spectating their mates who were flying down the hill, but there was little I could do. Difficult to hide the pannier in such circumstances. A different time indeed.