Today’s itinerary – 29 miles, 1600ft of elevation, no ferries and one spa!
We’d planned this day to be short as we were going to have the last night at a spa hotel and wanted to make the most of the spa before dinner. 29 miles is a short ride at home, but this route was all off road except for a few miles. The off road sections would range from fine gravel at best to rocky paths at worst.
We left the B&B to wet roads and very low cloud / mist, even though it wasn’t the bright sunshine we’d experienced earlier in the trip sometimes these weather conditions are very dramatic.
The path along Loch Lubnaig was in woodland so we didn’t get many glimpses of the loch but we were enjoying being away from the roads. We thought we’d try and find somewhere for a coffee and cake in Callander but were quite disappointed by the town, it may have been the wet weather, so we decided to push on. The route soon brought us alongside Loch Venachar so we decided to stop to take the views in and have a laugh at the paddle boarders who’s dog was trying to get on board!
After Loch Venachar the trail starts to climb into Achray Forest, its a very long, hard climb, made harder by the gravel, but the big bonus is there’s no traffic! It would have been very hard to avoid this part of the route without going on very busy roads so we decided if we had to we were better walking in the forest than riding the roads.
The descent was hard, the weight on the bikes, the wet conditions and not having disc brakes meant we had white knuckles by the time we were down but it did prove that you don’t need a ‘gravel bike’ to do these types of ride. Don’t get me wrong it may have been easier and more comfortable on a gravel bike but its possible to ride a lot of terrain on road bikes as long as you have decent wheels and tyres. I wouldn’t have used my aero frame road bike on this though!
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