#FloodReTour Day 9 – Flood Re’s LEJOG. Perth to Grantown-on-Spey
“Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, the hills of the highlands forever I love,” wrote Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet (who may or not have been a keen cyclist). Expectations were for the team, currently comprising Andrew Creedon, Harriet Broughton, Gary McInally, Chris Bradbury and Adam Golfing, to have a rather more love-hate relationship with the imposing terrain. Yet, despite a late finish in turbulent weather the previous evening in Perth, the team conquered the slopes with the stoic resolve of mountain goats.
Neither a slightly late departure from Perth, nor a puncture for Andrew, levelling the score at two apiece for both himself and Harriet, could halt the team’s progress and they breezed into Blair Atholl ahead of time for the day’s meeting. With a wonderful selection of scones, cakes and rolls – of which Chris had six – provided by the Blair Atholl Watermill, complimenting an equally pleasant welcome from councillor Mike Williamson, the team enjoyed interacting with local residents. The area was hit by bad flooding last December and advice was offered on how homeowners could achieve the best deal.
Taking advantage of the village hall’s proximity to Blair Atholl Castle, the team made a brief photo stop where they were serenaded by the tones of the bagpipes. Uniquely, the Duke of Atholl is allowed to raise a private army, but no group of heroes could match the determination and spirit of the Flood Re team as they headed back to the roads and further into the Highlands.
Harriet’s quest to spot a Highland Cow entered its second day and she didn’t have long to wait to encounter field after field of hairy cattle. Buoyed by the sightings of wildlife and the stunning scenery, the team bolted along with great ‘moomentum’ (Sorry).
On such a gruelling adventure recovery is key and although not backed up by any medical science known to man, the team arrived upon a revolutionary technique. It turns out that the comfiest place to unwind whilst embarking on a 10 day cycle is the concrete floor of a petrol station forecourt. Refuelled, the team carried on to the evening stopover for soothing showers and a splendid meal.
With less than 200 miles to go, thoughts are gradually turning towards the finishing line with the end almost in sight. Tomorrow the team visit Inverness, hoping to have the wind at their backs to give them the gas to reach the finish line. Having completed more than 900 miles in just over a week, overcoming the Highland hills is a fantastic achievement that all will remember with pride.