The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Kerloch (NO696878; 534m)

Distance (bike): 15 miles (around 450m ascent)
Distance (foot): 2.1 miles (265m ascent)
Weather: overcast with very light showers
Start Point: Silverbank Caravan Club Site, Banchory

When I planned this trip I thought I would be mainly sitting around this week, with a lack of easily accessible hills along the main roads along which I was going to be driving. Looking at the maps this afternoon, I’m now coming to the conclusion that I had gone map blind by that point in the planning. That’s a shame, as I now realise that there were three or four hills I could have visited yesterday afternoon on my way to Banchory.

I also didn’t have Kerloch on my radar until I looked at a map this morning. As Bertie had spent the night on a campsite at Banchory, it struck me that rather than driving out of my way somewhere, I could leave Bertie exactly where he was, take my bike and go and visit this hill.

First good view of where I’m going, and the top is just in the cloud

As is often turning out to be the case, I was able to bike further than expected. I knew (from logs on that the initial section of track after leaving the road was good, but that somewhere in the forest it became horribly eroded. The somewhere transpired to be from the junction just after the wooden building marked on the map as Glenskinnan. There I dumped my bicycle, and took to a track that had large sections that Mick (who does not enjoy loose rocky/stony surfaces) would not have liked:

It had been raining on me off and on all the way, never quite to the extent of me donning waterproofs (although I did stop a couple of times with that intention, before deciding against), but as I approached my turn from the track onto the path that would lead me to the summit, the cloud base had risen:

Alas, it didn’t stay that way for long, and by the time I had covered those few hundred metres, I had not a single view of my surroundings. With windblown rain hitting me, I didn’t hang around beyond taking a few photos. Such a contrast to 24 hours earlier when I had sat in warm sunshine enjoying the views from The Coyles of Muick. Yesterday I had been in a short-sleeved t-shirt for most of the outing; today I was in three long-sleeved layers and only overheated on the latter stages of the ride in.

The sun briefly came out (for maybe 30 seconds) as I re-entered the forest. If only I'd hit the top during that short window!

A pleasant interlude in my ride back was meeting TGO Challenger Humphrey on my way down. We talked Norway, Spain, Scotland and heat maps before we each went our separate ways.

I opted to take the A93 for the final mile and a half back to the campsite, rather than the Deeside Way. It wasn’t nice, but it did take me via a supermarket, which was my aim. What did impress and please me about the outing was that until I hit the main roads through the town, in 13.5 miles of cycling I had been passed (in either direction) by only three vehicles, two of which were tractors. If I’m going to cycle on roads, those are the sort I prefer!


  1. I remember you telling me about Mick not liking those kind of tracks with loose stones and now, every time I set foot on one I am reminded.

    1. I would have sworn that I replied to your comment, but it seems that I must have replied in my head and not managed to put fingers to keyboard! Sorry about that.

      This track even tested my tolerance. Going up was fine; coming down was quite horrible in places. Mick would most definitely have hated it.

  2. Where are the tractor pictures?. Oh and are you putting that photo of you and Mick all dolled up on the blog?

    1. I don't believe that I saw an single interesting-looking tractor on the whole trip. I suppose I didn't walk through an awful lot of farmland. We're off to Europe in a few days' time, where I'm optimistic that I can rectify the recent tractor drought.

      As for the 'don't they scrub up well?!' photo, don't we have to walk up a hill in the outfits to qualify for putting them on the blog?

  3. It wasn't until you mentioned 'Glenskinnan' that I realised I know where you are, having dismissed the map on spotting Banchory, "I've not been there." Doh.

    1. Did one of your TGO Challenges take you that way?

  4. 2016, I believe, Oban to Stonehaven 😊