2010 Cycle Tour – Day 2

Distant Highlands - A lovely place to repair a wheel

Day two started with the usual aches and pains that you suffer at the start of a bike tour. With the sun trying to break through the early morning cloud we headed out onto the accident ridden B945. It didn’t take long before we reached the coast again at Tayport just as the sun cleared away the last few clouds in the sky. Fortunately there is a cycle path running alongside the B946 which avoided quite a narrow and busy road leading to the Tay Road Bridge.

View across the Firth of Tay

Bridge across the Firth of Tay

The ride north across the bridge to Dundee was short and a little disconcerting with the path sandwiched between two lanes of traffic. Having expected to take a ramp off the bridge we were greeted by a lift that was to take us to the ground floor. Tandem riders take note, I’m not sure that you will be able to fit your bike into the lift without performing some geometry defying acrobatics. Deposited out of the lift and into a building site a short ride brought us to the City Quay, home to the North Carr Lightship and the only remaining Scottish Lightship. A little city centre navigation and we were soon heading out of Dundee and back to the coast on our way to the very picturesque Broughty Ferry, complete with it’s own little castle.

Broughty Ferry

Once again, today was a day mostly spent following the NCN cycle route 1. Leaving Broughty Castle,the cycle path initially led us along a lovely stretch of golden sandy beach before running parallel with the coastal railway and military shooting range weaving its way to Carnoustie and on to East Haven. Approaching Carnoustie, a cruel sea mist had blown on shore, reducing the temperature and subsequently our enjoyment of this quiet part of the ride. In parts it reminded me of the horror film “The Fog”, though with less violence and more plaid & plus twos. As was to be expected, as we climbed away from the coast, the sea mist cleared leaving a specatularly sunny day.

Carnoustie – Plaid & Plus Two

Glorious pre-lunch rest stop

The map of todays route will appear quite odd. Rather than take a direct route north to Forfar and possibly further, the route took us along the coast to Arbroath. The method behind this madness was twofold. Firstly once past Forfar I had difficulty in locating suitable accommodation and hence, couldn’t quite make a more direct route fit with the overall holiday. Secondly by diverting through Arbroath we’d be able to savour a lunch of fish and chips at our last coastal stop before heading into the highlands. I’m a sucker for a good portion of fish and chips eaten by the sea so the additional distance seemed well worth covering. Once again, as we descended back towards the coast, the sun disappeared from our view and a cold mist descended. A little excursion through a field full of strawberries (I have no idea how we missed the sign) didn’t help, but before long we were cycling alongside the rather busy A92 on a dedicated path into Arbroath. I had visited Arbroath as a child with my family, so it was a shame to shatter those childhood memories with the rather bleak ride into the town through a pretty run down coastal resort area. Fortunately the harbour provided a very pleasant and welcoming location for us to stop and find food – a relatively simple task of looking for people with bags of chips being stalked by seagulls. It appears that even the chip shops are becoming eco-friendly as we were provided neither a fork or knife to consume our food!

A misty Arbroath harbour

With only 14 miles or so left to do for the day, I had hoped for a pleasant, sunny and warm long lunch at the harbour. The stay was certainly pleasant and long but unfortunately not warm or sunny. Indeed both Madeline and I attempted to lay on the benches to have a little rest only to be foiled by possible the worlds most uncomfortable seats.

Arbroath Harbour

Suitably rested we prepared to set off as the mist cleared and the sun joined us for the remainder of the day. The irony of this wasn’t lost on us, nor was the sun particularly welcome for the initial climb out of Arbroath. From this point on we we’re forging our own route away from the NCN cycle ways and initially we were offered a 4 mile gradual climb to the highest point of the day. It was during this climb that Madeline began to complain of a problem with her rear wheel. Apart from an unnatural rubbing and whining noise, the wheel had developed an alarming wobble – not good for an almost new wheel. At a convenient moment we pulled up and attempted to diagnose the problem. It didn’t take long to find many of the spokes in the rear wheel had lost their tension and had hence let the wheel run out of true. Normally I’d be happy fixing problems on the bikes but truing up a wheel is not something I had attempted before. Lets say that we did our best to fix the problem, or not make it any worse!

Distant Highlands – A lovely place to repair a wheel

The final 8 miles were pretty uneventful comprising a number of rolling undulations interspersed with a couple of short sharp climbs along almost deserted country lanes. Our venue for the evening was the Balmashanner Guest House on the outskirts of Forfar. Although it’s a mile or two outside Forfar, I cannot help but recommend it. An 18th century country home set in the middle of the countryside with spacious rooms and very gracious owners – absolutely perfect. On the recommendation of our hosts we walked into Forfar to grab food at the ‘Chapter & Verse’ bistro. The walk (all downhill) gave us a rare chance to really stretch our legs whilst the meal proved to be an excellent and filling choice. Forgoing the walk back up the hill to the B&B we took the option of a taxi – well worth the few pounds to get us home for the night and into a deep slumber ready to tackle day 3 – the start of our challenging days.

View from Balmashanner Guest House

Planned distance: 46 miles
Actual distance: 42.5 miles
Ascent:  1390 ft
Flickr: 2010 Cycle Tour Photo Set

Day 2 - Route

Day 2 – Route

Day 2 - Profile

Day 2 – Profile

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