Thursday was again perfect for the weekly cycling club run. There are several runs each weekend too but somehow I’m often otherwise occupied on Saturday and Sunday; and there’s a slight additional buzz to the Thursday runs because the destination isn’t published in advance of the ride. This week our leader told us that we would be heading for the Treehouse Cafe and store in Midmar, via Dunecht. When we’ve gone there previously I’ve left the group at Dunecht and avoided the final slog over to Midmar, but this time I decided to give it a go, largely motivated by the prospect of eating my sandwich in company once we got there.
We rode out via Westhill and Kirkton of Skene, and then along the south side of Loch of Skene, one of my favourite roads. We turned north at Easter Echt Croft, then cut through the Skene estate on the back roads just below Craigiedarg. It’s a lovely and largely unspoilt piece of country.
After Dunecht we kept on the main road as far as Kinnernie, then rode through to Newton of Corsindae and thence to the main road, where we curved back to the Treehouse. It’s quite a long climb between Kinnernie and Corsindae, and I was struggling to keep up with the main group; fortunately I wasn’t the only straggler, and people are very patient. I know from my own experience that the folk in the front are only too happy to get a wee break while they wait fot the others to catch up!
We had a nice tea stop, with half of the group buying food and the remainder eating food brought along for the ride. It’s a decent layout there, with outside tables and plenty of space for the bikes.
On the return trip we rode that lovely fast downhill to Echt, then turned up onto the back road to Tillymannoch, another favourite of mine. A highlight of this section and indeed of the whole ride happened here, when a deer broke cover, dashed across the road ahead of us, and elegantly cleared the roadside fence in a huge and graceful leap. Wonderful.
We rejoined our outward route at Easter Echt Croft, and followed it back to the city, with only a small variation at Westholm, where we took the rough track that links to the road from Clinterty. I was curious to see if the Himalayan balsam that has colonised this stretch was coming up: it’s just showing itself now, and this would be an ideal time to suppress it. I suspect it will just be left to spread though.
In the countryside the barley is coming up fast too, and the verges are burgeoning with broom in full flower, and cow parsley. There is a sprinkling of speedwell too, and the willowherb are beginning to come through. I saw foxgloves in flower for the first time this year, at Corsindae.
A longish run for a Thursday, home an hour later than usual. 15 riders, 36.8 miles.