Now planning for our September trip from Aberdeen to Algoz, Algarve, I found this useful site by Helen and Roger, describing their journey from Roscoff to Santander.
Good detail with very useful maps of most stages. Here is their overview in their own words:
“Roscoff to Santander Cycle, Sept-Oct 2008 Our journey was from Roscoff in the North of Brittany to Santander in Northern Spain, along the West coast of France. Roscoff and Santander are both served by Brittany Ferries from Plymouth. As it was late in the year, we chose North to South. This delightful trip turned out to be more of a gourmet tour than a serious cycle, but we still averaged 70 miles a day. How else can you gorge yourself on delicious French cuisine and still lose weight? Before detailing the daily blog of the journey, first some background information:”
Well, it was bound to be a risk – Scotland in the Summer, but we decided to give it a go. The plan was to have 8 or 9 days, combining cycling with visits to see our kids in Glasgow and Edinburgh. We would use the train to get to Glasgow and Edinburgh, but cycle back to Aberdeen. On the ground things worked out a little differently.
On Thursday 4 August with tickets bought Aberdeen to Glasgow (economy numbers at £11.20 each including the bikes) we decided to get off in Stirling to allow some local site-seeing and an easy day’s cycle to Glasgow on the following day. First problem: our economy tickets do not allow us to get off in Stirling, a stop before Glasgow! However, an obliging Guard turns a blind eye and we have no problem at the exit barriers. Note to self – do not mention plan to leave train early to the guard! We arrive in a downpour of rain, but it abates after 10 minutes.
We take to site-seeing The Wallace Tower on a damp afternoon.
We stay at the Express by Holiday Inn, who are cycle friendly and allow us to keep our bikes in their (small, just big enough for two bikes) luggage room and we eat in Mr Singh’s Indian Village.
On Friday 5 August we take the A811 and Crow Road from Stirling to Glasgow via Kippen and Fintry in glorious sunshine. We face 3 climbs, but are up for them!
We plan to enter Glasgow along the Kelvin Cycleway, but an enforced detour takes us to the Forth-Clyde Canal instead. Following the route to our hotel near the SECC proves to be nigh on impossible, but we make it with some local knowledge thrown in. We stay at the Crown Plaza (much less expensive on a ‘deal’ than you might expect, but eat somewhere else – the Zen at the Rotunda is cheap and good and 400 yards away). Again, they are cycle friendly and have a good external room for the bikes to go overnight.
Saturday 6 August we take the train to Edinburgh to do Festival Fringing with Rachael – back in torrential rain.
Sunday we sight-see locally in Glasgow as the weather makes the planned loop to Loch Lomond just too daft to do. We eat at the Kirsch Inn with Liam and Katie – excellent!
Monday we are off again on our travels, with a trip to Port of Mentieth – in excellent weather and on a super route on small back roads most of the way. We ‘kinda’ find the Kelvin Cycleway to Milngarvie, but the the Garmin Edge 800 planned route takes over and works just a treat. We stay and eat at the Lake of Mentieth Hotel which is quite a treat.
Tuesday we decide to take on the Dukes Pass above Aberfoyle en route to Callander and back to Stirling. Again the sun shines on us and its a wonderful day. The Garmin again proves its worth keeping us on track all day along some really minor roads with no local signposting.
Thursday 11 August the weather turns agains us again with storm warnings for the next two days and with Lolly in hospital we decide to cut and run for home on the train to Aberdeen.
This is my favourite video at the moment. I cannot think of anything that captures the spirit of a cycle trip better. Beautiful scenery, bravery, guts, laughter, camaraderie, adventure, disaster, triumph – they are all there in this wonderfully shot and put together film. And I guess they were sponsored by Rapha: can’t complain – hats off to them for making this little gem of a film.