This 100km event started from Forfar Leisure Centre, on Tuesday 20th March. I was up at 5.45am to ensure sufficient time for a decent breakfast and the trip to Forfar. The run up from Kirkintilloch was clear until the Kingsway around Dundee, which was relatively free-flowing, allowing me to arrive in Forfar just before 8.30am (plenty of time to prepare for the ride).
We started at 9am in dry weather with a stiff breeze blowing from the west. Taking a right out of the centre onto the A926 the course proceeded to a set of traffic lights. Here a right turn took us to the Glamis Road (A94), past Douglas Town and on to Glamis itself (home of the Angus Folk museum). Just west of the town the route took a left onto an unclassified road (signposted Newtyle). This stretch set the scene for much of the ride: quiet country lanes with good surfaces (how I wish we had more of these in the West of Scotland).
The run into Newtyle was made harder than it should have been, by the fresh westerly breeze. This was partly overcome by “wheelhanging” whoever was in front of me. At Newtyle the route crossed the B954, after which a sharp left took up a short climb past Kilpurnie Castle to Hill of Keillor. Contouring along the Newtyle and Keillor hills, in a westerly direction, with Drumsuldry Wood on the left, it was time to admire the magnificent view of the river Isla to the North.
At sixteen and a half miles we crossed the A923 turning next left (at seventeen and half miles). The route then climbed past the Crow Wood on Northballo Hill, and it was here that I dropped off the back of the bunch. I caught up again on the descent to the junction with the B953 as the group stopped at the first Information Control. Right took the course onto the B953 with a climb to Tulloch Ard past King’s Seat and Blackhill. Once again I was struggling with the climb into the wind and rapidly lost sight of the other participants. Relief was at hand as the descent began past Dunsinane Hill, upon which there is supposed to be an ancient fort (is this the Dusinane of Macbeth fame?). It was an easy hurl down to the A94 at Balbeggie where a left turn took me to Perth Airport and refreshment in the Touch Down Cafe.
After getting my card signed, a mug of tea and a plate of lentil soup it was time to push on to the next stage of the event. Right out of the Airport on the A94 took the route to Scone where we turned right towards Old Scone. Here a right and then left took us on to a unclassfied road to Stormontfield.
Another information control was located at the church from where we continued to the A93. This section was again a pleasure to ride with views of open fields and woodland.
The route turned right onto the A93 and proceeded for another four miles before turning right towards Woodside. A mile or so before turning right there was a stunning view of the old railway viaduct crossing the river Tay. I wish now I had stopped to take a photograph but I had just caught up with one of the group. About a mile and a half after turning right the road carried straight on, past a cemetery located a fair distance from any habitation. The route continued onto the out skirts of Coupar Angus where it filtered through the back streets, past the Primary School (where we received a cheerful wave), finally to emerge at a crossroad over the A94. Shortly after crossing the main road it was necessary to take a right turn towards Ardler and another information control. A further two miles on the final control in the Kinloch Arms Hotel at Meigle was reached.
After tea and biscuits it was onto the final section accompanied by one of the local riders. With the wind behind us we set of a fair pace up the A94 for less than half a mile, turning right we immediately forked right (sign posted Kirriemuir). Once again it was open countryside which was a joy to behold. After about six miles we crossed the A928 continuing on an unclassified road to a T junction where we took a left towards the A926. Just before the A926 we turned right on to another back road towards the A94. At this stage the wind had gained considerable strength and was blowing up a sensational dust storm from newly ploughed fields.
At the A94 we turned left to retrace our early morning route back to the Forfar Leisure Centre and a well-earned tea and CREAM SCONES.
Thanks to Pat and Ron Harrow and Angus CTC for a good day on the Bike. Well worth the effort of travelling up from Glasgow.