This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew had lots of fun on a stunning day out on a fab #tandem round the beautiful wilderness Loch Rannoch Rannoch & Tummel Tourist Association – with lunch at Rannoch Station Tearoom which is probably the remotest tearoom in Scotland.
Another epic day out started with an early 6am Sunday alarm and after breakfast the “old git” and “old gal” headed to the wilderness spot of Loch Rannoch in Highland Perthshire in Matilda Transport to clock up some miles pedalling in magnificent scenery in one of their favourite locations in Scotland.
And an added bonus is there is no wi-fi signal adding to the peaceful nature of the area – but the all-important Strava still works to record the effort!
You can check out the details of our tandem route by clicking on the Strava map below.
The drive to the village of Kinloch Rannoch was thru constant heavy drizzle and my dynamic crew were hopeful that the weather forecast would be correct – with the rain due to give way to sunshine by the back of 10am.
That didn’t happen quite on schedule, so to give the weather gods a bit more time to get back on track the “old gal” decided that it would be a great idea to visit the ultra bike friendly Riverbank Cafe for a relaxing strong coffee and a tasty fresh scone. The “old git” noticed some tandem and cycling themed coasters, and couldn’t resist a purchase!
By the time my dynamic crew emerged the thick clouds were starting to lift and there was even a hint of the sun breaking through. So a bit later than planned Team Matilda set off down the north side of Loch Rannoch on the B846 heading to Bridge of Gaur at the other end. There was a quick photo stop at the Kinloch Rannoch end just to breathe in the spellbinding beauty of the area.
It is an area Team Matilda know well and the route is mostly gently undulating – and given the absence of any noticeable wind it was a true joy to be out tandeming. It was certainly another glorious day to be out in tandem in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle Campaign, Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, and Love Perthshire area.
As the clouds continued to lift, the majesty of the perfectly conical shape of Schiehallion – one of Scotland’s most recognisable mountains – emerged from the mist, adding to the magical aura.
Another stop was made at the beach area near Bridge of Gaur to spot the 19th Century folly which almost seems to be floating in the water. It is actually situated on Eilean Nam Faoileag (Island of Gulls) which is an old crannog dating back to 1110AD. It originally had a larger surface area but this was reduced by the raising of the water level when the loch was damned for hydro electric generation.
At Bridge of Gaur we headed onto the steep and steady climb across the moor into the “middle of nowhere” on the scenic but secluded B846 to Rannoch Station – which must be the station with the best view in Scotland – for lunch at the amazing Rannoch Station Tearoom, which is situated bang in the middle of the active station platform on the West Highland line.
It is billed as “probably the remotest tearoom in Scotland” and is one of my dynamic crews favourites. Despite its unique rural location it was incredibly busy. The “old git” was happy that he had booked in advance as that meant Team Matilda had the luxury of sitting inside and avoiding the plagues of midges which were around. However they had already sprayed on their Smidge repellent which kept them bite free.
My dynamic crew enjoyed yummy toasties followed by a slice of the magnificent carrot cake – de rigueur for Team Matilda (and indeed many other tandem crews!) And all while watching the live theatre that is the natural wilderness of Rannoch Moor.
The tearoom felt very safe, keeping to Covid guidelines, and in a nice cycling related touch the hand sanitiser on the tables was made by Ineos, sponsors of one of the cycling team Ineos Grenadiers.
After the re-energising food it was time for a most enjoyable few miles downhill where my dynamic crew took a few photos at one with nature – starting with a photo of this “old lady” beside the roaring River Gaur, which flows into Loch Rannoch.
Next “natural” stop was a rock which looks like a big frog. Now Millport one of my dynamic crew’s other favourite spots for tandeming may have Croc Rock (a rock that looks and is painted like a crocodile) but Rannoch has Frog Rock!
We pedalled past the Gaur hydro electric power station, part of the Tummel Valley hydro scheme, currently owned by SSE Renewables.
Back at Bridge of Gaur we took the quieter B-class single track road back to Kinloch Rannoch which hugs the south side of the loch. This was a superb easy – and speedy – tandem – thru the magnificent scenery of the Black Wood of Rannoch – part of the ancient Caledonian Forest. You could almost feel the history of the area.
It certainly lives up to its Forestry and Land Scotland billing as “a living growing monument with some trees thought to be about 400 years old, and is home to a wonderful variety of plants and wildlife, including deer, pine martens and red squirrel.” It is little wonder that it is designated a Special Area of Conservation and the “old gal” and the “old git” felt privileged to be there.
Back at the top of the loch there is a super beach area just outside Kinloch Rannoch village and my dynamic crew doubled back there after completing their lap for their obligatory Team Matilda prosecco toast – which was a great way to celebrate the end of the ride.
The beach spot was halcyon – offering magnificent views down the full length of the loch to the mountains beyond – if only it had been about 10 degrees warmer!
After Matilda was packed away in Matilda Transport my dynamic crew enjoyed a superb dinner in the tranquil surroundings of the very hospitable and highly recommended The Inn at Loch Tummel.
The “old git” and “old gal” both had thought they would order one of their fabulous handmade burgers – but there were none left on the menu after a busy weekend. But the special – which was recommended by the magnificently friendly host and owner Jade – was Lobster Thermidor. Ok then, if you insist! Even the “old git” – who can be difficult to please – admitted that the “non burger” Lobster Thermidor was just ace! It was simply a divine meal!
With wi-fi restored at Strathtummel, the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worth of a perfectly acceptable 12 gongs – made up of six personal bests; three 2nd bests and three 3rd bests.
The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 33.7 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 14 minutes. The average speed was an impressive 15.0 mph – a new record average speed for Team Matilda. Elevation was 1,221 feet. The maximum speed was 32.9 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,851 calories and produce an average power output of 205 W.
With the usual helpings of madcap fun en route, it was another sensational day out on a bicycle made for two!
And a good test of my dynamic crew’s fitness for their upcoming Nutty Tandemers Club Tour of Suffolk with fellow founding members John Taylor and Jane Termini Taylor towards the end of September. Team Matilda can’t wait!