I have unfortunately not yet recovered from the evil infection — I am still not up to any sort of strenuous activity, but am also getting very berloody tired of being holed up indoors. I had itchy feet – but Tom had a plan. We would head off to the Highlands: he would do enough strenous activity for both of us, while I did some heavy-duty relaxing in pleasant surroundings. Tom had decided to cycle the Glen tae Ben — a 72 mile Audax cycle route around Loch Tay, which takes in some spectacular lochside and mountain scenery . . . along with some associated 20% inclines. On these permanent routes, the cyclist is issued with a brevet card which includes information controls, as well as spaces to get time/ date stamps from local shops and tea rooms, which prove that the participant has completed the full circuit. Tom particularly enjoys this business of getting his card stamped, as it means that a day’s riding is naturally punctuated with stops for cakes, tea, pies, pints, and other local fare.


We parked up in Glen Lyon. Tom got himself ready . . .

. . and then he was off.

While he was away, Bruce and I enjoyed some leisurely exploring of the lovely woods above the Bridge o’ Balgie.

We found glorious birch trees.

And beautiful views.

A while passed. It was a nice, sunny afternoon. Some knitting happened. I had a wee snooze. Bruce chewed up some sticks. The wanderer returned.

5 hours and twenty minutes in total, including stops for tea and cakes. All went smoothly, apart from a few minutes when he got caught up in the final stages of a middle distance triathlon, and thought he might have to get off his bike and run.

Further up the glen, we found a quiet spot behind the Tarmachan ridge. The heather is turning, and the hills are starting to put on their Autumn hues.

It’s good to be outside again.

50 thoughts on “Glen tae Ben

  1. What a gorgeous sounding day and beautiful photos. Sad for your lingering evil infection though but glad the wazz wagon means that trip to beautiful scenery mean you can recuperate in lovely and comfy surroundings.

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  2. I can’t say enough about this post. Though it was under very unfortunate circumstances, it was *well* worth waiting for! This post to me, show off your greatest talent as a photographer. The first photo completely knocked me out of my chair. That ‘coo’ with it’s horns all Whichway, and then the other photos just continued to prove that you girl, you *really* know how to go out for a good time ! Oh boy, and then, as a Used-to-Be cyclist, I had never known about this very nifty Brevet Card. Wow, you Brits really know how to do a ride !!! I call this the perfect meeting of agendas, where neither compromised, but each provided maximumly rich opportunity for each other, including Bruce. I’m as usual, charmed from simple pleasures of the life that you and Tom lead. Thank you for sharing it all with us, and that makes Us very lucky readers.

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  3. Glad you escaped to our beautiful part of the world. (Your man is one in a million, but I guess you know that.) I hope it helps you to feel like your August hasn’t been a *complete* write-off: I’m guessing that tonsillitis will have knocked you back in all sorts of ways that you’re not mentioning, and it must have been a crappy month for you. For what it’s worth, I reckon that you get more done when you’re feeling shit than I get done when I’m feeling fine! (Knitting, writing, travelling, thinking etc etc.) Here’s to the coming crisp autumn days and renewed energy.

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  4. I feel the same way about getting on the water that you feel about the outdoors and highlands. I can feel my body relaxing, my shoulders lowering to their proper position and my blood pressure lowering. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. My husband is an Audax cyclist, too, and presently doing a ride about 10 times the length of Tom’s. I imagine the smile on his face when he finishes will be even bigger than Tom’s. You do live in a beautiful country, thank you so much for sharing it with us. And may your evil infection soon have gone, like the autumn leaves.

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  6. I agree with the commenters who feel you should be getting some sort of commission from the Scottish Tourism Board. I want to go on that bike ride NOW! Many thanks for taking us along.

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  7. Very nice. I’ve done something similar to that bike passport, here in NYC, to get myself moving after recent surgeries: Set sights on particular coffee shop. Plan route involving Very Important Errands that end near said coffee shop. Proceed, knowing that however challenging the way, a lovely perfect cappuccino awaits…and maybe a cookie as well.

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  8. So beautiful. We spent only a short time in the Highlands during our early spring UK visit… next time, the Highlands is the only place I want to visit!!

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  9. Glen Lyon is sometimes described as the most beautiful place in Scotland and I think it is up there with the best.
    Fabulous photos, Kate. I hope your outing has helped your recovery.

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  10. Hello;
    I found your blog just recently and have treated myself to reading the back “pages” over the past few days. I’ve a large dog myself (who wears the same sad face when being washed) – so funny. Take care, hope you kick that infection soon. It sounds as though you had a lovely walk at least.

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  11. Such beautiful scenery and such lush vegetation. Myself and my partner are off to the highlands of iceland tomorrow where we are promised no such lushness, but still spectacular scenery all the same.
    Sometimes your photos of your trips around Scotland and even when you were in my native Ireland, they remind me so much of various spots in my new homeland.
    Well done to done to Tom, sounds like an enjoyable excursion.

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  12. How beautiful! Your photographs are wonderful. I also desire a print of the photo at the top. :) And of course good job, Tom! Stephanie

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  13. Everything there looks so beautiful. Thank you for sharing, I love it! It’s good to hear you are outside again. I once had to spend 6 weeks on our couch recuperating from a Cesarian section (they are a bear, and no one tells you that ahead of time). The first thing I did when I could get outside was split wood. (Not recommended btw :)

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  14. Have you ever thought of selling prints of your photography? Because I would LOVE a print of that one at the top with the coos…!!!

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  15. A vital addition to Tom’s bike for the next ride, is a (wicker) basket so that he can bring you samples of the fine food and drink he consumed on his) ?? Getting outside does the soul wonders even without that though, glad to see you enjoying it!

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  16. That first photo in the woods – with Bruce running down the path – looks like something from a fairy tale. I love it.

    Congrats on the bike run, Tom!

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  17. Looking at it squew-wise, if you hadn’t been poorly and feeling bloody, you probably wouldn’t have seen such beautiful sights! Thanks for sharing even while you’re not well, your blogs are an absolute inspiration.

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  18. Really enjoyed this post as I am in the highlands this week and your description/ pics say it all. The tea and cakes or an odd scone are fabulous too. What a great way for you to recuperate…soothes the soul up here..and a wee bit knitting too. Get well soonest. Well done Tom riding on these wee roads…we are having enough trouble in a car.

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  19. I think I have made just about every excuse to stop at a tea room – except the one that I’m on an official bike ride and I need to get my card stamped LOL!! How wonderful! As usual – fabulous photos, wonderful story, adorable Bruce. Take care of yourself, these things take time!

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