Ballater to Bamff

Roadside drinking fountain.

We were off at 09:15, initially along the B road where I photographed this ornate drinking fountain, now of course out of use. These were a great Victorian idea but fell out of favour in our materialistic age since they cost money to maintain and were free to use, giving rise to the now deplored single use bottled water nonsense.

The B road joined the A93 at Balmoral where lots of visitors were parking their cars to see the queen’s estate. The main road wasn’t too busy and we stopped to photograph Braemar castle before a longer stop at the excellent Bothy cafe, arriving at 11:45 for some lovely cake and coffee. We bought food for the evening from the limited choice at the small Co-op.

From Braemar the Old Military Road initially runs across the river from the A93, a lovely quiet run until it crossed an old bridge from where its continuation now forms the A93. The gradient was initially level after which a gradual climb took us up Glen Shee to the ski centre at the top which caught the wind. We put our cagoules on to avoid getting chilled on the descent which was steeper than the climb. The road surface was poor in places so we had to moderate our speed as we admired the dramatic mountain scenery. Later the road became busier and bendier with a few impatient motorists passing too closely so we were pleased when the Alyth road took us away.

This was a delightful level lane with open views across the countryside. The last mile to the Bamff estate was along a rough rising track. Owner Paul sounded like Prince Charles “where have you bicycled from?” but is actually from a very old Scottish family. Bamff estate has been owned by the Ramsay family since the year 1232, when Neish Ramsay, a doctor, was given the lands of Bamff, Fyal, Kinkeadly and Ardormie, as a reward for saving the life of his patient, King Alexander II of Scotland. He is reputed to have removed a hairball from his stomach in an early successful operation.

There are two yurts in the grounds with a separate shared block containing a heated lounge, bathroom and kitchen. Cooking facilities were very basic, a two ring cooker with a small selection of cutlery and utensils. Luckily the couple in the other yurt ate out, they kept the fire in their yurt going all evening and night which surprised us though the weather had turned a lot cooler.

48 miles

Day ride from Bamff