Perth to Blair Atholl:61km
It was a sunny morning as we left Perth (and our wonderful B&B, The Townhouse), but the temperature felt close to zero. The NCN 77 took us on a good trail for about 10 km beside the River Tay. A bike path then ran alongside the A9 until we got to Dunkeld. We realized that we had just past Birnam, famous for its wood (Macbeth). A stop at Palmerstons cafe provided good espresso and award-winning jams, which Lois enjoyed with her rock cake. Dunkeld is where Beatrix Potter wrote “The Tales of Peter Rabbit”.
Taking the advice of a local, we avoided a detour on Route 77 through the extensive grounds of a Hilton Hotel, and followed a shorter B road instead, which turned out to be an alternative NCN Route #88. The road took us high above the Tay and the main road, then dropped down, crossed the river, and included several Cornwall-like steep ascents and descents before Pitlochry. This is a tourist town and being May long weekend, the caravan park was full despite definitely unseasonable weather.
After lunch, we met the River Garry south of Pitlochry and then joined the River Tilt into Blair Atholl. Although we arrived mid-afternoon, we were too late to view the castle and we walked in a blustery and cold wind to the Atholl Arms for a beer (Moulin) and dinner. On our return to the B&B, the radiator in our room had not heated up very much and we were provided with an electric heater. Uncharacteristically, the owner decided the keep the central heating on all night. We are finding the practice of switching on the heat for a couple of hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening a challenge in this particular weather!