Comrie Croft - From the low country to the highlands and beyond - CycleBlaze

August 28, 2018

Comrie Croft

It was a late night in Edinburgh, followed by the train trip back to Falkirk and the walk from the station so we're in no hurry to start today.

Rik, the bike mechanic from Drumlanrig, has recommended a boutique mountain bike park, Comrie Croft, so that's today's destination. But first we need to see the Kelpies. We head back along the towpath though in the opposite direction to yesterday's ride . . .

...and here they are, magnificent beasties!
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Designed as a monument to Scotland's horse-powered history, The Kelpies (traditionally, shape-shifting water spirits) are 30 metres high and stand guard over a newish extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal. They can be seen from afar, which I guess was the sculptor's intention, but there is something splendid about walking around their circumference at ground level.

A canal view from near The Kelpies
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We farewell The Kelpies and drive an hour north to Comrie Croft. This is a boutique mountain bike park  built on a working farm - free range veges and eco camping sites are also on offer. After a satisfactory visit to the tearooms, we're ready to ride, but not together. Bruce is drawn to the red trail while I am firmly blue.

It's a long slog uphill on the access trail and at the top we separate to each have our own kind of fun. Swooping down Dark Side of the Blue and Cookie Monster on my own is truly exhilarating and seems to take forever. These trails are rooty and rocky, and require full concentration. It's surprising then that the whole ride takes only 45 minutes or so and covers just 4 kilometers. 

I'm not up to a second uphill - jelly legs at the top aren't conducive to the best downhill riding experience. Bruce professes himself more than satisfied with his riskier run so we call it quits for the day.

Comrie Croft produce store with my Liv in the foreground
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Nearby Comrie  has a signposted cycle trail looping around the village so an extra gentle 10km to finish off today seems a good idea. Ironically, he who owned the red (advanced) trails at Comrie Croft comes a cropper when his front wheel nose-dives into a ditch on a heavily overgrown path. There's a fair bit of blood where his glasses have cut his nose and things are a bit shaky for a while. But along come some lovely people, who live nearby and see the accident unfolding while walking their lovely labrador.

We accept their offer of tea and sympathy - or rather, tea and some basic first aid, and enjoy a good chat at their home. She is a local community councillor and is now determined to lobby council to put more effort and money into maintaining the trail .

Once again, serendipity comes into play. Just as Rik at Drumlanrig recommended Comrie Croft to us, these people tell us about the Loch Earn Railway path. Trip planning in a nutshell!

Knock Castle is tonight's destination - not too far down the road from Comrie once bikes are loaded back into the van.  Best described as having an atmosphere of faded grandeur, the castle offers B&B for $79. We splash out on dinner too, given that we are some way above the village of Knock.

Happy to celebrate surviving an eventful day with a formal dinner service in the grand dining room, we'll sleep well tonight.

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Today's ride: 4 km (2 miles)
Total: 221 km (137 miles)

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