BikeVermont Scotland Tour
Day 2
Monday, 25 June 2001

Day 2 begins by admiring the Auchterarder House lobby, then on the road to Ballathie House Hotel and our first full day of riding.
   First photo op is the crude monument marking the spot where poor Maggie Wall was burned as a witch in 1657. Nearby are a couple of timid sheep. And here we also find three happy bikers.
   Next we pause in Dunning for a few photos: schoolkids, a corner store (considerably quainter than our 7-11s), main street, and Thimble Row with two little boys riding their toy tractors.
   Then it's back to pedaling through the beautiful pastoral countryside. The day is warm and the sky clears to a bright blue with big fluffy clouds -- looks and feels a lot like Florida. Along the way we encounter some contented cows (not at all mad!) and an interesting intersection of several roads and a railroad. Immediately after we cross the tranquil River Earn, we encounter the first of three very steep hills. We make it up Hill #1 sitting on our bikes. However, Hill #2 defeats several of us, and we have to walk our bikes up the last half. The views from the top of Hill #2 are great, as promised. To the right is a grand entrance to a hilltop castle and estate. The view out over the River Earn valley is breathtaking.
   A straight, wide, and very fast downhill run followed by a screeching hard left and we're in the parking lot of Bell's Cherrystone Centre. There we take a few free "wee dram" samples of Bell's whiskey and look over the National Heather Collection. From past experience, BV knows it is not a good idea to allow a bunch of drunk cyclists to attempt to pedal through the busy city of Perth, so they load our bikes onto the vans and bus us to our next stop, Scone Palace.
   A colorful heraldic crest greets us at the gate to Scone Palace. Peacocks are strutting throughout the grounds. We find a giant Douglas fir, grown from seed sent from the Columbia River, USA, by David Douglas in 1826. We look over the various ruins and gardens at Scone Palace. A white peacock walks past a replica of the famous "Stone of Destiny."
   Back on our bikes, we resume our bucolic journey to Ballathie House. We pass by the home of a smithy and his colorful sign. The last photo op is the famous Meikleour Beech Hedge, the tallest hedge in the world, planted in 1745 by Jean Mercer Meikleour and her husband, who, shortly after, was killed fighting the English at Culloden. In another mile or two, we arrive at the Ballathie House Hotel on the River Tay.
   Total miles: 29.4