Day 21 – Monday 13th April

  • 60 minutes plus 5 minutes’ cooldown level 9 (bike 1)
  • Max heart rate = 162 bpm
  • Calories = 598 (total so far 6442)
  • Distance covered = 22.08
  • Total distance so far = 223.08

I was first in the gym today so I opted for bike 1 and pushed the level up to 9 – and completed 20.32 miles. This is an amazing 2.83 miles further than I did on my first long ride and with 598 calories used, I reckon I can tuck into another hot cross bun!

We are now in a bit of a remote section with very few towns, so I thought some country music would fit in well here.  The delightful Shania Twain kept my spirits up – and a good shout of ‘Let’s go girls’ certainly did the trick.

Today I make it almost to Calvine on the road towards my next stop at Pitlochry. The road here hugs close to the beautiful River Garry and Loch Garry – very popular for fishing and walking.

I was lucky enough to visit this area in a much less energetic way in 2014. We hired two beautiful vintage cars from Caledonian Classics http://www.caledonianclassics.co.uk/

And did a Scottish circular route. We were on our way back when we stopped off and stayed at The Pitlochry Pines Hotel. Evidently the brownies were a hit as friend Laurie took a picture of them!

We loved our yellow E type but sadly had to return it at the end of the trip.


Day 22 – Tuesday 14th April

  • 20 minutes plus 5 minutes’ cooldown level 14 (bike 1)
  • Flat bench and abs
  • Max heart rate = 162bpm
  • Calories = 248, total so far = 6690
  • Distance covered = 7.42 miles
  • Total distance so far = 230.50

An unusual day where cycling had to take a back seat to the business of Rowan. Normally, I work out in the morning but that time was spent with Des (Rowan’s Director of Operations) telephoning staff to discuss the tough decisions we have had to make in order that Rowan has a chance of emerging from the current situation. Sadly, all staff are now either furloughed or working reduced hours – though we are still keen to provide contact to as many of our Student Artists as possible.

This was one of the hardest tasks I have ever undertaken since I became Chair of the Board of Trustees and much harder, of course, for our committed staff: Rowan is a big family and each member of staff plays a vital role in that team.  But to survive the pandemic and continue supporting our Student Artists is a real challenge given our drastically reduced income so, like many others we have had to make tough calls for the long-term benefit of all. 

After each phone conversation, I reminded myself that however hard the current situation is for me and the staff, lockdown is so much harder for all our vulnerable Student Artists.

Building on my increased strength and stamina, I tried pushing bike 1 up to level 14 today and almost made it to my record distance on a ‘short’ cycle day.  One of our readers, Julia, sent in a fantastic – and eclectic playlist.  I really appreciate all the suggestions and it’s great to listen to some forgotten favourites as well as discover new artists and songs – keep them coming! Today I had to smile at Hues Corporation– Rock the Boat (bike!), Billy Swann – I Can Help (yes you can, please donate!) and finally Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over (but don’t we all wish it was!).

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Continuing on south on the A9, I can join the old road (B8079) for a while to enjoy the beauty of the  Pass of Killiecrankie which lies about midway between Pitlochry and Blair Atholl. A little under a mile and a half long, it’s a narrow, steep sided glen cut by the River Garry through the surrounding high ground. Throughout history this has been the main route between the Highlands and the Lowlands and the site of The Battle of Killiecrankie on 27 July 1689. The A9 has now been rerouted to higher ground but the old road and the railway line still run through the pass. Plenty of beautiful walking here (Killiecrankie apparently means either Aspen Wood or Place of the Woodpecker – both sound delightful). The stunning scenery and walking country are well worth the detour. 

And as I reach my destination for today, The Killiecrankie Hotel provides the perfect end to a hard day’s cycling and if you can’t get enough castles, there’s even another fairytale castle at Blair Atholl.

Clearly the area is particularly stunning in the autumn, but today I’m pleased to see the beautiful progress of spring on the chestnut tree outside the gym window.

We hope you can join us again next week for the next instalment. See how far Rosalind has come in the last week below – from Aviemore to Pitlochry including National Cycle Route 7.

Have you been enjoying reading Rosalind’s journey? We have now setup a fundraising page so you can donate and help her raise vital funds for Rowan. 100% of your donation will go towards Rowan and help us to deliver much needed support to our students, their families/carers, and our volunteers/support workers.