At five o'clock sharp another start was made. We had some difficulty in finding our way out of the town, but eventually we got safely on to the high road, and all was well.
For the first few miles the scenery was decidedly plain, but after Bankfoot is passed (8 ¾ miles) it improves and a little distance before Dunkeld is reached it becomes splendid. Birnam Hill and Wood, immortalized by Shakespere in his "Macbeth," looked charming, notwithstanding the rain that was now falling. The clouds drifting around the hill and wood brought up thoughts of the three weird sisters and their magic pot. A native informed me that the spot where Macbeth was supposed to have met them was close by.
At Dunkeld (14 ¾ miles) we had breakfast. There was no time to spare for drying wet clothes; we were getting more interested in the walk and did not want to jeopardize the time by long rests. A good story was heard here about a certain record-breaker and his food, but we must not repeat it.
At Ballinlugg the sun came out. The morning rain had refreshed the landscape. Another five miles and Pitlochry was reached, Here we saw a man in kilts for the first time since starting on the walk. He was not a good physical specimen. He ought to have worn trousers. Why, ah, why, do men with spindle shanks wear kilts or knickerbockers?
Mounted stags heads, marked at two guineas each, were displayed in front of a shop, presumably for men of a sporting turn of mind, to carry home as trophies of the chase!
From Pitlochry to Blair Athol the scenery defies description—it has to been seen to be understood. The pretty waterfalls and glens hereabouts, comprise the finest scenery I have ever witnessed.
We had left our English cyclist in Dunkeld, having his machine repaired. He came on by train and so missed this scenery.
The Pass of Killiecrankie brought back memories of stirring times, when manly power was reckoned by strength of muscle and will. Today we do things rather differently, but perhaps not much better, when we take money as a standard of worth. Power is often a question of craft and greed.
We had been advised to go to the Tilt Hotel, Blair Athol, for dinner, and thither we repaired. By this time we were all together again, the three attendants and myself.
The damaged cycle had been put right, and my friend met us about half-a-mile before Blair Athole was reached.
The dinner, like the scenery, was splendid. The host spared no pains to do his best for us, and provided a varied and nutritious meal, and when we left he refused to take any money, preferring to make us a present of it in conside1ation of the handsome way we were beating the record.
A guide-book was consulted for information regarding Dalwhinnie. This place was described as a bleak, desolate spot, protected by a few fir trees: a not very cheering piece of news after the fine scenery of the morning.
Leaving Blair Athol, we commenced crossing The Grampian Mountains.
As we ascended, the landscape became more bleak and bare, so that by the time we had put 40 miles for the day behind our backs, about the only redeeming feature was the river Garry, along the banks of which the road and railway run for miles.
In many places the river runs down pretty waterfalls or rapids.
I was now left one cyclist only. Where the other one had gone to we knew not. The last time we saw him, we remembered noticing his rigorous efforts to inflate a tire, and so we concluded that he was troubled with a puncture. The unfortunate part was, he had our knapsack with him containing, amongst other things, the emergency rations.
When we heard at Dalnacardock, a village of one or two houses, that there was no ac commodation for food until Dalwhinnie was reached, we were sorely troubled. This meant that I should be obliged to walk 23 ½ miles between my dinner and tea, a rather risky proceeding, to go so far, considering the tremendous daily distances we were covering.
The road had now become very rough and rather steep. In places it was overgrown w1th grass, and we were 1.ooo feet above sea level. The bracing air had a most invigorating effect upon me, which also means that I was getting hungry. About three miles later my single attendant left me to try to get a meal. He was instructed to go to the first house he saw, and place our difficulty before whoever opened to him, then I felt certain he would obtain all that was necessary.
Scarcely had he left me when I saw someone wildly gesticulating from the window of a railway carriage in a passing train. It was our friend the advance man. He also had emergency rations with him in the portmanteau.
When my cyclist saw the train, about 1 ½ miles further on, he made a dash for Dalnaspidal railway station, and fetched our friend out of the train with the bag.
It was the work of a very few minutes to go to the adjoining house, place our needs before the good lady, and her kindly daughter. A meal was hastily prepared, and by the time I arrived it was nearly ready.
Here my one dietetic weakness had full play. The daughter of the house very generously toasted bread and buttered it as fast as I could consume it.
I felt at home with quite a large family of children of varying ages seated about. When, all too soon, the time for departure came, we were sorry to leave. With a last look at Loch Garry from the window of the house, we left after a stay of about an hour.
A quarter of an hour later the highest part of the road across the Grampians was reached and six miles yet remained to be covered before the day's work was ended.
Our cyclist pushed on as well as he could over the rough road, to make our accommodation for the night certain. He had two spills, besides being nearly run down by a motor car without a light.
The cyclist we had left behind had not shown up yet, and we were feeling a little anxious about him.
The friend with the portmanteau and myself stumbled and walked along in the darkness as well as the looseness of the roads would allow, my feet suffering somewhat in the process. At 9.5 p.m. the Loch Erith Hotel, Dalwhinnie was reached, and another day accounted for.
We were all comfortably seated at the supper table when a scared face looked in at the window. It was our Scotch cyclist. His machine had broken down and he had been obliged to walk the whole distance since we last saw him.
We all felt relieved when he came in, none the worse for his experience.
Dr. Deighton had stayed here a night. He had taken three days to walk from Glasgow—I had covered the distance in two.