Tentsmuir forest

Nice and easy, uneventful ride today. St Andrews to Tentsmuir forest, study there for a bit, then head home. Simples. Well, until I actually got out of town.

I woke up to glorious sunshine and very little wind. As soon as I was out of St Andrews though, the wind was insane. I could feel it pushing against my bike. Some flats felt like going uphill when heading into the wind and at one point on the way home I was actually slowed by the wind while going downhill! But it’s just wind, that’s good for training. Resistance. Won’t get much worse.

I expected bad traffic today. It’s Saturday morning and it’s St Andrews (think golf course and university). But as soon as I hit the main road out of town, I realised something was definitely happening. There were cones everywhere, police directing traffic, and the roads were filled with cars and buses packed with tourists. I had no idea that the Leuchars Airshow was taking place today. Oops. And where did my planned route take me? Right through Leuchars, right by the entrance to the air base, and then out of town.

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The traffic there was chaos, I got held up a few times, and I ended up dodging people as much as vehicles. On the plus side, I got a pretty good view of the show! As I was cycling and taking in the scenery, low-flying jets would pass above me in formation. There was a helicopter constantly in flight the whole time I was out. It got quite close to me a few times, and each time I looked behind me expecting to see a car approaching.

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After 40 minutes I had reached my destination. Tentsmuir forest is beautiful, filled with great wildlife and things to do including horse riding and flinging yourself around dirt tracks for BMX cyclists.

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It’s a great spot for walking, cycling, BBQs, and features a variety of environments. Follow the tracks into the forest and you’re treated to some fantastic scenery…

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But venture through the trees…

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And you can leave the forest entirely…

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And everything then becomes a bit more barren for a while, except for the sound of crickets…

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Then things change again. So you get a choice. Beautiful forest, or awesome and relatively quiet beach?

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If you head a bit further up the beach from where I was, you might bump into the beach’s most popular inhabitants. I didn’t have time to go further along today, but these are some photos taken at Tentsmuir:

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When I was ready I headed back home, through more wind and traffic. It was a nice ride though and I’m glad to be getting out and about in the local area. Most of the cycling I’ve been doing lately has been in Perthshire and a little in London, so I’m still learning the best routes around The Bubble. Not counting the stop at the beach to read, travel time was 1 hour and 24 minutes to go 20 miles. Slower than my best, but I wasn’t on a road bike and I did have the wind, buses, and soldiers to contend with. I intend to cycle much further in the coming weeks, but I will visit Tentsmuir again if I’m wanting another 20 mile journey, just for the scenery.

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One thought on “Tentsmuir forest”

  1. petuniasean says:

    Peter, you’ve just made me want to go to Tentsmuir! It’s crazy that I’ve never heard of it in 3/4 years of living here. It looks like the place of my dreams- I just love it where you get a woodland and the beach nextdoor to each other. What’s more, it must have made it really worth getting through all the crowds for the airshow, just to get to some open air yourself! This verse from Byron comes to mind (Also features in the film, ‘Into the Wild’- have you seen it?)

    THERE is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
    There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
    There is society, where none intrudes,
    By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
    I love not man the less, but Nature more,
    From these our interviews, in which I steal
    From all I may be, or have been before,
    To mingle with the Universe, and feel
    What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

    (from Childe Harold)

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