Cycling from Bridge of Allan to Blackford


At the weekend I took the train from Edinburgh to Bridge of Allan and went for a cycle with a friend. We went from Bridge of Allan along the Sheriffmuir Road to Blackford, a small village along the A9. Here is an elevation profile and the R code I used to make it:

# Plotting elevation profile Bridge of Allan to Blackford
# Data from

# Packages

# Import data
route <- read.csv("route.csv")

# Make plot
ggplot(route, aes(x = distance_km, y = elevation_m)) +
	geom_area(fill = "#4BA8AD", alpha = 0.7) +
	geom_line() +
Elevation profile

The first part of the route is really steeply uphill, we had to get off a few times and walk until we got up to Cockburn’s Reservoir, then it flattened off quite a bit.

We got a load of geocaches along the way, about 14 I think in total, including one in the park in Bridge of Allan.

It was really interesting seeing the old larch trees up on the tops, which I guess are remenant of when there was a lot more forest on the hills, before grazing pressure increased, now there isn’t much regrowth and it looks like in about 50 years there might not be any trees at all on the tops, except for some areas where there is plantation forestry.

The raised bog had loads of mushrooms, especially in areas that had been recently disturbed by a tussock being pushed over, or a rut caused by a tire track.

Small mushroom

There were also lots of caterpillars, though I don’t know what species they were.

Hairy caterpillar

We got talking to a historian and amateur metal-detectorist who showed us some WWII bunkers that he reckoned had been used for testing different types of explosives on concrete, then had been repurposed as training grounds in later years.

Ruined concrete bunker
Moorland landscape