DAY 5 – From Park to Park: The Cairngorms to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
Boosted by a great night’s sleep the team set off from the Loch Tay Highland Lodges and Glamping Park ready for a morning gravel cycle and an afternoon of city riding. Moving out of the Cairngorms, today’s route took us through beautiful mountains and waterfalls. Cycling west meant as we left the Cairngorms we would enter our next national park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. Just about covering two national parks in 24 hours!
World adventurer and friend of Pedal 4 Parks, Tim Milikin, joined the team for the first part of the day. Luckily for him he is a well-seasoned cyclist having cycled around the world from Reading to Reading! To hear more from Tim check out his book Reading to Reading and also listen to our Mind the Green Space Podcast with him!
As mentioned before, today was jam packed with beautiful sights to stop and take in, but we couldn’t stop for long as we had two exciting interviews to get to! The first interview stop was at the Glen FInglas Visitor Centre, where we met with Hamish Thomson from Woodland Trust Scotland. Kindly supplying our team with tea and coffee, the location was in the heart of the woodland, right next to Little Druim Woods in the Great Trossachs Forest. The Trossachs is filled with stunning scenery, wildlife, towns and villages, and hiking routes you could never possibly get bored of! If you are a fan of waterfalls, the Trossachs is definitely worth a visit – with beautiful waterfalls such as Inversnaid, the Falls of Falloch, Puck’s Glen, and the Falls of Edinample, you are never short of something spectacular around every corner! If the Trossachs seems a little overwhelming, a more isolated visit to the Inchcailloch island by Loch Lomond may be more suited to your needs – known for its tranquility and peace, the island brings something new with each season, and is also filled with history that holds great cultural significance and dates back to the early 8th century. Or, if you are anything like our eco-warriors after a long day of cycling, you can sit back and enjoy the Trossachs’ dark skies, with such little light pollution, it is possible to see thousands of stars, and even our own galaxy!
We spoke to Hamish about agroforestry in the local woodland area and how to find balance between farming and conserving local green spaces.
The second interview of the day was with Endura, an international cycling clothing brand based in Scotland. Endura have kindly sponsored the colourful kit you may have seen our eco-warriors wearing along the journey! As a clothing company, Jim McFarlane and Pamela Barclay are concerned about their impact on the environment. In our conversation they stressed the work they are doing to prolong the shelf-life of their products and understand how we can recycle clothes to prevent them going straight to landfill. Conscious of their impact, Endura have committed to planting 1.3 million trees internationally. Even more, Jim and Pamela have planted acres of trees on their own land, adding to their projection of being a carbon negative company by 2024. Businesses who are built with values of sustainability and who are conscious of their negative impacts are the ones who are more likely to find the solutions. Endura is one company who are invested in solving environmental exploitation in the fashion industry.
Aside from the interviews, the journey, as with most days, took us through numerous green spaces. Some of our favourite locations included, the Falls of Dochart, Loch Earn and the Endura mountain bike track! The latter may not have been an entirely natural green space, but Jim and Pamela offer the space to city kids who are in need of a day away from stress and the city. Our lucky support crew got to test out the track with Pamela and I think we could give the cycle team a run for their money!
As the day drew to an end, the cylists made their way into Glasgow. The city was the first urban city landscape the team had come across in a long time, and as you can imagine was a stark difference to the infinitely green highlands. Glasgow is working on becoming a National Park City, meaning there is an active desire and effort to increase the urban green spaces in the city. Such increases benefit the environment but will also be an essential area for locals who are severely limited in their access to green spaces. Also, Glasgow is the host city for the COP26 conference this year where our film will be making its premiere!
After another long day, the team settled down at the Strathclyde Country Park Caravan Site, ready to cycle back over the border into England!
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