Oh how the Scottish weather can change…
17 May 2013
Post a good night’s sleep I didn’t wake up until 8 o-clock, a new record; I must have been more tired than I thought and decided to take it easy today having not had a proper rest day for a while, still ended up doing 38 miles though.
I packed up and hit the road under grey skies, yesterday’s sunshine having vanished overnight, and with the cold north wind still persisting.
Headed up the coast through Boddam with it’s lighthouse. I’ve noticed that a lot of the houses in this neck of the woods are painted grey, or have faded to grey, and are pebble dashed. Not the best look when it’s a grey day with intermittent rain. Reckon they should go for more colourful appearances; would help with raising spirits anyway.
I rode on up to Perterhead, where I stopped for a couple of hot chocolates to get out of the cold wind for a bit, and a burger and chips for lunch. Riding along the cycle path I bumped into a couple of elderly lasses out for a stroll, nearly literally despite frantic bell ringing, who informed me when consulted that ‘Och no, this isn’t the usual weather for the time of year’ and ‘with this north wind they’ll be snow, you mark my words’. I half expected then to say ‘we’re all doomed’. As it was it started raining shortly afterwards, a cold rain that was to persist for the rest of the day, so limited photos with the and the wind.
Peterhead looks like a busy fishing port, with lots of unloading, maintenance, Fisherman’s missions etc. Good to see there’s still a fishing industry and hope they’re not suffering from fishing quotas etc, although have to say I’m a big supporter of limiting fishing, stocks need to recover and sustainable methods employed.
Moved on to St. Fergus, and detoured down to Scotstown beach to ensure I maintained contact wait the coast.
It was a tough ride up from Peterhead, into a headwind and trying to avoid the traffic on the A90 by taking country roads that wound about a lot, and which my map wasn’t accurate enough for. Post St. Fergus I headed out towards Rattray Head and past the RSPB reserve at the Loch of Strathbeg (I think), with the weather really closing in at this point.
Realising the weather was going to get worse when some hills I’d been seeing for a while in the distance just disappeared, I made haste for St. Combs with low cloud bringing yet more rain. St. Combs is an old fishing village, of which there are a lot in Aberdeenshire, however it wasn’t great sight seeing weather so I retreated to the Tufted Duck hotel for a hot drink. The barman obliged with decaf coffee accompanied by fudge; he must have taken pity on my bedraggled state, although I think the clientele thought I was either mad or eccentric to be out cycling in this weather, and in shorts. Have to say that shorts are the best idea in most weathers, they don’t get caught in chains, take less time to dry, legs don’t get that cold anyway and skin is mostly waterproof.
Re-energised I headed on through the drizzle and wind following a narrow coastal road, not on the map, past yet another golf course which had several groups of punters out despite the weather; mind you who am I to talk, out cycling in it. I reached Inverallochy, made my way through via the Shore Road to Cairnbuig and its harbour and Maggie’s Hoose. Noticed an old shipwreck blown up on the coastline.
Post a final stretch around Fraserburgh Bay I found the campsite I was aiming for, a cooperatively owned site with a friendly warden named Barbara who showed me around and found a sheltered spot for my tent. The campsite is right next to Young’s Fish Factory so is a little whiffy, but accommodating and with warm showers! No wifi but they hope to get that next year.
Showered and changed I headed into Fraserburgh, and found a good curry house, the B.Raj Tandoori. Actually it might have been the only curry house but it had won awards. I proceeded to consume their Friday night special involving a lot of chicken; pappadums plus spicy onion mix, mango chutney, 3 different types of chicken kebab plus beef kebab, half a tandoori chicken with rice and curry sauce, followed by ice cream. I didn’t think it too much, was mega hungry as usual. Lovely hosts too, with a fierce front of house lady (assuming wife of owner) who ran a tight ship, ensuring the waiters were doing what she wanted.
Post curry I headed to the Galleon, a pub I’d spotted on the way in, for a pint. Chatted to a few folks who were interested in my tour, before heading back to my tent. I’d only covered about 38 miles today but felt shattered. It was nice to get in my sleeping bag and listen to the waves crash against the nearby shore, and the rain lash down on my tent, which was still performing well and not leaking!
Hopefully the weather tomorrow will improve.