dundee

The Transit of Plague City

Since Perth, where I wrote the last post, it’s been one haar after another. Every morning up to yesterday (Wednesday), things started dark, damp and foggy. And every day, things perked up in the afternoon. The weather forecast dummied me into another rest day in Montrose, with talk of rain which didn’t come. And then the supposedly fine day afterwards turned out wetter than the wet day. At least I do now know the proper name for Scotch Mist…

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Scotland feels more bike friendly in general than England. Although the road surfaces (in towns, especially) can be very poor in places, pretty much every single town now has decent bike routes in and out. And there are loads of converted railway lines and officially-designated ‘Cycling Friendly Roads’, which show how different the attitude seems to be up here. Some of these routes include chainsaw carvings by the roadside. Though I don’t actually know if this is anything to do with the cycle routes.

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I’ve felt the need to make some long-ish miles when I have ridden. There’s always a good chance that a major storm could shut you down for a few days. So as I zipped through Dundee on another lovely riverside cycle path on Sunday, I just had time to grab a couple of pictures of the Tay Bridge (above), and the ship Discovery (below), which was used on Captain Scott’s first Antarctic expedition.

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I made it to Montrose that evening, and was conned by the weather forecast into taking the next day off. This gave me the chance to figure out how to deal with Aberdeen, which is still under ‘local lockdown’ due to Covid-19. Luckily, after reading the regulations, it turned out that, while going in and out of the city is not really allowed, ‘transiting’ the city is fine.

Apparently, Covid transmission all depends on whether you intend to stay in a place or not. Still, it meant that I was OK to shoot straight through the city without breaching any regulations.

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The next morning (Tuesday), the haar was back. The fog is probably a decent metaphor for some of the whys and wherefores of Covid regs, but for me, it was just getting a little old, and feeling a wee bit sketchy as vehicles came flying out of it at slightly alarming speeds.

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Still, a slight cross-tail breeze was pushing me up the coast at a decent rate, and meant that I managed to hop across the Covid zone of Aberdeen city in less than an hour, with only two stops for traffic lights, and one for a photo (above). And then it was on up the coast, on flattish roads, to the fishing port of Peterhead.

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Peterhead marks the easternmost point in Scotland, which meant that yesterday’s (Wednesday) ride could only really go in one direction; mainly west. Thankfully, once again, there was yet another nice railway trail out of town, heading pretty much due west for nearly 15 miles. Which was a great start to the ride.

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And, as I hit the coast again, there was plenty more cycle infrastructure to play on, including the seaside viaducts at Cullen (above). Although long, the day turned out to be really fun, with a mix of gravel and tarmac, beautiful seaside views, and a gentle sea breeze nudging me forwards.

I finished up in Elgin. Again, rolling into town on a nearly new, smoothly surfaced, flat bike track by the river. A track which drops you off directly in front of the town’s impressive ruined cathedral.

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The storm rolled in last night. As usual, the weather forecast has been sounding semi-apocalyptic. I don’t know what it’s doing further south, but the initial band of rain has blown through here, leaving beautiful sunshine behind this morning.

So I’ll be pedalling off again shortly. I should be rejoining my 2015 route for a bit in the next few days, before I head off to the west coast after I hit John O’Groats. Assuming no more hold ups from either the weather or the plague…