We expected our last month in Scotland to be both beautiful and tough: Beautiful, thanks to a national cycle route that would take us along coastal biking paths and through granite fishing villages. Tough, due to the probability that, sooner or later, we’d encounter the same harsh elements responsible for creating the country’s verdant grass and crooked coastline trees.
What we didn’t anticipate -being Scotland- was that an Indian summer was set to linger high above the North East bringing with it a welcome spell of settled conditions. The weather, it seemed, was on our side..
Sweeping north from Fife we crossed the Forth of Tay into Angus whereupon the younger members of our tour party applied the brakes at every single playground in between! Reaching Aberdeenshire two weeks ahead of schedule brought about an enjoyable five day rest at a superb little campsite in St. Cyrus, profiting from the use of a campsite kitchen, lounge and T.V room!
Returning back to civilisation highlighted the ease at which we slipped back into an existence of comfort and convenience: the use of reclining chairs; electric kettles; the advantage of flushing toilets -compared to striding across forest floors armed with only a folding shovel and bog roll; the benefits of light bulbs, clean socks, a washing machine, solid roof. Amongst these luxuries we mused at how quickly we took for granted everyday items despite not having lived with them for the better part of a year…
Rolling north, we followed Aberdeenshire’s narrow inland lanes through to Stonehaven (home of Robert William Thomson, inventor of the pneumatic tyre -please accept our offer of a big posthumous “cheers mate”, we couldn’t have made this trip without you), before arriving to the outskirts of Aberdeen.
Meeting great people along the way has been a memorable souvenir of our journey and over the following days we caught up with two wonderful families from our time at Ballater. Surreal it was to be back in the land of familiarity, mixing with folk we knew especially after travelling for so long over unknown roads as well as meeting people we’re unlikely to ever see again but who have left a lasting impression on us.
As always, thanks to everyone’s support and encouragement along the way. Thanks to our pit crew, and on this occasion thanks to Clan Morrison and Clan Carroll – you guys inspire us!
And so it was that our last two nights were spent on the Old Deeside Railway where we’d made our initial pre-trip shakedown a year before.
Eight months after setting off from our most southerly point in Morocco we finally arrived to Ballater in the Cairngorm National Park – 5637 kilometres and five countries later- once again humbled by the wonderful people that we’ve not only had the good fortune of meeting on this trip, but also in life…
It was great to reach Ballater Caravan Park!.. and what more can I say!
Thanks everyone =)