No pictures today. It was just too wet, and cold, to stop for that.
I left Elgin around nine and rode south along the same route I took yesterday, through Rothes and Dufftown. When I reached the junction at Glenlivet, though, I turned left instead of right.
A series of B roads ensued, winding through Cairngorms National Park, passing a ski hill, closed for the season. The sky was grey and the air was cool, and it was pretty much a certainty there would be rain on my ride down to Edinburgh. Eventually the B roads have way to the A93, which could itself fit Iain Banks’s definition of a “great wee road.” I followed it down to a small, pretty town in Aberdeenshire called Ballater, where I stopped to get gas. The station didn’t have a WC, which was becoming necessary, so I looked for a place to have coffee and maybe a bite to eat.
I found a great coffee shop attached to a hotel in a disused church and ordered an Americano and a cranberry, apricot & ginger scone. It was a damned fine coffee and the best scone I’ve had in a long time, served with butter and raspberry jam. I chatted with an older couple who had stopped in for tea.
It had rained while I was in the cafe, although the worst seemed to have passed. I got back on the A93, and all I can say is: what a spectacular motorcycling road, and what a gorgeous environment to place it in. Aberdeenshire is stunning. Stone houses crouched on rolling hillsides,. Green fields with boulders protruding at irregular intervals, and rocky streams burbling through them. Even in a pissing rain, it was beautiful.
And, yes, it had become a pissing rain. Rivulets of rainwater runneled down my visor, inside and out. The seal on this lid is all but useless in keeping the water out, while perfectly up to the task of keeping fog in. Note to self: always bring your own helmet.By the time I reached Braemar all pretence of waterproofing had been abandoned by the gear. I was cold and wet, and there seemed to be no end in sight to the weather, so I pressed on for Edinburgh.When I finally arrived, I was too early to check in to my hotel. I sat in the guest lounge alone, drinking a pint of what has become my regular beer in Scotland, Caledonia Best. When the room was ready, I brought in my things from the bike and had a shower to fend off hypothermia.Soon I’ll be heading out with Gillian and her friend Gavin to have dinner, likely some drinks, and to see a little of the city. I’ll see more of it tomorrow.