Bonnie Scotland ????????????????????????????

Posted by on 22, May 2021 in 2021 - Ipswich to Scotland, Tilly the Tandem, UK

Bonnie Scotland ????????????????????????????

We crossed into Scotland having had yet another white van man moment where they come within a few inches of you as they hadn’t noticed the car coming the other way and then can’t slow down in time so squeeze past.

The day was grey, the temperature lovely for early December and the wind its usual headwind. I swear if we go around roundabouts it remains a headwind and it doesn’t matter which way we turn there’s no respite.

But we crossed the Scottish border and a passing Spanish cyclist hopped off her Bike and kindly took a photo of us at the future Customs control point ????.

And miracle of miracles the wind changed and decided to give us a hand and this as we approached the Scottish Himalayas! The climb up to the top at 284m was actually quite easy and we sailed up assisted by the wind and a long very gentle gradient. I wish all hills were that gentle! The ride down was a brake melting descent and we hurtled down at around 35kph for quite a few kilometers eventually hopping off for a quick check of the map when we were confronted by a ‘Road Closed’ sign at the start of the more precipitous second half of the descent. We didnt want to find we had to cycle back up that hill!

The map laughed in our faces and said our only option was the A1. Really, there were no other roads. Not liking that idea much we waited for a car to come up the closed road and asked him whether we would get past the closure. “Oooo eye” was the response in a very broad accent.

It’s odd how the moment your cross the border the accents changed from unintelligible northern English to unintelligible Scottish English. We really could do with a translation service sometimes the accents have been that strong.

Anyway, back to The Hill and we rolled off again, brakes on and as the hill became steeper and steeper I had both brakes on full pelt and Tilly was suggesting that if the Hill got steeper we may not stop before we ended up in the sea, so we hopped off and walked down the hill. Never had to do that before! And boy did Tillys brakes smell!!

At the bottom there was the closure sign in front of a 2cm deep ford. Bizzare. But we found a wall with a sea view next to the obligatory caravan site in the cove and plonked ourselves down in the rain for a picnic. Now we are in Scotland this seems perfectly normal behaviour, none of that we need sunshine for a picnic you get with those southern softies from England… ????

Refreshed we cycled up the other side and passed some wonderful scenery of Nuclear power plants and industrial complexes and the rain became torrential. We arrived at our b&B (In Scotland hotels and B&B’s are now open) to be greeted by the kindly owner who’s accent was so broad we didn’t understand a word he said. I’m thinking I understand more in Holland than I do here, but to be fair the howling gale, rain and masks didn’t help.

We nipped out to a pub for dinner breaking the umbrella in the wind and having our first meal in a restaurant in what seems years.

The next day we cycled on to North Berwick and the wind and rain continued, we managed to find a shelter on the sea front for lunch and watched as one of seat covers vanished down the road chased by a school boy on an outing. Full marks to him as he eventually caught up with it in the Shetlands and brought it back to us.

The weather improved for our cycle into Edinburgh and we had a very pleasant arrival in the Scottish capital. We even found an old railway path to take us gradually up from the seafront to the centre and our hotel.

Edinburgh is gorgeous! Easily one of our new favourite cities and we throughly enjoyed far too much shortbread, veggie Haggis and lots of walking whilst Tilly had a couple of days off in the electrical cupboard at the hotel.

The last leg on our journey was to Perth and took us over the old Forth Road Bridge in a predictable gale and rain and then up and deep into the clouds on our highest hill yet. By the time we reached the summit it was snowing, which was a pleasant change form the hail and we coasted down the other side to Kinross for an excellent hotel who quickly found us a blow heater to dry all our gear off. Fortunately we now have waterproof everything so we actually don’t get wet.

Our final northward cycle to Perth was short and involved Tilly meeting an internet friend Matilda the tandem and her crew Colin and Diane. We’d arranged to meet them at the Bridge of Earn and had strict instructions to not arrive until they were in position so stopped at a bus shelter (forever the cyclists friend in wind and rain) for a rest about 500m away waiting our cue! Whilst we waited we bumped into another couple of tandem cyclists out for a walk who knew Colin and Diane!!

Our cue came in (‘Go Go Go’) and we set off down the hill to the bridge and there were Team Matilda desperately trying to get run over by the passing traffic and film our arrival at the same time! We had the full 3 Bell salute from Tilly and Matilda (though Matilda has a wonderful old fashioned hooter) and there was a great deal of laughter and photo ops, but Covid aware no hugs.

We set off for the short cycle into Perth and were temporarily left for dead by Team Matilda on the uphill section before adjourning to a lovely cafe for some bubbles outside (Covid – no alcohol inside) in the cold to the amazement of other patrons and then some great cake and coffee inside.

We had a fab afternoon with them talking tandems, independence and white van man drivers so much so that we arranged to meet them again the next night for the drinks outside food inside combo that seems to be the new Covid norm in Scotland. Though I suspect most proper Scots sit outside in their shorts or kilts for both the drinks and meal in any weather.

What a great way to end the northward trip!

One Comment

  1. Fab blog again Linda and Jon … Matilda says was great to meet “the other ‘Tilly”! Hoping our tandem paths will cross again!

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