The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

I left for the bus station at 07.45 I arrived back home at a just before 17.45 it has been a long day.

After yesterdays constant rain today was fine, a few clouds but the wind would keep the rain at bay. The bus deposited me at Glasgow just before 011.00 it was getting late so I decided not to go all the way out to Bowling but headed for Drumchapel and picked up the canal there. I really wanted to see a bit of the city before heading out into the countryside. Along each bank of the canal a woodland of self-seeded trees and shrubbery have grown up over the years. This, although does have its own sense of beauty, and makes for a great windbreak, does blanket out any landscape beyond the canal, so it can become a bit boring to ride in parts.

95% of the towpath surface is in excellent condition so I was able to get a bit momentum going, however as you neared towns and villages close to the canal, the strollers and kids on bikes became more of a problem, “Coming Throooooooough” and most become confused and undecided they sort of stagger around in front of you. (Where did you pick up that trick riding Hamilton).  

Still in the City I passed the old whisky bond at Port Dundas, then it was out into the country for Kirkintilloch – where there is nay pubs, because, if the Corries are to be believed “My brother and me, went on a spree and drank the pubs a’ dry”.

Twechar, has a lifting bridge so I stopped to gannet down my Kit-Kat and participate in the wine, well a 50 pence sports drink I picked up at the service station before entering the canal system proper. You have to cross a busy road at Auchinstarry then you are onto a long straight all the way to more of less Bonnybridge a few miles west of the Falkirk Wheel.

Today there was a good number of visitors, and again not many wearing face-coverings or social distancing to any great extent, I hate to think what will happen when the kids go back to school.

From here to the Kelpies the scenery is more townscape, again the car park at the Kelpies were full to overflowing so I took a few quick pictures then peddled off for Kincardine to catch the St Andrews bus.

I passed through the little village of Skinflats. When Grangemouth Chemicals came into being Mum persuaded dad to try for a job there, she was sick of him being away at sea all the time leaving her to bring up the family on her own. He did and mum decided she wanted one of the new Scottish Special Houses that had been built at Skinflats. Dad was not so sure, the rents were not cheap. But mum got her way in the end. So expensive were the rents that for the full year that they lived there only one other house was occupied, which just so happened was the one next door. The neighbour and his wife had come up from England to work at the new complex as a chemist. Being neighbours they shared a lot, like when dad and his neighbour shared the cost for the equipment to build a Crystal Set, Seemed they took turns at having it in each other’s homes.

Money was scarce, there was a road for every penny earned, so when dad cycled home from work one day to see that not one but all the windows in the house had curtains hanging in them, he was not happy. Thinking mum had bought the curtains on Tick, dad could not be consoled until mum asked him to go and have a closer look at the curtains, they were made from Crape paper.

As I climbed up onto the A876 – which is really a continuation of the M876 for Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh, so as you can imagine is very busy, vrooooom, vrooooom they go bye, scary stuff. A stagecoach bus went whizzing by, Oh no, I hope that is not the St Andrews bus, don’t fancy spending an hour in Kincardine waiting for the next one.

I pulled up at the bus shelter, I asked some lads hanging out there “Any you lads have the time on you?” Brilliant only ten minutes to wait for the bus. Time to pop into the wee shop for a packet of salted crisps, I believe the salt help in my recovery.

So overall it was a great three hours thirty minute (almost to the minute) ridding, including stops, but alas this pales into insignificance considering I spent six hours on buses.

One more ticked off the ‘Bucket List’ no sign of the bottom yet.    

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