The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

My morning ride was a bit special today and a run that has to be right up there for me. Anstruther, Crail and home. The heat was already in the day, it was just so perfect.

If I had to pick one time of the year to visit Scotland it would be autumn, such a magical time and a time that is just around the corner. The early snow on mountain peaks, the lower slopes ablaze in purple heather and autumn’s perfusion in lowland woods. By late autumn the stag, separated from the hind now, antlers dressed in velvet, migrate down onto the lower planes. Just to wake, in some remote part of Scotland, no one around, why you could almost be the only person on the planet. Skies still and clear, starlight casting its ghastly light upon the waters of the loch, mountains black cardboard cut-outs, silhouetted in the low autumn sun. How could you be anything but in awe of such magnificence?

I had tried to keep myself busy during a lockdown, and I did feel I was coping well, but from time to time I would start feeling weepy at old films and my writing reflected my mild depression. So, with the van now having a full year’s MOT and my feet starting to itch, thoughts once more turned to get away for a while, something that had been put on hold.

Making preparations.

I started by installing an inverter in the van today, so many things require charging these days all with different voltage requirements, that it is best to plug them into a 240V outlet, with their own charger. The old car battery is not a deep cycle, as was the case in the big camper van, but it should do the job OK. My solar panels are portable and full self-contained just connect to the battery, simple, and fold away flat when not in use.

To test it all out I decided to MOP (mechanically operated polisher) the van. I have not used this for years, last time was on my boat hull. Its a bit messy since you have to use water as well as the compound, otherwise, it will burn the paint, centrifugal forces will do the messy part and I’m a dab hand at making even the simplest of jobs messy, you should see me with a paintbrush, “Will you be putting any of that paint on the walls Walter?” and today was no exception, but great fun and the car park will be find after a shower of rain.

With coronavirus still a threat, more so for wrinklies like myself, I will stay clear of the coast Montrose, and especially Aberdeen, a route I would normally have taken north. This time it will be Blairgowrie (might be a bit early to see the Beech Hedge at its best, Beech being late to colour) Braemar Ballater, Grantown-on-Spey, would make sense. Cape Wrath is still on my bucket list, now there’s a thought. Keep peddling and stay safe.

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