The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

I

It had rained heavily during the night, and the morning started off rather dreich so it was around 11 O’clock before I made any attempt to leave the house, by then the cloud was breaking up and a watery sun had made its appearance.

Out of the car-park and into Argyle Street, the B939. Leaving town, I moved onto the unclassified road for Strathkinness, and made the long climb up onto Knock Hill, and then went whizzing off down the other side for Kemback. The large sycamore, on sentry duty at the entrance to the small car-park before the bridge, over the Eden, shone bright, red and gold, in the low morning sunlight, the Eden river was in full spate and clouded with soil carried along in its waters.

In the field, I was now passing, there was an old ewe, and I heard something that reminded me of a story that had been going around the family for years.

My sister had came running into the house, clearly upset about something, then it came out, an old man had been following her home. Dad listened to her story, and then asked,

“How do you know it was an old man that was following you?”

“I heard him coughing behind me, it was loud, just like grandad coughing” she remembered.

“And where was this?” he continued “better still” he went on “show me”.

Dad put his coat on, then his bonnet, and beckoned my sister to follow him out the door. Retracing her steps she lead dad back to where the old man had been following her, and sure enough they heard coughing coming from the other side of the hedge, but not an old man but an old ewe, indeed sounding very human.

Anyone who has lived in the country or gone hillwalking will have heard sheep coughing, and when still at school, our science teacher brought in a sheep heart to dissect. He told us that the heart (and many other organs) from sheep are of comparable size to those of humans. So I was not surprised when the story of the old man following my sister home, turned out to be an old sheep, with a touch of bronchitis.

On up the Dura Den following the coarse of the Ceres Burn, then halfway along you come to the waterfall. It was working overtime, shooting off the rock and out into mid air before falling away. I stopped off at Pitscottie to check the rear tyre for softness, but it was fine, so a mouthful of water and on to the cross road where I turned right for Ceres. Through the village and on into Bridgend before dropping down into Cupar. There is a green lane that runs from Bridgend all the way down to the cemetery in Cupar. I don’t know if it is ridable, may try it when the ground is a bit dryer.

There was a coldness coming into the air as I left Cupar on the A91 which I stayed on all the way home, bikes go well on smooth tarmac. After Guardbridge I found a few puddle to play in, I just love to see the spray arching off my front tyre, a treat for every small boys. Mum would have said “Simple things amuse simple mind” but I see it more like “Suffer the children to come unto me” it is not about being childish but about seeing life through the eyes of a child once more, not complicated, but simple and unbelievably beautiful. Well, that’s my excuse.

Not a long run today but enough is as good as a feast they say, keep the peddles turning.

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