Starbuck’s, Milton beside the Esso station (where big Derek DIDN’T take on petrol; more anon…. !!) was our starting point and we set sail after breakfast, just after 10.00
Balloch, A811, Thornhill, Doune then a quick comfort stop at the public toilets in Bridge of Allan.
Dunblane, Kinbuck, Braco, Muthill to Crieff, then the Sma’ Glen and Amulree to Dunkeld, where Derek NOW decides to branch off to get petrol. However, Norrie (as back-marker) and he were held back slightly by traffic and as Derek branched off for this late fuel, he told Norrie to turn right over the bridge in Dunkeld, as “that’s the main road to Meigle”…… The rest of the group waited for at least 15 minutes before I went back for a look and met Derek coming over the bridge, sans Norrie.
He was then instructed to go and find / shepherd / placate said errant Norrie and accompany him to the lunch stop at the Joinery Café, Meigle. Some 5-10 minutes after the main group arrived there, an exceedingly “Grumpy” Norrie arrived, followed a few minutes later by Derek, who couldn’t catch him up, apparently.
Once Norrie was defused and becalmed about what he thought was a lack of corner marking, he agreed never to take random directions from the middle of the pack again and then proceeded to polish off an enormous lunch, i.e. normal for him. Normal (Grumpy !) service then was resumed !!
From Meigle, east by Glamis to Forfar through the farmlands of Strathmore then through Aberlemno, Brechin and Trinity, where we cut under the main road north and headed for the impressive archways over the road in Edzell and then Fettercairn.
Once through the village we then started climbing to the highest point of our journey North crossing the famous Cairn o’ Mount road. We had another comfort stop on the outskirts of Banchory at the Bridge of Feugh, where we stood for a while on the bridge itself, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the white water of the river below and conversing (or trying to !) with some of the locals; the Doric language takes a bit of getting acquainted with….(Loons, quines, fit likes and furry boots, etc etc ?!?! )
Leaving the car park, we crossed back over the bridge and through Banchory and Ramoir and then the villages of Echt and Dunecht
(dodgy West of Scotland/Ayrshire joke – Q. Whaur de ye find Echt A. In atween Seeven and Nine…)
Turning left after Dunecht took us back into the countryside and soon we were in Kemnay and a few miles further on, Inverurie and the Kintore Arms hotel.
Lovely hotel, very friendly staff and good food some bar action then a reasonably early night for all.
Following breakfast on Saturday, we left the hotel at 09.30, heading East through Whiterashes, Newmachar, Kingseat and Belhelvie, before joining the coast road and heading North.
Many different forms of hand and finger salutes were offered to Trump’s golf resort just North of Balmedie which we passed without further incident.
We passed through the towns of Newburgh (past the world renowned RSPB area) and Cruden Bay (quick comfort stop and tour around the matchbox-sized harbour !) before having a slow tootle around the harbour area of Peterhead and heading North again, hugging the coast via St Fergus and Cortes junction, to Fraserburgh and our first feed of the day at the Tiger Hill café on the promenade. Coffees, cakes, ice creams and juices, mostly outside in the sunshine; luverly !
Out of the café and through the town, also via the harbour, a quick fuel stop (Derek was OK this time, he assured us all !) and then out the coastal route through Sandend, Rosehearty and New Aberdour until negotiating the 1-in-4 road (more like goat track !) to Pennan village, famed for being in the film “Local Hero”.
Once the obligatory photos had been expertly / Grumpily taken by you-know-who, we then used first gear again to climb back up the cliff to the main road which developed into a series of hairpins, steep climbs and sharper drops until reaching the normality of the main road into Macduff, through another busy but quaint harbour before turning South-West and inland towards Turriff (Turra to the locals; there’s a good story about the Turra Coo, too, but you can learn about that via Google !)
Just outside the town, we stopped at our second café, Auntie Lou’s, where we sat outside with drinks, cakes, enormous tuna sandwiches (Norrie again ! Where does he put it all? — must have worms in him like Anacondas….!). From there we re-joined the main road through Aberchirder (known as Foggie Loan by the locals; you couldn’t make this stuff up !) until we reached Huntly.
South of Huntly lie Rhynie, Lumsden, and Alford Bridge, all joined by some of the best roads and corners this area has, only SLIGHTLY spoiled by the dreaded stone scattering “redressing” of the road this area is notorious for every summer.
Alford Bridge to Alford is only a mile or so and on arriving, we split into two groups; those that wanted to visit the Grampian Transport Museum and those who wanted to head back the 14-ish miles to the hotel.
Everyone that went enjoyed the museum and because the exhibits are changed very regularly, I’d suggest a return visit would be just as interesting.
Back to the hotel; good bar / food / chat / blethering / lots of laughter / good speeches / bed.
Sunday dawned sunny again (can it / will it last ?? YES !!) and after another hearty breakfast we head into Aberdeen city via Kintore, Blackburn, Hatton of Fintray and Dyce, where we cruised along the beach front until visiting the Victorian public toilets at Fittie (Foot Dee, in the dialect).
We then made a detour for photos to be taken of the stunning mural artworks applied to several large buildings, quite off the main thoroughfares of the city; Norrie’s pictures of them will speak for themselves.
We then hugged the coast road above the docks area until joining our first “main” road for some 11-12 miles until reaching Stonehaven, where we managed to find just about sufficient room to park the bikes and enjoy ice creams, cold drinks, coffees, sitting in the sunshine for some 30-40 minutes before reluctantly togging up and leaving again. Our chairman reckoned “We’ve only just arrived !” however even he was persuaded, with his bad leg too, to get back onto the road.
Staying on the coast road we passed by the famous ruins of Dunottar Castle and then through Inverbervie, St. Cyrus and Montrose, where we turned West for Brechin and our lunch stop at the Brechin Castle centre. A bit of a misnomer as it’s nowhere near the Castle (go figure !) but the food was lovely and so was the miraculously continued sunshine that we ate it in. I
n fact, the only complaint was from a nesting Oyster Catcher and when Cathie and Johnny had the cheeck and effrontery (according to Mummy Oyster Catcher !) to get a bit close to her nest for comfort. Unfortunately, she’ll be complaining a lot and often as she’s been bird-brained enough to make her nest right beside the Welcome sign in the car park and on the main path to the front door !!
After sitting a good while, we left heading south again for Forfar, where we turned onto the Coupar Angus-Perth road. I shepherded the group back to Meigle, left them with a wave and a tear in my left eye, and then headed Northwards and homewards. Hopefully, everyone made it home safe and dry.
Text by Kenny Hair, the Organiser. Everyone really enjoyed the Weekend, and many, many Thanks