Saturday, June 6, 2009

Edinburgh Bound

Yes, there were kilts and leiderhozen, but no dresses in the pub.  Glad I change from my biking shorts to long pants as I did not want to give the lads any ideas as I looked good in those shorts.  Ladies were dancing together as they may not trust themselves around that many unshaven legs.

Off to Edinburgh with the plan.  I am getting in at 2:30 and need to find a box for the bike.  Have a list of bike shops.  After I finding the box I need to then get to the hostel and drop of the bike.  Then I  walk back to the shop and retrieve the bike box before closing.  Else I have no way to get my bike back home the next morning.  The plan goes perfectly as  the first shop has the box. They just need to remove the new bike from it.  The bus even let the box on for the mile trip back to the hostel.  Bike is now in the box and I will be up early to airport.  You need to experience Edinburgh with competing corner musicians with their bagpipes.  Street performers are quite active and then what some people are wearing on the street and I don't think that they were headed to a fancy dress party.  The fringe festival is still a good ways off.  The town is quite lively
4 miles
Love & kisses

Friday, June 5, 2009

And more Highlands

I could get use to the castle life my. house could fit in library or the next room up the sitting room.  Just forgot the single malt to sip and enjoy the view.
21.5 miles
I'm off again heading south.  I did not leave my hand print on any of the bottoms of statues.  Rain has come again but no real wind.  Travel along a loch stopping to see pictish carved stones.  Then off to the coast with fighter jets near by doing target practice.  A short ferry ride and a few more hills then I am on the bridge into Inverness.  The loop of north Scotland is completed.  The hostel does have room.  I am off to the pub having Thai food (no deep fryer) listening to a traditional Scottish band.
The day starts out a little wet and gets more wet as I go.  Head out to Fort George a cannon fort..  Big place and the military still uses the builds there.  More cannons seam to point inland than into the bay they were there to protect.  That unruly populace again?  As I work my way back to Inverness rain picks up to a solid storm and even has hail at times.  Ah that was what I was expecting when biking in Scotland and the feeling will come back to my hands and feet.  Back again to Inverness and some great Indian food.  Yes the UK has great Indian and Pakistan food.  Now for some more traditional music and a pint or two..   A number of the guys in the pub have leiderhozen with dress this going to be a fun night.
33.7 miles
Love & kisses

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Highlands

There is a pub is just down the road from the ferry.  After dinner on two miles to the hostel.  Now that was an easy day.
35 miles
Another clear day and light breeze from the east.  I head into the wind.  Get passed by four racing cycles all in matching outfits on an uphill.  They look like shriners.  I do not bring it up with them as they have "Royal Marine Commandos" emblazoned on there blue jerseys.  On the down hill I start to gain on them.  Then another uphill and they are gone.  A few miles future I pass them as they patch a tire. Winner goes to the heavy duty tires.  A week ago there was a road race south of here and an older man through tacks in the road taking out 300 bikes with punctures.  He was mad that the road was closed for a couple of hour for the race.  Another group of four blue jerseys pass me, and then let me draft for a mile before pulling away on a hill "yea".  Shortly there after I am at Wick heading off to view a castle..  Get there and it is closes for reconstruction.  No one is around so I hop the three foot gate.  Second part has a locked iron gate with high walls.  I am out of luck as I did not bring my castle assault kit.   Fog rolls in so I don't go up to the light house as it is lost in the fog.  Then onwards to Camster cairns.  Nice cairns you can crawl into.  Decide to change plans and not go down the coast, but to go down the center Scotland.  It will avoid the heavy traffic and the fog.  I am ahead of schedule so it is only extra miles.  I head backup to the northern coast as there is no direct way to cross to the center of Scotland.  I push past Reay and find a nice spot on some cliffs above the sea.  Best camping spot so far with great views of the sunset and the north sea.
77.3 miles
As I was hanging out the next morning, some bird watchers came by and pointed ou the puffins below.  They even lone me there field glasses to see them better.  I had been looking for puffins for a while with no luck.  Then I just camp right above them.  A light northern breeze good for pushing me south.  I head south up along a nice river.  The day is spent going over gentle hills and looking across giant moors.  Last 12 miles are down hill with the wind behind me.  Midgies motivate me to setup my tent with speed. 
 75.6 miles
Cool morning with no breeze.  Exit the tent with long pants and a head net.  Midgies are waiting but do not have access the flesh as I pack.  Ten miles down the road is a castle youth hostel.  I decide to stay and have quiet day here.  And not because of the gallery of nude lady statues.  I am caught up today with my writing as it is Jun 3.
Love & kisses

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Arrive at Stromness and find no room at the inn.  I head out of town and fine a great site next to the sea with nice mowed grass that is next to a cemetery.  Maybe I'll get a visitor tonight to talk to while enjoying the great sea views..
Dreams of southern Spain have come true.  There is not a cloud in the sky and a light breeze.  Off to see 5000 year old ruins.  In one burial cairn viking hung out in during a long storm.  They wrote a good bit, including about   Olga who was very friendly.  Large stone circles and one viking ruin that    can only be gotten to during low tide.
The hills are covered with grass.  Cows fill the fields..  The hills on Orkney are gentle rolling hills making easy riding.  Until I head south to Kirkwall and find the wind has picked up in the wrong direction.  Long ride but I need to get to a hostel and shower.  Just wish a van would go slower so I could draft.  Getting near nine when I get to Kirkwall.  Grab a quick vegi burger (no bun this time burger is just tossed on top of chips).   
Find the hostel after venturing down a few wrong roads.  They are open and have beds available.  Nice to grab a shower after camping for a while and riding hard. 
52.7 miles
Going for an easy day.  Wind is from the south again and it is a solid breeze.  Tack ten miles down to the south west to a old round church and drinking hall.  Foundation outline for the drinking hall.  The best way to describe the round church was there was one side wall to it.  A bust.  Coast up the hills to the north as the breeze pushes me.  Maybe I miss judged the breeze.  Get to some ruins of a very old fort and town that I passed by yesterday.  They are ok.  Now I am heading back down from the north end of the island on the same road as yesterday with a head wind again.  Check Kirkwall weather and the wind speed is 25 mile.  Make it back to Kirkwall again at nine and head off to a protected bay to camp.  The hostel was fairly grim last night.  Camp over looking a old wrecked ship in the bay.
50.0 miles (easy day ???)
Sunny again and a very light eastern breeze.  I head south and hope to take a ferry this evening.  Low point.  There is such a thing as a shit spreador and being down wind is not a good thing with a working nose.  The southern islands are connected by cause ways built during WW2. There are old ship wrecks from WW1 that were sunk there on purpose to protect the straights.  In WW2 a U-boat slipped by the wrecks and sank a cruiser then got away.  So they built the causeways with italian labors during WW2.  The italian soldiers also built a nice chapel out of a quacet hut. From the front and inside you can not tell what the building was as they painted on tiles and stone to the walls.  Saw a few more ruins then off to the ferry.  There was no time table for the ferry at the dock, but a local told me the ferry would be in 45 minute and he was right.
Love & kisses


Got a mid morning start with light rain coming down every once in a while.  Nice start going down hill at high speed and then start up the next hill with a tail wind.  That was the basic cycling for the day doing hills
with wind shifting all after noon.  Nice ride through glens and down to the lochs.  Occasional rain showers throughout the day.. Stopped at Ardvreck castle only two walls are still there.  There are support to be ghosts there.  One in a gray suit and the other weeping lass near the loch.  Supposedly she made a pact with the devil to save her fathers castle.  It does not appear to have worked out.  At Lexford bridge head inland and up river.  Wind was still shifting slowing me at times and helping me at others. Just before Merkland Loch found a nice wooded area to camp that was protected from the wind. 
61.5 miles.
Next morning there is a little bit of rain at times.  And I start up my short cut which starts at Merkland Loch.  The two miles up the dirt road is much easier than expected.  There is no traffic as there was a locked gate at the bottom.  Great glen views and the lochs looks nice.  The wind pushes me through the pass.  Would recommend wide tires and if you want to go fast some suspension. Nice long ride down the other side to Allnabad.  Then over to and down the Strath Naver.  Strath Naver was where some of the clearance happened.  1000 homes with an average of 5 persons each were told to move on.  Some given a half hour notice to move there stuff before their home was torched.  Many men were doing military service as was custom for use of the land and 1812 were distinguishing themselves in the Americas.  Only when they returned to Scotland found no home.  In this case it was done for 2000 sheep to replace them.  Future army recruitment was met with "let the sheep defend the land." Made it past Bettyhill before calling it a night and camping over looking the ocean.  
The vegi burger meal.  If there cheap the there is most likely no bun.  If there is a bun that is it.  Sometimes there is lettuce and tomato.  And the burger can be deep fried or not.  I never ask how it will be prepared when orderring as I like the suprize.  Salad on the side.  This can be half a tomato, yes just a half of a tomato.  It can get up to lettuce, cucumber and tomato.  This is topped with a little packet of salad cream.  I truly can't say more about the salad cream.  Vegetable think mushy peas.  Chips they know how to use a deep fryer down and chips are always good. Just order vegi burger and chips and see what comes..
53.5 miles

It is a gray morning with a occasional rain.  A bit hilly and each down hill is into the southern wind so no roll up the other side.  The rain picks up and there is a pub so life is good (plan B).
Hills ease up as I get further east.  Great views of the coast as I head for Thurso. I get there at two and the ferry leaves at seven.  I am finally able to get some laundry done.  Pickup some Chinese take out for the ferry ride and I am set.  Hostel too night and a hot shower. 
Love & kisses