Thursday, May 23, 2013

Scotland Day 2 - Cupar to Tomintoul

So awake by 6 am. Broad daylight already. Went for a walk around town looking for a likely shop where I could purchase a replacement power plug adaptor. Interesting to note that apart from newsagents and cafes that were already open, most places only opened 9/9:30 am. On the way back to the B and B for 7:30 arranged breakfast I discovered the local Tesco supermarket was already open - and it had a travel adaptor! To easy.
Breakfast (avoiding the 'full fry up' on offer), packed and on the road by 8:30. Beautiful weather - cool but sunny.
Punched in a scenic route to my destination on the GPS - Tomintoul- where I had booked accommodation in advance. I'd created routes before leaving OZ - that way I could enjoy the ride without having to read maps and navigate. The route I'd planned was inland towards Stirling before turning north on minor roads through Crieff, Comrie, along the east side of Loch Tay passing through Pitlochry and Braemar  - traversing 2 of the highest roads in Scotland.
Stunning scenery. Lush green pastures, forest, rivers in full pelt with the spring melt. Flowers on the roadside and fresh green growth on the trees. Mountains with snow and lochs in the valleys. Perfect riding weather until just north of Pitlochry. Then it turned foul. Squalls of sleet turning to snow in the high passes. Very strong winds. Temperature dropped from a balmy 14 degrees C to 3 degrees C. A warning light started to flash on the bike - it was the snow/ice warning!
Fortunately I had stopped and donned all my wet weather gear. Also the bike had heated grips - which helped. Still the last 10/15 miles into Tomintoul were a challenge.
Total distance: 178 miles
Total moving time: 5 hours 13minutes.
Tomintoul has the distinction of being the highest village in the Highlands. Making the pub - The Richmond Arms - the highest pub in the Highlands.
As I write this, the weather outside has cycled multiple times through sunshine, sleet, hail, rain, and snow. The forecast is looking bleak. Snow tonight, rain tomorrow. I've booked 2 nights here - with the idea of doing a days riding around the area tomorrow. We shall see. The forecasts change as frequently as the weather. Last night in Cupar, the forecast was looking good. This evening (it's now 7pm and the sun is still high in the sky) the forecast for the next few days is distinctly wintery. At least there are plenty of single malt Scotch varieties to sample while I wait for the weather to improve.
Meanwhile - somewhere in Serbia Celeste has met up with her good friend Katarina and from the photos she has sent is clearly having a good time. The food certainly looks better in Serbia than I have encountered so far in Scotland.

1 comment:

  1. Good to hear the 3°C warning works, like you wouldn't notice! LOL