Finally! Out in the country on my way to the highlands. I have been looking forward to this for a long time as this is an area I've been enchanted with in Scotland. I'm sure we could spend a month easy, but we won't get to see everything. Still I'm glad to be out at all!
Setting out after 2 weeks of rest was a great feeling. Legs full of power, I went without difficulty and the time flew by. I was shocked when Brian said it was one o'clock and we hadn't had a break yet! Mind you, we did get out a little later than usual, as Pete made us a wonderful stick-to-your-ribs breakfast (yummy black pudding)!
The first part of the day ran very smoothly coasting over the Forth Rd. Bridge, cycling along
the coast of Fife and seeing the Wallace Monument - all in the sun! But as you can imagine, that was too good to be true and didn't last long :) In Doune, we pulled into a cute little Bistro to warm up. Shortly after sitting down, I hear the lady turning away customers, stating she was closed. Shocked as it was only 4 o'clock, I began to feel badly as we were keeping her. So when I went up to pay, I apologized saying we didn't know that she closed at 4. "Not a problem" she said, "I liked your face so I let you in!" She then proceeded to ask about where we were going, offered an alternative route, and went out in the rain to look at our maps! Some people are so nice :)
Then I just had to see Castle Doune. Although it took much arm twisting, pleading, and yelling, I finally coerced Brian into going! Near the end of each day, he's bound and determined to get to our campsite; however, I didn't want to miss out on what we could see now. Besides, we'd already eaten at the bistro, and the site we wanted to stop at was just in the next town about 5 km away.
It proved worth it. For those of you that don't know, Castle Doune is the place where the
majority of filming for Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail took place (and Brian's quite a fan). Seeing his face light up when walking into each new room, and hearing the stories of what scenes took place there was a hoot! But even for a non-Python fan like myself, it was interesting. 1st built by Robert the Bruce's grandson in the 1300's, it was then owned by the Duke of Albany. Going into ruin, it was restored in the 1800's. Multitudes of tiny little rooms and immense fireplaces were fun to crawl through and explore. Some areas have been restored and furnished - one of which was being set up for an evening candlelight wedding! If I could go back in time...
Pythoned out, we set off to find the campground, and I realized that I was a bit more tired than I had thought. 1st day back felt great, but wore me out. Upon arrival, there was a big sign that said the campground was full - crap! Forgot about it being the weekend...but I wanted to go ask anyways. We've encountered this several times before, but it's not usually hard to squeeze in one little tent - usually.
Well, some people are just not nice :( The man just grunted and pointed to the sign,
completely dismissing us! The next site along had a big sign saying NO TENTS. Feeling very unwelcome, we continued on, but the next marked campgrounds were quite a bit further away. And that's when it started to rain again...And it was starting to grow dark...And the hills were beginning.....
Growing quite weary, I realized that it wasn't much use and we weren't going to make it. Brian scouted out a place off to the side of the road where a river was flowing. At least we would have water! Seeing a lower plateau which used to be the old road, we stealthily dove down through the trees and over rocks - trying not to be noticed by the traffic along the road. Taking full advantage of Scotland's right of passage code, we settled in for the night.