The sky was a uniform grey, the ever present threat of rain determinimg my choice of boil in the bag jacket. The jacket has the advantage of a large pocket to keep my Bam, lock and mask in.
I set off not really sure if I was going to go all the way to Portsoy. Once you have climbed out of Drybridge and are crossing Hill of Maud the mood changes, this is what it’s about, the quiet (you learn to filter out the rasping breath and thumping heart sounds) and the views. Back on the road heading round the Binn, I see the most perfectly parked loader blocking a farm entrance. At the T-junction there is your typical old farmer complete with flat cap and long walking stick. He spoke first asking which way I was going and did my bike have one of those electric engines. They were herding cattle – that explains the blocked entrances. I am going in the same direction, the cattle are behind me. Freckle avoidance.
Battering on, I am going to Fordyce, oops I have arrived in Lintmill. A short but weirdly signposted jaunt to Fordyce… Longest 4 miles. Even coming out of Fordyce It said Portsoy 1.5 miles then about a mile up the road it said it again, then a mile or so later it said 1 mile… This would be on the A98… Must have missed the turn to allow me to avoid. As it turns out where I saw the second 1.5 mile sign, I should have gone left.
I clatter in to Portsoy, it has lots of those road narrowing islands. A golf estate does that stupid squeeze past thing, and turns of 50m later. Now I was not following him. But he too was headed to the 17th century harbour. He was looking distinctly nervous as I tailed him. He pulled over, with fear in his eyes as I came along side. And with my best Paddington stare behind tinted glasses I went straight past and down to the harbour.
The pull up from the harbour is a lung buster… Thankfully I have really low gears on the mtb. Ah, the ice cream shop, a double scoop of vanilla ordered, directions acquired as to how to avoid the A98. I step outside to find a huge seagull sitting on my crossbar (I would have been cross too if that giant webfooted winged rat was gripping me) with a typical squawk of distain it flew off to the other side of the road to glower at me. There was a young gull there too eating an apple (no glasses, that’s that it looked like) as it turns out, the fruit and veg table my bike was leaning against was the gulls buffet.
The shop girls directions were spot on. If her hill description a bit off… I kept waiting for the big hill. I ended up on the beach at Sandend. A gentle average damaging walk. Crossing two raging torrents. Well the would have been if we had had any rain.
Another lungburster out of Sandend and back to Lintmill. Onwards to Cullen and the op for more ice cream. I didn’t. On to the vaiduct, I set off on the last leg.
The run back to buckie is largely traffic free, but omg the crisps and dogs… No it is not right to bag your dog poo and leave it on the track. On the final approach to Buckie, a crisp with a ferocious dog on an extending lead comes into view. Fag and phone in one hand and lead in the other… Closer. The ferocious pug goes for me. She drops her fag and meekly apologises… Let’s face it the pug was going to come off worse in a range with a spikey pedal. The farm is just about in sight now as I skirt buckie.
Up the last potholed track… Really they should scrape out the bits that separate the holes and make it a smooth track.
Back at the farm now, and I check my phone, 20+WhatsApp messages a couple of missed calls and some normal texts… Looks like I missed out on going for lunch… 32miles… Tired but happy 😊
Ah the title.. . Portsoy is famous for its marble… Apparently😁