When I left Aboyne at 9 o' clock in the morning the weather was as beautiful as it had been the afternoon before. I only
had a strong head wind all the day. I rode on up the Dee valley and shortly behind Aboyne left the main road and
followed a small track for bicycles and pedestrians that ran along the Dee. Along this track I came to some real nice
places, one of which you can see on the picture with the bridge. That bridge was just wide enough to cross it by foot,
anywhere there would have been no chance to cycle it because there were gates on both ends which you only could pass as
a pedestrian. About noon I stopped in Ballater for a lunch break at one of the park benches near the church. The funny
thing is that when I came back home to Germany I found that in one of my tourist guides there was a picture of exactly
that same bench with the church in the background where I had stopped.
The ride up the valley towards Braemar was beautiful but I really had some work to do. First the road is steadily
climbing and then there was a strong wind all day long. When I reached Balmoral Castle I first thought about stopping
there but as at so many other places there were lots of tourists there so I went on until I reached Braemar at about 2
Before heading on up the Devil's Elbow I stopped in a restaurant and had a good meal (Haggis of course). Then came the
hardest part of th day: The road was climbing into the mountains and it took me two hours to get up to the pass, but I
cycled all the way and didn't even walk for hundred yards.
When I arrived at the top I stopped for a cup of tea in the restaurant that's up there. It seems to me that the
beginning of June isn't the prime time for skiing, because there were no other people except me up there. And even me, I
hadn't come for skiing. After that short break came the downhill race into Glen Shee. With a 14% descent you really can
pick up speed. But alas, after the first descent came a cruel part of the road: Rising and falling, rising and falling
again. It's really discouraging when you stand on the top of a hill and see the road dropping down before you just to
rise again about 100 yards further away. And with a lot of weight to carry along there's no chance in using the speed
you gather downhill for riding uphill. So I started looking for place to stay for the night but finally I stayed on the
road until I reached Bridge of Cally.
When I checked in at the camping site, the landlord who was also running a pub there told me, that there'd be live music
on that very same evening. That was some good news, because I really like to listen to live music. But what they had
there that night was no traditional music, it was more a kind of dancing evening for the mostly, say not so young people
that were staying at the camping site.
That evening I was wearing a jogging suit from the fire brigade (with the words Freiwillige
Feuerwehr and after a couple of minutes a man came over to me and invited me to the table he was sitting at with his
wife. His name was Stuart and he'd lived for a year or so in Germany being a member of the army and seemed to be glad he
could try his German again. stuart and his wife (sorry, I'm so bad with remembering names) were at the end of a holiday
trip through Scotland before they moved to Southern England.
We talked until about 11 o' clock, the left the pub and went down to the tents (their tent was just next to mine,
besides that we were the only people on that camping site with tents). We stayed up until late past midnight talking and
drinking some wonderful whiskies (Talisker!!). Stuart gave me hints where I should go in my last week and what parts of
the country are not so nice, as he'd say. I thought he knew what he was saying because he'd grown up in the area
between Glasgow and Edinburgh which he said is only industry and not nice. Meeting such friendly people was
really a wonderful end of that day.