Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Leg 6, Day 2; Macduff to Aberdeen

We woke after a somewhat broken night's sleep in Macduff lifeboat station- it's going to take a few days / complete exhaustion to sleep well again on our camping mats!  Following a quick cuppa, we got kit on and bags packed, and we're back on the open road by 7.30am

Having been advised by Chassey the night before that the coastal road (which we were due to take), was very hilly and that we should consider, instead, the main A road, we in something of a dilemma. One one hand the A road would be flatter and faster but less scenic and probably more dangerous. The coastal road would be much hillier, more tiring, and slower but more scenic. We ended up opting for the latter, and Chassey wasn't wrong... It was certainly fairly hilly, but also absolutely beautiful. The Aberdeenshire countryside in sunshine was spectacular and well worth the effort, and we made good progress, as we crossed the rolling countryside. 

We made Fraserburgh, about 35km into our day's ride, in time for a late breakfast on the harbour front, overlooking the Lifeboat and impressive and sizeable fishing fleet. The trawlers were far larger than we had expected -huge great modern steel ships which we estimated to be about 150 ft long. The sort of boats which would look at home mid Atlantic.

We were soon back on the road heading further east.  By Mid morning we had 'turned the corner' and started heading south. This was quite a milestone in the trip, but it also had the slight tarnish, of being straight into a 20mph headwind for the rest of the afternoon! With Rad and my fitness levels not being quite what they were in years gone by, this proved more of a challenge than the hills we had hit in the morning. The only way I can describe it, would be cycling with very tired legs, and your breaks half on for three hours...!

Progress was slow and very hard work, but at least the sun was out and we passed through yet more beautiful countryside. 

We made it to Peterhead by 12noon- another very active fishing port with an even more impressive fleet of fishing boats.... a quick photo and stretch at the RNLI station, a baked potato with beans and cheese at a local cafe and we were off again.

With our last remaining 'critical' (Rad's organisation) timing deadline of the entire trip being the return ferry to Aberdeen, we were under some pressure to make Aberdeen in good time for our 5pm departure for our overnight crossing to the Shetland Islands. The relentless headwind and a few hills made this two of the harder hours of cycling R and I can remember, and we were totally exhausted by the time we made Aberdeen. This said, the sun continued to shine which was a real treat following our 2014 expedition.... 

After a shower and supper onboard we set out our camp beds in the bar of the ferry.

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