Woo Hoo! I've made it to Scotland!
The flight was uneventful. In fact, there were only 10 people on the plane. Makes for quick boarding (even though one of the crew, a flight attendant, was late), and quick exit upon arrival. Scotland is also one hour behind, so I gained an extra hour today. It was a good day to have an extra hour.
I breezed through passport control and customs. I was the only person on the flight that was not a citizen of the EU. My bags were waiting for me right after the passport control. I wheeled everything out to the main part of the airport. First I changed money. Similar to Scandinavia, not all pounds are the same. Most places outside of Scotland don't like to take the Scottish Pounds. But all (except Northern Ireland) will take the Bank of England Pounds. So, the guy gave me all BoE Pounds (and some for N. Ireland). It's nice to be back to something sort of similar to dollars.
I asked an airport employee if there was someplace special I should unpack Betsy. He said anywhere was fine. So, I set to work. The diaper padding worked great. Betsy was in perfect shape. It took me about 45 minutes to get everything put together and ready to go. I exited the airport...and had no idea which way to turn. I turned on the Garmin and found out which way to go. There was a fabulous Bikeway into Aberdeen. I also have to get used to riding on the left. It brought back memories of New Zealand. I put my mirror on the right side, so that is helpful to remind me.
Closer into Aberdeen, it became more difficult to figure out which way to go. I was sort of just willy nilly just going along...okay, that's really busy over there, I'll just go this way. Then I spotted a Cycle Route 1 sign. I thought, well, I don't know if I want Route 1, but I may as well follow it until I decide what I do want. It took me on a serpentine route to the city center. Here's a few things I passed.
A nice neighborhood.
In Seaton Park
On High Street (although the photo doesn't show it), there were a lot of people waiting. I'm not sure what they were waiting for. The cobblestones were very annoying to ride on. I was glad when I got through them.
I continued following the signs until I came to some festival that was getting set up. The roads were closed to cars, but I could bike through. Except at one point it was completely blocked off. I could hear music. I'm wondering if it was some sort of concert getting ready. There weren't so many people yet, but I could tell they were getting ready. Since I really had no idea where I was going, I thought perhaps I should figure out a direction. I turned on the Garmin and put in Stonehaven. That was the first town I was heading to tomorrow. I figured I would get going in the right direction, then see about camping.
I also needed food. I spotted a Co-op grocery store and made a stop. Since I don't have any fuel yet, I didn't get much that has to be cooked (just hot cocoa). I got some kind of Scottish bread things called Butteries. Looked good to me!
As I was working my way out of the city, I came across a Subway. Since I had no fuel, it seemed like a perfect time to check a Scotland Subway off the list.
After eating, I checked the Garmin for camping. There was Queen Elizabeth Caravan Park about 10 miles away. It was also in the direction to Stonehaven. Perfect! It was a little before 7:00 when I left Subway.
I followed the Garmin directions. It was a good road with a bike lane, and then when there was no bike lane the road was pretty quiet.
Isn't this exactly how you picture Scotland?
As I crested a small hill, this came into view. Pretty awesome!
I came down the hill and, voila, I was in Stonehaven! Turns out the Caravan Park is in Stonehaven. That's excellent! I pulled up to the office at 7:53. They close a 8:00. Just made it! The couple are very nice. The man escorted me to the tent site. Although the showers and all are free, there is no cooking facility. I can get warm water for "warm" cocoa in the morning, but that's about it. I'll try to find fuel tomorrow. The gentleman said he would have a look in the phone book, and tell me in the morning where I might find fuel. There are a couple of French boys cycling who are from Lille. They have fuel, but they brought it from France.
I took a walk on the beach after everything else was done. It's really quite beautiful, and even though I think it's still the North Sea, it seems very different here.So polite about it.
I'm a bit ahead, since I made it to Stonehaven. Tomorrow I'm going to go see the Dunnottar Castle. It's the main attraction here.
Scotland Miles today: 25.5 (and, yes, it is miles--not kilometers)