Got up at the crack of dawn today and rode up to Strathdon in the Highlands. The event was the 168th Lonach Highland gathering and games. Following a tradition going back to 1823, the Lonach Highlanders, comprising members of the Forbes family and their clansmen, march around the village accompanied by a pipe band and visit each house. There they are given hospitality which comprises of a wee dram of whiskey. The march starts at 8am and finishes at 1pm; the Highlanders are followed by a horse-drawn cart which is to provide transport for anyone overcome by too much 'hospitality'. According to the elderly Scottish gentleman beside me, no-one has needed this assistance - ever. They then march into the park where the games have been going on since 9am and march around the field.
All very colourful, and the sun came out for a while to make it an even better day. By lunchtime I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the crowds, so I got on the bike and rode up and over Tomintoul, past the Lecht ski-slopes and headed down to Braemar for a cup of tea. Just outside the town I spotted a bike coming up fast behind me - then he was past and gone, on some kind of old bike. I caught up with him and he stopped outside the cafe - a nice old Norton. For some reason it was a biker day at the caff, plates of chips everywhere! Had a nice rest then rode home. A very enjoyable day out.