Saturday, 22 August 2009
Another great day out
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.