(This is Sunday's blog; I was unable to get a connection yesterday evening)
The 11 miles from Fraserburgh to Pennan (where I was supposed to be staying last night) were very tough; a strong headwind, nagging drizzle and 1 in 5 (20%) hills. This was the most difficult section yet. With several stops for drinks and generally getting my breath back, I didn't leave Pennan until 11.00, despite an 07.00 getaway from Fraserburgh.
Many of the harbours along the North Aberdeenshire and Moray coast are down steep roads. At Pennan, Crovie and Gardenstown I left my bike near the top and walked down. Pushing the bike up any hill steeper than 1 in 7 is exhausting. The two panniers alone weigh 24Kg. Then there's the camping gear and the bar bag...
Today, Day 16, I felt more tired than on any day so far. I even felt worried that I might lose concentration whilst cycling, just like you can when driving a car. My legs were OK; I just felt sleepy. I may not be getting enough sleep. By the time I've sorted and uploaded the day's photos and written the blog, it's often after 11pm. I've been in the habit of getting up at 05.30 and on the road by 7. It's a problem really, because I need to start early if I'm going to maintain my schedule. Either that, or spend less time wandering around all these harbours!
As the afternoon progressed, the wind died down, but the rain increased. Convinced it was set in for the day, I called a halt at Findochty (pronounced 'Finnechty'). I'm now about 30 miles behind schedule, with little hope of catching up. This coast is very 'busy', with many small harbours. It's a pity I won't be seeing them with the sun out, but I have been along this coast before.
Sights, sounds and smells of Scotland
Yellow things - gorse, the occasional daffodil (still), marsh marigold, a yellowhammer, oilseed rape.
The sound of swifts screaming above the rooftops in Dunbar, no doubt borne this far north so early on the southerly winds.
The smell of wild garlic, and the rape (of course).
Larks, oystercatchers, curlew and a red squirrel in Tentsmuir Forest.