Friday, August 10, 2007

Beaches and Mountains

Ian had to go to Aberdeen for a business meeting yesterday, so Lindsey and I went along for the ride.

It’s a very pretty drive up to Aberdeen. We collected the Forth Road Bridge properly on the way, drove through some lovely countryside, stopped for coffee and arrived nice and early for his lunchtime appointment at the University.

They gave him a visitor’s parking permit without any argument at all!

So. While Ian was communing with doctors and psychologists, Lindsey and I went off to explore. We had intended to potter about in the town centre. Alas, we were tempted by a high wall, a cemetery and a tempting looking hill over a path. Off we diverted.

In the meantime, I was beginning to think fondly of the idea of a loo stop. Couldn’t see anything that looked remotely like a public loo. So we stopped at a fish and chip bar near a golf course and asked where the nearest public conveniences were. Ooooh. Sucking of teeth. Probably the nearest ones are on the beach. Tell you what, just pop round the side and I’ll let you in to use ours. Well, what could I do? I bought a serving of chips to take with us on our walk! Can’t think of many other people who’d let complete strangers in to use the loo!

I hadn’t realised that Aberdeen is quite so much on the beach as it is. I knew there was a harbour. I knew there was a beach. I just hadn’t realised that the beach is so close to the town centre. It’s a bit like Lorne or any of the beach resorts on the Bellarine peninsula with loads of seasidy things to do, a fun fair, lots of horrid outlets selling horrid food, and one or two really nice places tucked away. We had lunch in the Beach Café, and a very nice prawn and avocado salad it was too. A huge bowl of salad! Then we found a little village tucked away down by the harbour. Ever so cute. Lots of houses facing across little courtyard style streets – I assume to protect them from the winter wind. We had such a lovely time pottering about by the seaside that we never did get into the centre to look at that.

Ian’s business associates had suggested that we go back along a road crossing the Cairngorms. So we did. And collected a good few bridges on the way. The Bridge of Feugh was charming. Ian spotted another pretty bridge while driving through the Dee Valley and abruptly stopped so we could admire it, thus causing consternation in the traffic behind us. Mind you, it was a lovely little bridge. There are lots of tiny, suspension footbridges crossing the Dee, but we didn’t stop to collect them. We did stop to collect the bridge we found loitering out in the wilds and seclusion of the Cairngorms. We stopped for a potter in Braemar. We tootled around in Dundee looking for somewhere sensible to eat. A forlorn hope, I fear. We collected the Tay Road Bridge - Pedestrians can walk across it in the middle! We didn’t, for while it is a not terribly prepossessing bridge it is immensely long. We did venture onto it to photograph the Railway Bridge, however.

Ian decided to go back to Edinburgh along the coast road and we fetched up in St Andrew’s where we found a golf course, a ruined cathedral, a ruined castle, and rather nice looking seafood restaurant next to the aquarium (!) which was, alas, booked out, and the Old Course Restaurant, which was not booked out. It overlooks the 18th hole of the old course, not to mention the magnificent expanse of beach. It also has magnificent food. Truly, truly magnificent food. Must take The Builder there one day. He would have appreciated the potato and cheese soufflé, the halibut and saffron prawns and certainly the cappuccino brulee with dark chocolate ice cream. Was tempted to tell him I had had fish, mash and ice cream for dinner – would have been true ….

Got back to Edinburgh around half eleven after a wonderful day exploring the East Coast and mountains of Scotland. I have collected my most northerly beach, bridge, seaside resort – my most northerly everything ever. Good fun. Packing up now, ready for our return to the Sidings this evening.

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