We arose to leaden but clearing skies. I joined my breakfast companion, the other renter, and we chatted about his job and my trip. He was from the western side of Scotland and rotated on a monthly basis to his telephone job, consulting in various cities. He returned home infrequently. Tracy and Earl ate at Crawford's Pastries/Bakery, Tracy's favorite national food chain. I paid our agreed upon £13 for the room, and we were off. It began sprinkling as we followed the road curving out of town.
Rding the "B" roads to Arbroath, the scenery was constantly changing! So fast, and yet we were traveling so slowly, perhaps as much as an average daily speed of 12 mph. Deep in pastoral thoughts, enjoying the quiet rode, a horse trailer passed me. A beautiful chestnut head stretched out toward me. I admired his alert ears and long well-groomed mane and neck. He leaned further toward me; I considered reaching towards his soft muzzle. Before I knew it, he tried to bite me! After the immediate adrenalin rush, I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or be just plain furious. I nearly dumped my bike, I was so startled. So much for pastoral thoughts while riding country roads....
The drizzle stopped; I began removing rain gear. Shortly, it began to lightly rain. I put everything back on. On/off, on/off.
We rejoined in Arbroath. The drizzle ended, this time sans rainbow. Usually I brought rain when we regroupedÉand had affectionately (I hope) become known as the Rain Goddess. I often found Tracy and Earl sitting by the side of the road, reading, while waiting for me. They had learned that when the pages on their books dampen, my arrival was imminent.
On the outskirts of Dundee, I got my only flat tire tyre. No small zzzzing leak, this - a full explosive blowout. Naturally it was the rear tire...I removed all my gear from the back of the bike, piling it along the edge of the curb. Rufus, sleeping equipment, panniers. It looked like too much to fit on two bicycles!
The long auto bridge from Dundee to the St. Andrews peninsula has a bike/pedestrian lane down the middle - but a nasty flight of steep narrow metal grating stairs up to it. Riding down the middle of this bridge between the traffic lanes gave me a feeling of scrambled directions - should I have traffic on my right as is preferred in the U.K., or my left, as it is at home? Each seemed both natural and awkward. I was adjusting, slowly, to this new "wrong way" traffic direction.
Scottish thistles still line the roadsides, about two weeks from bursting forth in lively purple dress. intermingled with red poppies.
There were so many things happening, so many sights and sounds and impressions, I could not keep track of them all, much less get all written down. I needed a small tape recorder. Traveling so slowly, sensory overload occurs long before the day has ended. A car travels the miles quickly in cocooned isolation. A bicyclist has the opportunity to see, smell, hear and feel the day in slow motion.
Together during the last 30 miles into St. Andrews, we were blessed with a little bit of sunlight. We pedaled through St. Andrews en route to the caravan park where we spent the night. Again, a long hill to get to our campground. It was a pleasant place with the tenting area set back behind the lines of motor homes. As second-class citizens we were relegated to the best, in our opinion, area of the park - next to the creek with a pasture of black and white Jacob's horned sheep across the back fence, and across the road from cud-munching cows.
St. Andrews is an attractive town with one major commercial street lined with a variety of eating establishments and clothing stores. It is a Real Golfer's ultimate experience, so the tourist trade is well catered to. We located the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral to both visit and inquire about an evening masque. We've seen many colorful fliers posted on trees advertising "The Masque at St. Andrews," and having no idea what a masque we investigated
A masque is allegorical dramatic entertainment performed by masked actors, in this case, an annual event featuring townspeople of every age. This masque, divided into three sections, delineated the fascinating history of St. Andrews :
- the why and how of the arrival of St. Andrew;
- the creation of the university; and
- the development of the game of golf.
The production made liberal use of natural scenes - the sea, the cathedral ruins, and the grassy knoll along the cliffs, and the audience tromped around the grounds, from "scene" to "scene." Tickets for the masque were inexpensive enough that the guys could afford it.
[As I write, sheep are bleating, three horses just clip-clopped past my tent while a stream burbles down its bed 50 ft. away. My tent and sleeping bag are working well - although this is only the second night of use. For this trip I think it would have been less expensive to stay in B&B's and hostels. There certainly would have been less weight to carry, but I wouldn't then hear the sheep being herded to bed by three small children. (There are two loose Jacob's sheep meandering and grazing through the caravan park! What fun!)]