Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Actual Trip: Day 9

Hello and Happy Easter from Dunfermline! The longest drive of the trip was today (384 miles) and despite Bing thinking it would take 11 hours, I did it in about 8 and a half. Probably something to do with the lack of traffic, what with it being Easter Sunday and all. I'm finding that the Bing predictions on journey times are very accurate for town driving, but seem to assume an average speed of about 45mph out of town. I can assure you, I was averaging a little bit more than that on the A9 this morning!
The view from the A9

I'd actually been the only guest staying overnight at the Nethercliffe Hotel in Wick, which felt a bit odd. I felt a tiny bit guilty about getting other people up on Easter Sunday morning to cook me breakfast, but then again I was paying them for it. What with a cooked meal beyond the quality of a fast food restaurant looking unlikely for the rest of the day I filled up on a hearty cooked breakfast to keep me going.

With a full tummy I headed off down the A99 and A9 towards Inverness, taking in the scenery at 60mph. The hundred and a bit miles from Wick to Inverness was therefore covered in about 2 hours, with a brief stop for some photos. There are some great bridges on that road and even a couple of hairpins for good measure. First stop was in a layby just beyond Inverness, which I hadn't realised was a stones-throw from Nairn which actually had a car park and probably a bit more to see than some fields.
Probably as good as the weather got today.

The next 2 hour stint was along the north coast of that bit of Scotland that sticks out on the east coast. Went through Elgin, which had about 6 more roundabouts than necessary and around the new bypass of Fochabers. It was then along to the seafront at Buckie and the wonderfully named Portknockie. By the time I got to Banff I noticed a dramatic change in the scenery: everything was looking far more flat. It was almost East Anglian, and actually not very exciting to look at.

Lunchtime occurred at  Fraserburgh, where it was raining. Now, I always like to try to be positive about the places I'm visiting, and I'm sure the people who live there think it's quite nice and make an effort to pretty it up, but Fraserburgh was just a bit... depressing. Perhaps not helped by the rain and half the shops being shut while the other half were boarded up, but really. To be fair, it surely must suffer a bit from its geographical location; it's not somewhere anyone would have to go through to get to anywhere else, unless you're me.

After lunch I was heading south again, through Peterhead and down the A975, a great bit of road with a bridge across the really wide River Ythan. On to Aberdeen, where, yes, I got lost a bit as I hadn't been clear enough to myself in my directions. Back onto the A90 dual carriageway I was soon at Stonehaven where I turned off onto the A92 towards Montrose. Stopped just after Montrose as I hadn't been able to see any signs in Montrose for a car park; perhaps they don't have one. From here the drive did become a little bit of a slog if I'm being honest.
Lunan Bay by the A92.

Down to Carnoustie I was in golfing territory, and it was then along to Dundee with a brief highlight there of the bridge over the Tay. Through more golf courses it was then on to St. Andrews which oozed with history and an air of royal love stories. And then it was just a lot of dawdling about along the north coast of the Firth of Forth eventually getting to Kirkcaldy. Beyond there things were a bit more exciting with views across the Forth to Edinburgh, and of course much admiring of the Forth Rail Bridge. Would have stopped for photos but it was getting late and I needed the loo!

Got to Dunfermline and the end of the route for today at about half 6 and was expecting to charge up the M90 to the Travelodge. However there were roadworks and a 40mph limit for the entire stretch that I was using, so I ambled at moderate speed. Tomorrow is a much shorter drive, but the longest list of directions for the entire trip as I make my way back into England once again.

No comments:

Post a Comment