To Aberdeen by bicycle via Drum Castle

We cycled back from Banchory to Aberdeen yesterday and it was rather hellish. I thought I was going to die. We arrived home and I collapsed in a heap with a very sore butt and feeling sorry for myself. I’ve decided to give up cycling for good. Just kidding 🙂

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Banchory Lodge and none of us wanted to leave on Sunday morning. I love these British hotels that are each unique, without the soulless furnishings of a large hotel chain, and also a little rough around the edges. We stuffed our faces at breakfast and enjoyed lovely views of the River Dee.IMG_1891

IMG_1886

IMG_1888

Here’s the view from my chair:

IMG_1897

I like this photo of the kids and the painting above them:

IMG_1907

The day started rainy and overcast so I was thinking we’d have a nice cool cycle back to Aberdeen and dressed accordingly but the sun came out and it got hot again.

IMG_1927

A close-up of the flowers behind me in that previous pic:

IMG_1938_2

Someone yesterday asked to see a photo of my hairy legs. Here you go:

IMG_1959_2

Ok, so that’s not really a photo of my hairy legs 🙂

A couple of pics outside the lodge before we left:

IMG_1916

IMG_1919

The part of the Deeside cycleway between Banchory and Crathes is just lovely; my favourite part of the whole trip. It’s very leafy, quiet, flat, and right beside the River Dee. This particular section is not tarmac but it was still easy enough to cycle along. It was not like the gravelly bits in some of the other places which I found quite arduous. Busby is not a mountain bike and cycling on gravel is hard. The section between Drumoak and Peterculter is the worst part with lots of gravel and hills. In fact, it’s so awful that we went back an alternative route which was better.

We wanted to visit Drum Castle on the way home which is slightly off the track so we ventured away from the cycleway and along the main road to the castle. We were so exhausted by the time we got there that I think we spent more time resting in the castle café than walking around the castle itself. We’re going to have to go back for another visit to see it properly. There was quite a long hill up to the castle and I ended up making the kids get out of the bike and walk the last stretch. Cycling uphill without kids was easy peasy. I’m seriously considering getting an electric motor for my bike.

IMG_1944

IMG_1946_2

Drum Castle is gorgeous even though we didn’t even get to see it all. The grounds are huge and there are lots of walks you can do as well as a children’s playground. The café is right at the bottom of the castle in what looks like the old kitchen. Since we spent so much time in there here are a couple of pics of it:

IMG_1950_2

IMG_1951

Aberdeen Art Gallery is currently undergoing some renovations and the collections have been moved to various other locations in the area including to Drum Castle. This means that not only is there all the usual stuff to see at a castle – gardens, woods, architecture, furniture, history, sculptures etc – there’s also an art gallery. It was just lovely.

Eventually we hopped back on our bikes for the final stretch home. Unfortunately I drank too many cups of tea in the café and ended up desperate for the dunny the whole way back. I couldn’t very well crouch behind a bush after all my rants about men pissing in the city centre so I had to put up with the discomfort. I’ve probably given myself permanent kidney damage now. This along with a headache, sore throat, sore arse, and a general feeling of un-wellness made what was really only a 1-2 hour trip feel more like 4 hours. But I made it home without wetting my pants and that’s the main thing 🙂