Saturday, 7 June 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

Dashing off to catch the northbound train, knowing I was unprepared was one problem.Beyond the first two nights, I hadn't a clue where the next bed was coming from. Settled into my seat and checking the rucksack, to find I was also unequipped (I'd forgotten the maps! ) was another.
Working on the basis of "something will turn up" It did, in my head. Walking up a deserted Princes Street, with the wonderful view of the castle silhouetted against the night sky, I made up my mind. I liked Cities. All this country walking malarkey is fine during the day, but at night...well, it's all about choice and facilities. And so it made perfect sense to base myself in Inverness/Edinburgh and commute on the "City Link" bus service. As to the second problem, following the cycle route through the Cairngorms shouldn't prove to much of a problem, once I'd worked out how to get out of Inverness to reach it.
Peering intently at the map on the wall in the youth hostel the obligingly helpful young assistant came to my rescue. And so, clutching the map he'd printed out for me, I headed 3 miles through the industrial suburbs to reach the "General Wade Military Road" and beyond, through Daviot Woods to pick up the cycle trail. Easy, peasy and I was loving it. Walking through woodlands on a well marked track, what could be better? Three cheers for General Wade! and "So say all of us" said the Highlanders. Commissioned to spend taxpayers money creating a network of straight roads into the Highlands, for the purpose of controlling the marauding clans, Wade succeeded in leaving them a useful transportation system for a future industrial revolution.
So fast forward to the 21st Century, no map was no problem, and with the ever frequent "Route 7" blue cycle signs, it wasn't long before I reached the A9 and the bus stop back to Inverness.
Delighted to find I'd been upgraded to "West Side 2" (which meant it had a cupboard in addition to the bed and chair) I happily stowed my belongings away in the knowledge that this was now "home" for the next three nights and went to find somewhere to eat.
Prepared for an early night, why then wasn't I tucked up by 10pm? Because walking back up the hill to the hostel, passing a restaurant, I was being beckoned in to join a party. Pausing for a second, I made up my mind. Well, it had been a pleasant but quite uneventful day, and after all, I had a "Blog" to write.
So before you could say "Let's go living in the past" I was introduced to the band, and road crew of the "Jethro Tull" 2008 tour. Wow! last seen at Bridlington Spa in 1972, I had to ask the burning question "Could Ian A. still leap around the stage like a demented pixie on pro plus?" Not quite it seemed, and neither could I get to see what he was capable of in 2008, as tomorrow nights concert was sold out.
Tempting as it was to join them for "one for the road" at the Irish Bar I took the mature and sensible decision to carry on up the hill back to my cell.