- Chris Jones
Day 64, 65. Tues & Wed 11th & 12th April. Stonehaven to Aberdeen.
It never ceases to amaze me just how welcoming and friendly the Masonic fraternity is. I had a fascinating visit to the Lodge, they didn't have a ceremony so there was a presentation by the Junior Warden, he had been busy spending months trying to decipher and digitise the Minutes of the Lodge. A fairly simple process in my mother lodge which is 55 years old and we only meet 6 times a year but The Lodge of Stonehaven No. 65 has minutes dating back to 1738, so 285 years and they meet twice a month for 8 months of the year... that's a lot of minutes.... a fascinating lecture and a lovely evening, the guys had a collection and the lodge matched it, an incredible £648...
thank you guys for a fantastic evening and for your generosity.
Checking out of the Belvedere hotel, I was chatting to Mick & Sheila after I had polished of an amazing full Scottish breakfast and Mick suggested that if I wasn't in a rush to get going, I would be welcome to stay another night, free of charge. Mick had served in the RAF in a previous life and had spent a lot of time in Lincolnshire. I wasn't in a rush and to be honest, I was very tired after the previous couple of days so I took my kit back up to the room and had a lovely relaxing day. A load of admin done, a walk around the town in my flip flops getting some air to my battered feet and an early night was just what I needed. Thank you Mick & Sheila, I hope to return to Stonehaven one day on the bike so hope to see you both again.
There is plenty to see in Stonehaven, not least the incredible war memorial built up on Black Hill looking down over the town. Scots accounted for one fifth of the UK's war dead during the First World War which included over 200 men from Stonehaven. An annual procession remember the fallen by walking from the town up Black Hill and I heard that this year is set to be the largest yet, hundreds of people are expected to March with as many motorcycles taking part in a road ride to the Cenetaph.
After an unexpected but much appreciated day off, I was back onto the coast and heading up towards Aberdeen. Plenty more of this stunning coastline to take in and some more challenging terrain to negotiate.
I ended up walking further than I intended, just under 18 miles, as once again, I couldn't find anywhere decent to pitch up for the night. I had been watching the sky behind me for a couple of hours, there was a huge storm kicking off and it was chasing me so to avoid getting a good soaking I needed to find a spot and get the tent up, hopefully somewhere out of the battering wind blowing up from the South East.
I was just south of Aberdeen near a little place called Cove when I found the spot, a flat area of grass behind a large rock formation which would protect me a bit from the wind. It had starting drizzling and I literally had just got into the tent and zipped it up when the heavens opened... it absolutely chucked it down for at least two hours, that was a close call which would have guaranteed a very uncomfortable night in the tent with everything dripping wet...