- Chris Jones
Day 71 & 72. Sun 23-Mon 24 April. Fraserburgh to Macduff.
Updated: May 19
Lying in my pit last night, at 9pm !!! I was actually thinking about getting up and going for a swim in the morning. Being a Sunday, I was thinking a good swim, visit the lovely looking church opposite the leisure centre then down to Weatherspoons for a big breakfast, that's got to be the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.
I did sleep well but woke up to the wind and rain battering my tent, despite being on a campsite and nicely tucked in behind the office block. I climbed out of the tent to find that I was also pitched right in the middle of the Fraserburgh seagulls bombing range !!! there was bird shit everywhere... the filthy bastards, we've all been on the coast and have seen and heard the seagulls but I've never seen anything like 'The Brugh', as it's effectionatly named by the natives. The gulls are as big as dogs, they sit on the edges of the buildings and on the tops of the lampposts, indiscriminately chucking bucket loads of shit everywhere. Literally, bucket loads of the stuff, it is everywhere... I was walking along the path and heard this huge splash behind me, looked back and I swear, if I'd have been a few seconds later, I'd have been drowned in it... anyway, by the time I'd cleaned the outside of the tent, I had to go and get another hot shower so I'd lost interest in the swim. The church service was nice, a beautiful building, inside and out, if you look past the 'whitewash' all over the decorative stonework !!! There was mention in the service about a new flag for Aberdeenshire being unveiled in the town square so breakfast, watch the parade and start walking early afternoon became the plan.
A very nice chap approached me at the till in spoons, he had spotted me across the room and recognised me from the lodge meeting at Inversaintcairn, he insisted on paying for my breakfast which was very good of him. I'd also met up with David a few times over the past few days, David is the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for this province, he met me for a coffee when I arrived in Fraserbrough, returned the next day to open the lodge to show me around and he also arranged a donation from his Mother Lodge. I might have mentioned it before, they are awfully good chaps these Freemasons you know and David was certainly a leader in being a top man.
I got walking at about 2pm, a steady enough Sunday was afoot, the weather was crap, it was raining on and off, and the wind was blowing a hooley off the sea, my intention was to get out of town and find a decent place to pitch and consider the day as a part rest day. I'd only been walking for 15 minutes when I noticed a car stopped up in front of me with a chap stood by the car, clearly waiting for me... he was the Master from the lodge at Rosehearty who welcomed me and told me that there would be a welcoming committee at the lodge in roughly an hour and a half which would be how long it would take me to walk there. My plan for the day was changing, it was no longer 'my' plan.
The weather was annoying me, cold, wet and very windy and to be honest, I was feeling a bit low. It was my wife Michelle's birthday and I had received a FaceTime call from her just as I started walking. I was made up that our family had surprised her and descended on her unannounced with lots of food and drink to celebrate her birthday, her parents, our 3 kids with partners and the 3 grandkids, they were all having a lovely time and Michelle knew nothing of their plans so it was great that she wasn't on her own for her birthday. I guess I was feeling a bit cheesed off that I wasn't there with them all, I was getting battered by this unrelenting wind and the rain was getting heavier, I was in real danger of tripping over my bottom lip. 😖
Passing through a tiny village, I stopped in a bus stop to get out of the wind, sort my feet out and to have a wee. Not to have wee in the bus stop obviously, that would be wrong. I got my boots off for a minute or two to get some air around my feet, packed up and moved on, completely forgetting to nip around the back for a leak. I couldn't believe it when a minute or two later, a sign above the door of a small building caught my eye...
Surely not, a Masonic pub, it couldn't be, could it ?? I tried the door, it fell open and I fell in, much to the surprise of the guys stood propping up the bar... "och, it's the polis", I heard one of them say, I guess because he saw the bright yellow rain cover on my rucksack. Stripping off my hood I assured them I wasn't the rozzers, no panic, I was just a cold wet Mason that struggles to pass either a Masonic sign or an open pub, without stoping for a look...
They welcomed me in, gave me a guided tour of the lodge room attached to the back of the pub and we chatted in the warmth of the bar over a couple of pints. All of the guys were Masons, one an ex RAF engineer that had fond memories of his time training to be a 'crab' at RAF Swinderby... we had a good laugh about what waste of time that clearly was, training to keep fit, look smart and become a highly motivated airman. The scruffy bugger was well past three quarters shitfaced by 2pm on a Sunday afternoon, he'd not been for a run in a while, I'm guessing it had been a few years since he'd seen his wedding tackle without the use of a mirror !!! 😫 I'm being cruel, they were lovely guys, they had a whip round and sent me packing as they were heading to their homes for their Sunday dinners and no doubt the obligatory afternooon nap on the sofa. Masonic pubs, could they be the future... 🍺🤩
It took me about an hour to walk to Rosehearty, I found the lodge after a while wandering around the village, the building shown on my map was incorrect. The guys had given up waiting and had gone home but fortunately one of them had seen me walking past his window so he came running out and opened up for me. It was far to late for a coffee so while we waited for the others to reappear, the beer fridge was raided and we got stuck into the Tennents.
I'm beginning to believe in fate more and more as this adventure plays out. When I said I was planning on finding somewhere to pitch up, one of the guys protested on account of the fact that it was hammering down with rain and blowing a force 9. Five minutes later and after a phone call, I was booked into the hotel along the street, believe it or not, owned and run by a Freemason !!!
What a lovely little hotel it was too. Recently gutted and very tastefully renovated so everything was brand new. I had a lovely meal, a couple more pints with a bunch of the guys who always meet up on a Sunday evening for a pint. I slept like a baby and after an excellent breakfast in the morning, I was feeling much more positive and ready for another day.
Thank you to everyone at the Davron Hotel, a perfect location for a motorcycle tour taking in a lodge visit, I will be back, with my mates. 👍
It didn't turn out to be such a bad Sunday after all. I'd missed out on Michelle's Birthday celebrations and on St George's Day celebrations which had made me feel quite low. Fortunately though, I had once again, quite accidentally bumped into some incredibly lovely people who made it their aim to welcome me and look after me as one of their own.
I relearn this lesson over and over, if you're feeling low, get up, plaster a smile on, get out and meet people, especially strangers. The world is full of lovely people who you will miss unless you get out there.
Monday tomorrow, we love Mondays, don't we ...
Still raining, still blowing a hooley, what a crap days walk... absolutely no chance of staying near the coast so had to walk on roads all day. Just under 15 miles walking along the side of the road, couldn't listen to any music as I had to listen for the cars coming from behind and in front. Lots of blind bends and blind summits in the road and the cars were coming that fast from both ways I spent all day leaping up onto the verge to avoid ending up as road kill !!!
A complete white out nearly finished me off when a car coming from behind narrowly missed a head on smash with a car coming from my front, both of them driving to fast in the snow storm. I threw myself up the verge falling flat on my face... 🤬 I was not happy but the driver of one of the cars came back, apologised and offered me a lift to get off the road. It was only a mile to the town but I was very grateful.
My mate dropped me off in the most Scottish sounding place in the whole of Scotland, Macduff... I needed a hot shower and a bed.