A December Delight (MFD ride, Sunday 5th December)
For once it seemed all the stars had aligned in my favour. Day care for the poorly dog pre-arranged; weather forecast indicating – for the first time in over a week – an absence of rain, snow, hail, sleet, gales and ice; a sensible route plan that should be achievable in the limited December daylight; a friendly, kind and diligent ride leader (Imogen).
Others had clearly spotted the opportunity too. After a week of atrocious weather, pent up demand resulted in a healthy, thirteen-strong crowd of us gathering at 9:30 am at Airyhall library. We looked well equipped for all that the skies might throw at us as we energetically exchanged horror stories of post-Arwen power outages etc.
Quite a mixed group, speed-wise, but Imogen ensured without fuss that all of us made it to Flora’s Refill for elevenses as planned. By now the sun was peeking through the clouds and, while no-one was going to need the Factor 50, the Aberdeenshire landscape was glowing a gentle gold in the weak mid-winter light.
Now the group split into three, with one lot heading home, a second grouping, perhaps not yet trusting the quality of refreshments at the new era Flora’s, pressed on without coffee, and just three of us, Rod, John S and myself stuck with Imogen and went inside the café. After a thoroughly enjoyable calorie boost (scones and flapjack both recommended) we set out northwards for Inverurie. There was just enough headwind for me to be grateful for some bigger stronger riders up front!
At Rod’s instigation, and with Imogen’s agreement, we slightly extended her planned route, arriving at Ross’s, just after 1 pm, after a delightful pedal along the back roads via Sauchen and Bernhervie. Here Rod left us. His nearby home, and presumably a home-cooked Sunday lunch, beckoned.
Ross’s was bustling and busy, but our teas and toasties arrived after only a small delay. I’ll confess I was anxious to get going again, mindful of the already fading daylight. In the event, taking a fairly direct route, we made it back to the street lamps of the city just before darkness fell. And although we had on occasion throughout the day to negotiate post-storm debris strewn across the tarmac, thankfully we encountered no more serious obstacles, despite reports that several roads were still blocked by fallen trees.
A ride in December doesn’t get much better, and many thanks to ride leader Imogen for making it all happen.