I had indulged in a world of vehicles that seemed at odds with my bicycling credentials and I began to feel guilty at having only achieved about 1 mile of pedaling, so I decided to clock up some tarmac along the Old Military Road towards Craigievar Castle.
There was some tough climbing, but I was rewarded with views of snowy landscapes and fast downhills. This was a popular route with cyclists- there were two large groups out for some speed trials and every single rider said hello as they passed me.
The castle was closed, but I decided to go and take a look anyway. There is a very steep half-mile driveway that was a mixture of snow and mud. My tyres skidded wildly and I struggled to keep up momentum.
Five more miles of cycling took me to the Peel Ring of Lumphanan. I saw this marked on my map and its curious name led me here. It is basically a mound of earth, but a very attractive mound of earth with a stony path leading to the top where there is a commanding view of the hills. In the early 1200s a castle was built here, but the true significance of this place is that King Macbeth was fatally wounded when making his last stand against the forces of Malcolm Canmore in 1057.
I felt this was the perfect place to sit, ponder and enjoy the piece and quiet. I took out my journal and scribbled some thoughts. Who needs a tea room with coffee and cake when you have this? The sun was setting and producing a nice blast of warmth that made it easy to stay longer.
The sun continued to provide my central heating for the return cycle. It was the time of day when most people are inside having dinner and watching television, so I had the roads to myself. I was not bound by the normal rules of doing certain things at certain times. It gave me a great sense of freedom and the desire to peddle forever and ever. I almost entirely forgot that my legs were propelling me and I had the sensation of floating along, surrounded by fields of white and near silence.