The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen

I think it’s fair to say I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this weekend’s flying visit to Aberdeen – there’s something about the prospect of taking 6 trains in less than 36 hours, plus of course navigating a strange city with a non-existent sense of direction, oh AND worrying that you might be about to hold a campaigning cycle ride and nobody comes.

Fortunately I was wrong on all counts. For a start, the train ride from Edinburgh to Aberdeen is a bit of a stunner, even if you sit on the wrong side of the train. Especially when October has decided it is, in fact, September, or maybe even May…

crossing the Tay by train

Crossing the Tay on the train.

And then, it turns out that if you want to cycle from Aberdeen station to the Deeside railway cycle path (which, as it happens, I did), then the signposting passes the exceptionally challenging ‘can I follow it without once getting lost’ test. This is, in my experience, a first.* For all other journeys, I had the services of a native guide, and it turns out that there are a few routes that don’t involve putting on your big girl pants and being beeped at by every driver who passes.

Aberdeen Esplanade

Am I the only person in Scotland who didn’t realise that Aberdeen has miles of glorious sandy beach, right by the centre of the city? I mean, you’d have to be part polar bear to actually want to swim there, but even so…

I’ll write about the actual campaign ride elsewhere but Aberdeen has enough brave souls willing to take to a bike to make it worth while, and we even got some politicians out to talk to us, if not actually join us on two wheels.

Joan Mc Alpine and Aileen McLeod

As a special bonus, I also got to see the Most Scottish Artwork Ever.

tunnocks art

All in all, a very satisfactory 36 hours.

* Aberdeen also has some mysterious signs which are just a picture of a bike on a blue rectangle, which don’t seem to signify anything at all. After a while, I realised that they were there as an aide-memoire to Aberdeen’s motorists, to remind them what a bike looks like so that every time they see one they can give it a friendly honk.

4 Responses to The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen

  1. Thank you so much for your wit and photography.

    Where can I buy “We Walk,We Cycle, We Vote” T shirts, please?


  2. disgruntled says:

    At the moment, only at one of our events … but we’re reviewing the situation as people seem to be quite keen on them

  3. Charles says:

    The tee shirts seem to be very good at bringing out the sunshine. Are they blessed? I could do with one in ASntwerp becuase its cold grey and damp, looks like Belgium has your weather. (This is another charles before confusion sets in, I am the one who has just exchanged on a house in Somerset and if I survive the move have plans for garden conquest and cycling )

  4. disgruntled says:

    Thanks, I was getting confused by all the Charleses

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