Another day of horrible weather: driving rain, headwinds, and no scenery to speak of, or see.
So bad, in fact, that I took no photos all day, as my camera wasn’t rated for underwater use. I felt angry, cold, and very wet.
Breakfast was a Selkirk Bannock, a ‘rich and buttery leavened tea bread’, ie a bread cake the size of a car wheel with too many currants that could serve as ballast for a submarine. Selkirk rating: Alexander.
In Kinross I had a good strong coffee and pancake, or possibly crumpet, depending on whether you believed the menu or the bill. But then it was back to the very wet grindstone and more torrential rain.
In Perth I tried to dry my clothes in a launderette, but was told I couldn’t put them in the tumble dryer without washing them first because of Health and Safety.
I saw one ball of the Ashes test in a television shop window as I passed. England lost a wicket.
Lunch at a bakery-cafe was ‘stovies’, another local speciality for my theme. This was a schooldinnerish plateful of diced boiled spuds slightly mashed round the edges – rather like me, still, after the night of too much wine in Coldstream – onions and chunks of meat, and accompanied by two oatmeal cakes. It was stodgy but good filling stuff for a cold wet day. Stove rating: Betty.
I trudged on through the rain up the A9. I was making some slow progress now the wind had dropped, but so had my spirits.
At Pitlochry I had some good news at last. I was too late for the tour of Bell’s Distillery, but the helpful kilted bloke on reception gave me a free nip of the rather excellent 12-year-old Blair Atholl to warm me up. Bell rating: Bob Major.
I found a b&b, thawed out in the shower, and got dry for the first time in nine hours. Today was the solstice, the longest day of the year: it had certainly felt like it.
Dinner was haggis, neaps and tatties from a ‘Scottish bistro’. The veg was slightly mushy-tasting, but the haggis rich and darkly spicy, and a nip or two of whisky was the perfect accompaniment. Water of life rating: We won’t make a dram out of a crisis.
I finished the evening off with a couple of pints of 80 Shilling of forgotten brand in a forgotten pub. They tasted curiously of whisky, though that may have been wishful thinking. Shilling rating: Eightpence three-farthings.
Miles today: 58
Miles since Land’s End: 943