Lisa (rwrylsin) wrote,

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An Eventful Weekend

We spent the weekend in Aberdeen, so missed all the excitement of a terrorist attack on our home airport.
The government are trying to talk it up of course, as this is the new PMs big chance to be seen as a Strong Leader in Times Of Trouble. General commentary however, from LJ to TV, seems to be more along the lines of 'What a bunch of incompetent amateurs'.
One fellow on TV was explaining that the IRA, they knew how to build a proper car bomb. Hell, even the Iraqi separatists have figured out how to use mobile phones as detonators. (Which begs the question, why has no one banned these mobile phones that are clearly such useful terrorist tools?).

I fear I was waiting for him to launch into a proper rant about how all the real terrorists are tied up in the middle east, it's impossible to get a competent one in the UK any more (and if you do find one they never show up when they say they will). And why can't this country produce local, home grown terrorists any more? It's the fault of education policy you know, the appalling state of the science curriculum, and where are kids going to get practical experience? Most of them don't even know how to build a molotov cocktail these days. There's more to blowing things up than a recipe on the internet you know.

Ahem. Anyway, according to the papers bystanders heroically intervened to keep the terrorists from running away before police arrived. According to the Glaswegians, the locals gave the idiots a good kicking before the police arrived.
Glasgow does have a reputation to uphold. I like Glaswegians.

For our part, we drove up to Aberdeen Friday night and made very good time to reach the B&B before 9:30. We were staying at Arkaig Guest House, a generally very good B&B relatively close to the fencing venue. Only problem is their decision to provide complicated dual-alarm digital clocks that are nigh impossible to figure out without
a manual. This meant being woken at midnight when ours went off despite us not setting it or realising it was set, and then again at 6:30 when the neighbouring (vacant) room's alarm went off and beeped away loudly for an hour before someone attended to it.

Anyway, we fenced. In my case not too badly for someone with interrupted sleep and who hasn't been training very hard for the last month. I am a little concerned at how tired and out of breath I was in the last bout though, apparently I need to go back to my customised interval CV training at the gym, the machine one obviously isn't pushing me hard enough.
Was beaten in the final by the visiting German. I need to be 100% with it to have even a chance against this tall and speedy fencer, and I wasn't that. Happily in the semi's I did beat the person who won last year, a very convincing 5-15. I can tell she was getting frustrated by the large welts on my right leg and arm. Haven't had welts in a long time.
It was a gloriously sunny day, which we didn't see much of since we were fencing.

In the evening we had a hard decision, watch Dr Who or have dinner. We were very hungry and opted for dinner, will catch up on the episode in due course. Joined some fencers in a cocktail bar afterward, tried a raspberry concoction which was nice, but about three times as large as I would have liked so I was thoroughly sick of it by the end of the glass.

Sunday was tourist day, so of course it was wet and grey. As we tried to escape Aberdeen I noted that low cloud was hiding the top half of some highrise blocks. It did this to us last year as well.
Slains Castle - Cliff view
We were castle hunting, and frankly the weather conditions favoured the castles. As we hit the coast thick white fog managed to hide the entire North Sea, castles would have no trouble finding cover in it.
We did however manage to find the unsigned carpark for Slains Castle. Actually it did have one small sign, which said something to the effect of 'Please do not fall off the cliffs'. Surrounded by a featurless white landscape, we followed my nose, then the sound of sea birds, and eventually the castle loomed out of the fog and rain.
Slains provided the inspiration for the castle in Bram Stokers Dracula. Apparently it wasn't ruined then, but a good 80 years on coastal cliffs without a roof has very quickly made a mess of things. It's very large and interesting, but hard to get a good feel for the layout when you can't see from one end of it to the other for fog. I suspect it has spectacular coastal views when you can see them.
At least the rain eventually stopped, so I could take a few photos without the lens getting wet.

Splash of Colour
We slogged back to the car and turned south, next stop was Dunnottar castle.
The fog was variable on the drive, but the castle area was as thoroughly hidden as Slains had been. The rain mostly held off again, so more photos of a foggy castle ensued, and some of the nearby waterfall. More spectacular coastal scenery was not seen.

Claypotts Castle
On the drive south I couldn't help but notice a trend for large castles to be in areas of dense fog. We passed Glamis Castle shrouded in mist, Stirling was also looking rather fuzzy. We lucked out in Dundee though, Claypotts Castle is too small and insignificant to attract it's own cloudbank, so we were able to take some photos in glorious sunshine.

Arrived in Glasgow to find the M8 at a crawl, and an attempt to cut through the city didn't help as the traffic chaos extended throughout and more roads were closed for work. It was also bucketing rain to the point where roads were bursting their banks. Um. Was very glad to finally collapse at home for the evening.

Slains Castle in Fog
More photos in the Scrapbook.
Tags: castle, fencing, politics, weather

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