Day 7 would end at the Abercorn Guest House in Portobello, Edinburgh.
After the usual breakfast we had decided to take a more interesting route to Edinburgh than straight back through Glasgow and the motorway. So we set off straight north on the A819 to meet the A85 at the top of Loch Awe. Not a great distance, 23 km, but a great piece of road and never saw another car.
On the A85 we drove west until we met the A82 near Tyndrum where we pulled in at The Green Welly Stop to fill up and get a coffee. The Green Welly is an extremely popular place with bikers and this being a Sunday it was pretty busy. Having owned bikes in the past and knowing how good the roads were in the beamer, it must be fabulous to ride a quick bike up here. Not without it’s dangers, however, for the inexperienced rider. I’m not surprised that they’ve put speed camera’s everywhere.
We followed the A82 till we reached Crianlarich but the traffic was pretty heavy, a lot of which turned south with the A82 while we headed east on the A85 again. Traffic was still not what you’d call light, however, and we followed a line of caravans, campers, vans and other ‘steady’ drivers for quite some distance. The beamer is not that much fun to drive in this sort of traffic as I’m constantly having to change up and down between 4 and 5. Now and then the opportunity arose to overtake and I could drop it down to 3 and give it it’s head. By the time we’d cleared most of the traffic in front of us we’d reached Lochearnhead where we turned off, still following the A85 while the rest of the traffic seemed to follow the A84 south. The drive alongside Loch Earn was pleasant enough but after leaving the east end of the loch the scenery began to change and it was obvious that we’d left the beauty of the Trossachs National Park behind. We passed through Crieff but saw nothing there that enticed us to stop. The A85 meets the A9 just before Perth and we headed south to join the M90 a few kilometres further. The M90 was quite a pleasant drive as motorways go and we made a stop at the first services we came to. After making use of the amenities we walked back to the car to find a younger couple looking at the car. If I remember correctly they were from Sweden and had flown over and had a rental car. They weren’t too sure which model BMW it was, only that it was old, so I gave them the usual tour. They said that they’d rather be touring in the beamer than in their new hire car. I just smiled 🙂
It didn’t take long to reach the Forth Road Bridge and we stopped to take a couple of photo’s from the north side of the bridge at a view point. Just west of the original bridge they have started work building a new one to relieve the traffic congestion. On the southside of the bridge we pulled into South Queensferry where I took a couple of shots of the Forth Rail Bridge.
There is a myth about the Forth Rail Bridge. (quote from The Fortean Times)
The Forth Bridge is so big that as soon as maintenance crews have finished painting it, it’s time to start again. Thus, any task which can never be completed is said to be “like painting the Forth Bridge”.
The world’s first steel, long-span, cantilever bridge, opened in 1890, remains one of mankind’s greatest engineering achievements. As a modern symbol of Sisyphean labour, however, it’s useless. On reflection, starting at one end and painting doggedly towards the other would be a deeply inefficient approach to such an immense and dangerous job.
Sure enough, an inquiry to the Forth Bridges Visitor Centre Trust brought the categorical statement: “The bridge was never painted in that way. Different parts of the bridge suffer different levels of exposure to the elements; the maintenance schedules reflected that.”
It’s all academic: the bridge is currently having its famous red paint replaced with an epoxy resin expected to last for 20-30 years. In America, incidentally, the equivalent expression is “like painting the Golden Gate Bridge.”
After leaving South Queensferry we approached Edinburgh and found signs for The Royal Yacht Britannia which is moored in Leith Docks and is open to the public. This seemed like a interesting way to spend a couple of hours as I didn’t feel in the mood for dealing with the Edinburgh city centre rush having just left the peace of the highlands and islands. Since as long as I can remember Britannia has been regularly in the news with royal tours etc. so it was quite an experience to be able to walk around it. Not that I’m a royalist or anything but just the history of the ship alone.
The last few kilometres to our destination today was in some reasonably heavy traffic the likes of which we’d not seen in over a week.
The owners of Abercorn Guesthouse in Portobello are Angela and Willie, a lovely couple who made us extremely welcome. We didn’t feel like guests more like old friends and they made some room in the garden at the rear so I could park the beamer off the road. Willie is also a bit of a petrol head and has an old Mercedes which he has restored. After getting installed in the room we went out to take a walk down to the beach and along the promenade to find a pub called the Esplanade or Espy’s, as advised by Angela. She wasn’t wrong! They also do food but we fancied a curry in another local Indian restaurant she had recommended. Another fine day.