Monday 14th November Fresh SW
Mild and mostly sunny, a lovely day. 14C
Scanes of pink-footed geese fly overhead as I pass Montrose Basin, an large inland estuarine habitat. No time to stop at the superb Visitor's Centre sadly; I need to push on.
Push it is as I climb a hill towards Arbroath. The wind at the top is in my face yet again and becoming rather tiresome. I need a strategy to stop what I call the demons from dominating my thoughts. At times like this, when every day is a long cycle ride, negative thoughts take over the eternal conversation inside my head. Incidents from my past turn up vividly, especially those involving my late wife, Karen. Why the sad or bad ones? Recent political events take over. Disappointment and disgust. Climate change, thoughts of the people who deny it is happening.
I pass some large wind turbines.
Happy thoughts required. After over twenty two months on the road I know what to do. I choose a holiday destination from the past, Disneyland Paris. One replete with wonderful moments, as a family of husband and wife with four children we went there a lot.
In my mind I can see ever attraction, every pathway, even every toilet! I choose a circular route, clockwise.
I start with arrivals. The first time with my own two children, Rebecca and Joshua. I had driven to Paris from Wolverhampton, taking an overnight ferry and they being so young at the time, seven and five years old, had no idea they were near Disneyland.
Their faces as we came up to the archway entrance brought tears to my eyes then. The memory of that moment makes me laugh out loud and tear up again. I remember how poor I was at the time, 1993 and how when my second wife divorced me, I promised my children that one day I would take them to Disneyland. Well we may have had to camp instead of enjoy the expensive luxury of Disneyland Hotels but we had made it there.
Another memory, Joshua with a twig and a short length of fishing line, a hook and a worm, caught a small trout! Delicious addition to a meal shared with a family in the tent next to ours.
Another arrival, once more the children having no idea where they were. This time though with four children. I had met and married my late wife and she had two children, Claire and Sarah. Whilst staying at my brother Paul's house in Brittany Karen and I took the children to 'the beach', or so they were told. Leaving very early in the morning, with four children sleeping in the back of the car, their ages now so perfect at ten, nine, eight and seven, I drove to Paris. Only when Rebecca and Claire, the two oldest, noticed Disneyland signs on the motorway about ten miles before the famed destination, did the penny drop. Their faces captured in a photograph, comes into my mind to dispel all the negatives.
Through Arbroath and a wonderful cycle path is adjacent to the busy dual carriageway practically all the way to Dundee. It has great tarmac and the almost flat landscape means that the cycling is reasonably easy despite the wind.
31.41 miles 1131 feet elevation up 1104 down