We left the hostel at ten and rode up the gradually ascending lane to Loch Muick, bothered by insects in the heat and humidity. We were surprised how many cars passed us on the single track road, the big car park at the end was overflowing with vehicles on the verges by the “Please do not park on the verge” signs and in passing places.
Lovely relaxing eight mile walk, passing a large boarded up house which was the home not of Lord Muick but of Queen Victoria who lived here after the death of Prince Albert. This is a very royal area, close to Balmoral and Braemar, many of the businesses in Ballater have the royal coat of arms above their premises to signify that they provide services to the family. The railway was originally intended to terminate at Braemar but Victoria was concerned that the great unwashed would get too close to Balmoral so the line terminated at Ballater from where she was taken on by horse drawn carriage.
A few drops of rain fell as we unlocked the bikes but we hadn’t ridden far when it broke out into a thunderstorm with lightning cracking close by. We raced back, arriving thoroughly soaked at the hostel to find that the village had lost its power supply. There was sufficient hot water for showers so we dried off and eventually the electricity supply was restored. The rain had stopped so we walked across to the Co-op but they’d decided to close early rather than wait to see if the power would return. We booked a table at the “Indian on the Green” restaurant which turned out to be excellent.