A rubber kilted rider in a vast expanse of heather
What hits me about the Scottish Lambscape is the color. Green and purple everywhere. The sky is a soft cashmere grey nearly all the time I’m up here, and this makes the green and purple more vivid. Suitable for the three week hallucination I’ve been enjoying. I’m on a vacation, and I’m staring out at purple hillsides named Heather. Lochs lie around, blue all day. Unswimmable frigid rivers weave toward the coast: Tay. Spey. Forth. Faff.
One day riding alone above the purple-green line, around the barren Cairngorm hilltops, two dozen evenly spaced white shapes mark the road. No, they are moving along the road, coming my way: sheep in search of…something…something that a biker doesn’t have…and they turn clumsily around and trot back downhill.
I want to see plaid, and my first sighting is draped over the arm of a young German tourist with £300 worth of custom medium-weight tartan (2 tonic clan) custom sewn for him. His weekend will be competing in highland pipes. “Please can I pet your skirt?” I beg.
He allows me to fondle the tightly ironed pleats, way thicker wool than I’ve ever felt.
He and a hundred other pipers of all sizes (but not all genders) will blow themselves blue all day, but I will be so busy trying to find out where my loaner bike is hiding that I won’t get a chance to climb the hill to the hotel where their Blow-Off is being contested. Damn.
In the Sue Ryder Charity Shop (their version of a thrift shop) there are plenty of pleated wool skirts, too bad they’re all in solid colors. I buy ’em anyway (for you, dear reader, for you) and get some argyle socks to boot.
For the Singlespeed World Championship, I’ve made a rubber and wool fringed kilt, in hopes of affronting someone. But this crowd is determinedly wacky, and every imaginable sartorial insult is being thrown down at the start line of the popular event. Half naked supermen. Cross dressing. 70’s polyester. My sequined sporran (man-purse worn front and center) hides a secret. Maybe I’ll show you some day. Here’s a televised account of the merriment. I rode a borrowed Singular bike from the very generous Singular Sam.
Ever off-colour, yr faithfull correspondent