Thursday, 5 April 2012

Aboyne Spring and Anglesey

The  Deeside town of Aboyne set a new Scottish record March temperature of 23.6C during the recent fine weather, only to be covered in snow a week later. So, is The Aboyne Spring, another metaphor for false hopes, like the over-hyped Arab Spring which has flowered more poppies than bluebells so far? No. Spring and summer will come to Aboyne as usual, but the citizens of Egypt and Libya probably face winters of discontent as they struggle to replace their deposed tyrants with something better. The trouble is they can't agree on what that should be. For democracy to flower, voters have to trust that whoever gets into power will eschew self-enrichment and rule on behalf of all the people, not just the tribe who voted them in. That trust isn't there and for good reason. Expect more tyrants and console yourself that people get the governments they deserve.

As the sun shone on Aboyne, we visited an equally sun-kissed Anglesey for the first time, taking a large holiday house for the weekend. The Menai Strait was a mild disappointment, I had expected something much wider. Not far to the east of the bridge lies Beaumaris, the former county town of the Island. It's famous for its castle, built by Edward the First from 1295 but never fully completed. It has an historic inn, Ye Olde Bull's Head, dating from the fifteenth century and counting Charles Dickens and Dr Samuel Johnson among its famous guests. We can attest to the quality of the brasserie food and intend to return.

The interior of Anglesey is dedicated sheep country, bounded by a magical coastline. We covered the coast from Dulas Bay with its wooden hulks to Red Wharf Bay, site of the historic Ship Inn; great beer and excellent fish and chips. The wildest experience by far was the visit to South Stack on the Holyhead peninsula. From the high cliffs the guillemots can be seen booking their barren rocky nesting places for later under the watchful eye of the RSPB.
We'll definitely return but will probably never be so lucky with the weather, especially in March.

The Stuart Agenda by Alan Calder published by Willow Moon. E-book at, and Barnes and Noble. Paperback at  

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