February looked like being a carbon copy of the month before, with the usual wiat till the last night of the month forcing me out into uninviting weather. The forecast was better than last time, so I hoped to get further away from Aberdeen than last time, if it stayed dry enough. As I headed towards Westhill again, my hopes were dashed as a fine misty rain came down and grew more persistent the further I went. By the time I reached Loch of Skene, I was soaking and lost all motivation to persevere out to Echt as I had planned. Instead, I hooked left into the thick trees on the opposite side of the loch and found myself a cosy dip in the forest.

As seems fairly typical this year, the rain stopped the minute I hoisted my tarp, but I wasn’t going to second guess the weather and just got the hammock slung and my brew poured. At least I would have poured a brew had I not left the teabags sitting on the kitchen worktop – nooooooooooo! I contented myself to a sip of milk and some snacks, whilst angrily looking at the moon which had miraculously started peeking through the dissipated rain clouds.

Kept the larder close by
Lightly mocked by celestial bodies

I set a not too ambitious alarm and got my head down, my sleep unaffected by the absolute racket the geese were making on the loch across the way. I was up before the alarm and packed up without too much haste, as I was working from home today and so had a bit more time to play with.

Not a bad spot for an unplanned halt
Can never have too many packed up bike shots

Rather than take the most boring way home, I mixed it up a bit to get a few extra miles in, heading towards Echt before zig-zagging on quiet roads back towards home.

Out Skene way
Smoothest tarmac around here
Speedy B-road to turn off
Cutting across towards Leuchar Moss

As I reached the top of the hill on the declassified road past Leuchar Moss my brain refused to take a sensible route and automatically turned me off onto the rough path across the fields. It was a bit slippy on the big slicks, but much more pleasant and atmospheric than soggy road riding.

Soggy singletrack
Back into the misty precipitation

As I reached the main road near Wester Ord, I turned the opposite way and took a farm track that should connect to my usual route past Contlaw and keep the offroad streak going. It worked quite nicely and I have no idea why I’ve not used it more often – I think I expected it to go through the farm yard, but it bypasses the whole place.

Nice new track

My cross country excursions hadn’t cost me too much time, but I resisted the temptation to swing off into Blacktop and Hazelhead Park, as I had meetings to attend and it would be nice to be showered before them. Another perfunctory trip this month, but well worth getting out and made much more fun by not sticking to the tarmac.

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