To Cockbridge and Tomintoul over the Lecht on the old XS

26th September 2015

The year is closing in and there will not be many chances to go out on the old XS. The air pressure was high and the forecast good. I did this run in the summer and really enjoyed it so tried it again but using a lot more side roads. I left home just after ten and headed to Inverness and went to see my mum (now an old lady of 88 though you would never think it).

I left my mum’s and went to Tesco to get my food for the day and to pick up petrol. Now I was ready and headed East first by diverting via Ardersier and then going from Nairn to Forres behind Brodie, sticking to back roads. Between Nairn and Forres I was slowed down by a triathlon taking place. Every 100 yards or so there was another bike!

Once I got to Forres I lost my way a bit. I was using my Satnav, which was a present from Charlie, using an earpiece in my helmet. It was in my pocket and I couldn’t see the map so went a bit wrong at roundabouts. However we got there and onto a road heading for Craigellachie.

I stopped just a few miles outside Forres to have my favourite meal. A Yorky can be replaced by a Mars bar! I’m a man of simple but unhealthy pleasures.

Then it was heading to Dufftown and Mossat. The next bit of track on the map had to be created manually as I forgot to switch the Satnav to record the track. I didn’t go far when I stopped to take some pictures. The countryside is just lovely.

This looks out to Ben Rinnes. We used to stay at Daluaine with our friends Donald and Janice. I have been up Ben Rinnes twice. Once with Donald and his son Mark and my two boys. The other time with just my two boys. What I remember of that is them trying to wind me up by pretending to drink out of  a pond at the top. Now I’m older I really miss my children being at home. This is a special part of Scotland.

Beyond Dufftown I stopped to answer nature’s call. The road between Dufftown and Mossat is stunning. A motorbiker’s delight.

Here are signs of Autumn.

There is a great antique shop at Mossat. I had a wander and a browse and bought a brass grandfather clock ornament for Anne, and a couple of wee porcelain dishes for Mairi.


After Mossat I remembered to switch the Satnav to record the track and left it doing so the rest of the trip. It’s what I should have done in the first place. I then headed to Cockbridge and Tomintoul. Just beyond Cockbridge is Corgarff Castle.

And a wee bit beyond the road heads up over the Lecht.


I stopped at the top near the ski centre. It is a bit of a mess. But if the skiing wasn’t here probably the road wouldn’t be here and it is a great one to drive on the bike.

I kept going to just beyond Tomintoul where I stopped for a break and something to eat.

The autumn colours are starting.

This is heading down to Grantown on Spey. It is lovely country.


I got petrol in Grantown on Spey. It is always good to have a full tank.

I headed out towards Nairn but branched off before Cawdor. I took these wee back roads behind Inverness which are wonderful. Just after I turned off a pine-martin crossed the road in front of me. I never knew they were so big. My camera’s batteries ran out and I had to resort to my phone. This is getting near Inverness round the back of Clava. The viaduct is most impressive. These Victorians could really build and build beautiful things.

I headed on to Inverness and across the Kessock Bridge. Inverness has grown beyond all recognition since I was a boy. I stopped at the parking spot just over the bridge.

The pillars of the bridge can just be seen through the trees.

I got home in time for a late tea. My phone had not sent texts to Anne so she didn’t expect me. A good day. A pity the sun didn’t come out.

I am getting older and my body tells me this. The journey was just 200 miles but my old knees were very stiff and sore. I have to admire Simon Gandolfi who wrote one of my very favourite books “Old Man on a Bike”. I also enjoy “Old Men Can’t Wait” which is very good.