Friday 17th February 2017

This is my first post in a while. My back caused me a lot of bother last year particularly from September onward. This stopped my adventures. The worst was not being able to use my motorbike or scooter. I am feeling a lot better and have been trying to build up strength on the push bike.

I had to work today but it was the start of the February long weekend. I left the house at 7.53 am and cycled to school. The forecast was good. Here’s my bike ready to go. The frame was a birthday present some years ago from my daughter Mairi. I have had a lot of use out of it, a super present.

I cycle down the Corkscrew Road to Alness, past the Alness Parish Church, along the High Street and down to the Crawl Park.

The photo above is the climb up to Alness Academy. It is then along the shore to Invergordon. This is just above the stinking sewage farm outside the Alness limits. It was just a wonderful morning. The sun is up now when I leave the house so I’m finished with bike lights till the end of the year. There are a few rigs in the Firth just now.

Looking back to Fyrish (the brown hill in the middle of the picture). Our house is somewhere below it.

My route now cuts up at the Donkey Bridge to King George Street. It is quite a climb up the brae! A low first gear job!

These are taken from King George Street. The first is just above the Donkey Bridge and golf course.

I keep cranking along Gordon Terrace and across the Recs. I’ve cycled it for the last 12 years. I try and do it 3 times a week. It depends on the weather. I still love the cycle. I got to school at 8.27 am. Is that not the most wonderful cycle to start a day! It is almost 5.8 miles.

I’m still teaching, though now almost 62. On Fridays we now finish at 1.10 pm. We currently work 7 period days, instead of 6, but Friday is 5 periods. I taught S3 Maths, S2 Science, a free period, S2 Maths and then finished with S3 Chemistry. Then I had my lunch in my classroom. I left the school at 1.39 pm to go the long way home. The route is turn right from the school, then down Castle Road, along Joss Street and onto the High Street. I headed up the High Street onto Saltburn Road and through Saltburn. It is then a straight forward cycle through Barbaraville to Kildary.

This is the view at Saltburn.

And reached the limit signs at Saltburn.

Before Barbaraville is the old pier at Balintrad.

Reaching Barbaraville.

Just outside Barbaraville is an old church – Kilmuir Easter Church. It is a beautiful old building. I wish it was full of people worshiping God. The far end to the right is very, very old.

And having passed the turn off to Milton, its onto Kildary where the turn off for Scotsburn is. I got here about 2.16 pm.

I once skidded and dropped my motorbike on gravel at this corner. Some pupils were passing and helped pick me and the bike up. They had a roll of duct tape (as you do!) and helped stick bits back that were falling off. But its nice and safe round the corner on the push bike. It is quite a climb after that.

This is Balnagowan Castle just showing in the trees. It belongs to Mohamed Al-Fayed purchased by him in 1972.

Just a wee bit further on I met an old teaching colleague, now retired, Andy Murray. It must be about 30 years since we last were in the same school. He became depute rector of Golspie High School, while I stayed in Invergordon. It was good to stop and have a wee blether. He was walking his two dogs. At one time I bought an old Volvo 144 being so impressed by Andy’s!

So here is the branch off to Logie Hill.

And then the branch to Heathmount. It is lovely out here.

Then there is the old mill at Glenaldie, now posh people’s homes.

I reached the Scotsburn Road at 3.07 pm. It is a lovely cycle along the Scotsburn Road. The only problem was a slight head wind, just enough to keep you a gear lower.

This was the way I came.

And then Quebec Bridge. Why Quebec I don’t know. My good friend Suart lives on Quebec Road in Tain. It was closed for some time a few years ago as it fell apart in a flood, but is now all repaired. I was overtaken by a fellow colleague, Stevie Bryce. I teach Maths in the room next to him. We cycled together till Aldie Forest. He went into the forest. I forgot to get his picture! I chugged along the road.

I came up this one one last Friday. I didn’t take a record of that cycle. It was 25 miles.

I stopped at Lamington at 3.30 pm for my wee picnic. It wasn’t too bonny a spot and I just had to stand. 

Horses came up in the field near me and tried to pester me for some of my picnic. I didn’t yield!

Reached Scotsburn Farm. It’s a bit posh before here. Lots of new houses. Lots of horses.

And then reached the turn off for Ardross at 4.00 pm. This is a wonderful road. I’ve cycled it often. I used to do it on a Thursday going to see old Mrs Alison at Stittenham. She was a great lady.

About 2/3 of the way along the Ardross road I turned off to see Loch Achnacloich. It is a lovely wee loch. 

Then back on the road to Ardross.

Here is Ardross Crossroads, time 4.36 pm. Now comes a great downhill but it is followed by the tough climb from Newbridge.

The GPS track says I reached 483 feet.

I stopped at Newbridge a mile from home to get a couple of pictures. It was built by Thomas Telford. The light is a lot less so the photos are poorer. It is a mile exactly to home from here.

Having climbed to above Newbridge, home is in sight.

Nearly there, the Boath turn off.

And home. The mileage has to be added to my morning cycle of 5.7 miles. So a total of 29.3 miles for the day. I enjoyed it.