12th October 2017

A wee trip round the North East with Bill (169 miles)

This is probably the last trip for the year. The autumn is well on, winter is round the corner, its getting colder and the darkness is coming sooner. Bill and I decided to go on a wee adventure, trying to take in some new roads.
There was an extra stress on the day as my scooter’s lights have failed (yet again) and we had to fit this trip into daylight hours.
Bill came down to Contullich about 9.30. We exchanged pleasantries and headed off aboutĀ  9.40. We headed by Evanton and out to Foulis. I overshot the turnoff and then at the gated railway level crossing poor Bill dropped his bike. It seemed to slip in the mud. We headed over the Cromarty Bridge getting held up with the road works. As usual to avoid the traffic we went over the Black Isle by Culbokie, Mount Eagle and Drumsmittal.
After the Kessock Bridge it was to Tesco at the retail park for supplies – this included Yazoo banana milk, pork pies, crisps and chocolate. Extremely unhealthy but extremely delicious. Bill got petrol and then he led out to Culloden, through the viaduct and the out to Dulsie Bridge. We stopped a bit beyond the viaduct for the first pork pie session.

There must be some pork pies in here (he bought six!).

And then out to Dulsie Bridge. Its a lovely old bridge. Bill talked to a man with a huge husky dog. It was a rescue dog and had been kept in a room for three years. We had a wee walk out to view and photograph the bridge.

We then made up a bit of ground. We crossed over to Dava and on down to Grantown on Spey. Then headed towards Tomintoul stopping at Bridge of Brown for our picnic lunch. More pork pies. Here I found that my ‘new’ camera had a jammed lens. Somehow and I don’t know how it had been knocked. I managed to get it working by pushing out the metal with a blade. Not much success with cameras recently.

We went to two miles from TomintoulĀ  and branched left down Strath Avon. I’ve never been here before and it was lovely. We stopped at this old church. I think from the OS map it is called St Michael’s Cross or Kirkmichael. It was lovely.

We just pushed on to Craigellachie. We stopped at the bridge and met a South African who was canoeing down the Spey. He had started at Newtonmore five days ago. He took a photo for us. He could have kidnapped my camera!

We moved onto Archiestown and Dallas and then down to Forres. This is a lovely wild run. I picked up a can of Pepsi Max at Savers for 29p!!

Now here’s where things went crazy. I took the wrong turn to get out by Brodie Castle and we ended up at a place called Dyke. My map-reading expert brother (just because he did Geography at school) said I was totally wrong, that there had been no signs for Brodie Castle or had passed an entrance to Brodie Castle. Well here’s the evidence from Google Street Map.

Now call me Mr Stupid but these signs are for Brodie Castle. Well our ‘Pathfinder’ boldly pointed out exactly where we were on my map and shot off in the lead certain there was a straight road to Nairn. It’s always impressed me how confident he is. Even when he’s not too sure. However he shot past the real road to Nairn and had to double back. But all’s well that ends well and we got on the proper road and we stopped just a wee bit further on for more pork pies.

I made another navigating error on trying to get home by Ardersier. I’m getting past it. So we decided just to go by the main Nairn-Inverness road, the A96. This was really stupid on my vehicle. The wind was from the west and I was struggling to make 40 mph! It was a terrible journey and poor ‘Pathfinder’ had to trail along at my speed. The scooter also ran out of petrol and had to be topped up.
We got over the Kessock Bridge and onto the back roads over the Black Isle. We went by the other Knockbain road over to Culbokie. This is beyond Drumsmittal, our last break for the day.

‘Pathfinder’ finding the right path.

Well it was another great day. Bill and I parted after Evanton with me gasping to get home in the fading daylight. That is probably the adventures over for the year. You can still get a surprise with Scottish weather, though.