4th May 2018

Tomintoul Adventure (173 miles)

I’m getting old and I don’t particularly like it. I developed a cold before Easter which was followed with a persistent cough which has now lasted over six weeks. A cold was always something that I shook off in a week. This cough led to a horrible pain in my groin which was really noticeable standing at school while teaching. I went to the doctor yesterday and he told me I have a hernia. Oh dear.

I love my scooter and it was the long weekend with having the Mayday Holiday on Monday. There was no Church Friday Club so I decided hernia or no hernia, cough or no cough, it was time for another adventure. But, not too long!

I have fitted a bracket to the scooter for my GPS and also have fitted a USB socket. I still don’t quite have the right cables to wire it up. But I plotted a route on Google My Maps. Saved it as two KML files. Then loaded the files into my GPS running iGO8, and wired it up as best I could. The map shown above has all these waypoints because it is just a GPX conversion of the KML files. Google My Maps gives the fastest route. I need the shortest route so have to add wayponts (or Places) to force Google My Maps to give my desired route. Google My Maps is brilliant but I wish it had a shortest route option. Also it should have a change units option so I can use miles instead of kilometers. But, it does give a great way of plotting a route beforehand.

Below is the Google My Maps page for the trip

I did my morning’s teaching, came home and had a bite of lunch and was ready and away by 2.15. Being restricted to mainly 40-45 mph I try and keep off busier roads, so it was via Evanton to the A9. As soon as the Cromarty bridge with its roadworks was past, I cut up to Culbokie and over to Munlochy, then Drumsmittal coming back onto the A9 just before the Kessock Bridge. Once through Inverness the route trying to avoid the A96 is to go out by Ardersier. This is just before Ardersier. These cows had bells round their necks!

But you have to come back onto the A96 just before Nairn. Going out of Nairn you can again head towards the sea and get off the A96. So I stopped about 3.40 along here for a bite to eat, a bit before Brodie.

Then it was push on and back onto the A96 for a short section between Brodie and Forres. I passed through Forres to get onto the Craigellachie road. It is a lovely run. This is before coming into Dallas. I gather this is Dallas Castle, barely standing, with only one small wall remaining.

Not Texas! Not even some old TV program. It is possible that huge city in the USA was named after the village here, but no one is certain. This Dallas is a nice wee village.

Beyond Dallas at about 4.30 and 59 miles into my adventure I ran out of petrol. I expected that. This tankful had already taken me to Helmsdale and back plus a wee run up to Glaick and down the Strathy road. 99 + 10 + 59 = 168 miles on just 6 litres is about 127 mpg! That’s why I love this old scooter.  I carry 6 litres of fuel in a plastic can so filled the tank.

And then went on to branch left to Archiestown and then Craigellachie. This is Archiestown, a nice wee place. 

Before Craigellachie you come down a steep bend onto the busier A95 for a short time before turning onto the Dufftown road.

And reached Dufftown just after 5.00. That shows how slow my scooter is 2 and 3 quarter hours to cover 74 miles. Just look at the daffodils. It was a beautiful late spring or early summer day.

At Dufftown I turned right taking the road to Tomintoul. I don’t think I’ve ever been on this one. I probably crossed it with my friend Donald Stirling when he had to do his weekend checks at Ben Rhinnes distillery. I normally go onto the Cabrach road out to Mossat and then out to Ballater. The road follows Glen Rhinnes for a while. I thought I was photographing Ben Rhinnes. It was the other side of the road! The hill seems to be called Muckle Lapprach!

Before Tomintoul my GPS stopped working. The USB connection was very poor and it kept losing power so not charging. I reached Tomintoul about 5.45 where I stopped a while to try and sort my GPS problems. The mini USB connector wouldn’t! I eventually had to head to Grantown on Spey. These photos are of Tomintoul.

You have to get a photo of the scenery way out here beyond Tomintoul. It’s wild country.

Before Grantown I had to stop as I was needing to eat. It wasn’t the nicest of parking places.

Fresh birch leaves.

I spent a bit of time here trying to get the GPS to work. I managed to jam the cable so the red light came on. This was very intermittent but it managed to keep going till above Inverness. That’s great because it’s a maze of roads leading out to Dulsie Bridge and onto Inverness by the back of Cawdor. I didn’t go into Grantown but headed to Dulnain Bridge and then at Duthil got onto the wild road that heads to Ferness. The branch to Dulsie Bridge is well before then. So here is Dulsie Bridge. Only now was my hernia starting to ache.

The GPS took me through the maze! Now the North is showing and the Moray Firth.

And onto the viaduct at Clava.

I went down to Inverness and went to see my mum arriving about 8.30. Roddy, my brother was there, just back from Israel. I stayed a wee while. I was OK on the scooter but when inside I was cold and shivering. I also had pains where a man don’t want them.

I left about 9.05 and headed home over the Black Isle by the back roads, this time by Mount Eagle and got home before 10.00. The old man can still do it but he was very tired.

The scooter always likes to catch you out. This time it was the electric start. It was very intermittent all day but would get it going eventually. It refused to electric start after being to see my mum. I had to kick start the brute. I found out a few days later it was just the contact to the motor had corroded a bit. Easily and cheaply sorted (like free). Also the instrument lighting stopped working as well as one of the front pilot lights. Again poor connections when investigated. I don’t think electrics is one of my scooters winning points. But what a fuel consumption.

All in all good to be out again. It’s MOT runs out tomorrow. I have a test booked for next Friday so here’s hoping for another year.