15th June 2019

Another trip to Ballater (235 miles)

This has been a heavy year with little time to do scooter trips. So today even with low pressure over us the forecast was good so I decided to go to Ballater again.

Part of me feels so guilty to be able to do this. Martin my cousin, my friend, my third brother and all round good guy passed away on Tuesday. I’m struggling to take it in. Sometimes it really hits me and I weep. How awful for Margaret his wife and his three boys. But life goes on. This planet keeps rotating. We move along the conveyor belt.

I left at 10.25, after speaking to Maggs on the phone, and went by Foulis Station as usual to keep off the busy A9. This is the railway crossing.

I crossed the Black Isle by Culbokie and Drumsmittal and then stopped at Tesco in Inverness to purchase the (usually) delicious rubbish that I call a picnic.

This is going round the back by Ardersier. When I reached Nairn it was a disaster. It took maybe 3/4 of an hour to get through. As I reached the other side and the turn off to go by the back of Brodie a policeman bawled very rudely at me as I stopped at the red traffic light not realizing he was waving the traffic on. I wish I had gone and asked him about being so rude. I respect the police but I don’t like rudeness.

I then headed on to Forres, stopping this side of the old part of Forres which was rather beautiful. Anne, Mairi and myself have walked a bit in Forres but have never explored this end. We need to reconnoitre this more. But today is a scooter trip not a walk.

On the bridge is the Forres Coat of arms

The crest is of St. Laurence in a meadow with blossoming palms. He is dressed as a deacon holding a Bible in his right hand and leaning on a bed of iron bars with his left hand. These bars symbolise the iron bed on which he was burned death.

At the foot of the crest is written ‘Jehovah Tu Mihi Deus Quid Deest’ which translates for the Latin as ‘Jehovah, You are my God, what am I lacking’.

What a brilliant motto. If Jehovah is your God you do lack nothing.

I turned right off the High Street just beyond the Tolbooth, with its clock tower, to head out to Craigellachie and Dufftown. I stopped a few miles before the turnoff to Archiestown for my lunch. Here was my big mistake. In Tesco I couldn’t find Yazoo Banana Milk so decided to try Vanilla. Don’t ever do that! It’s vile. Spoiled the whole picnic. I did find Banana Milk as I was going to the checkout. I should have swapped it but thought this Vanilla might be quite nice. I did take a bottle of Banana Milk for later.

Before Cabrach and the turnoff at Auchmair I came on this ruined old cottage. I love ruins though they are so sad. I gather that it is not known as Cabrach but  ‘the Cabrach’ – like ‘the Lecht’.

I went inside and it is so sombre to see an abandoned living room. Who sat on these chairs round the fire? Did they have family worship in this wee room?

Did they sleep soundly in this old bed?

It was good to get back out into the light.

Just over the road from the cottage were these gates.

Isn’t that amazing. When we trust in Jesus Christ we are taken from the Slough of Despond. We are set on a Rock. May the Lord be Praised!

But I moved on over these lovely single track roads to Mossat and had to revisit the antique shop.

I got a couple of wee pots for Anne and Mairi and a paperweight for myself.

What a view from the antique shop!

I then pushed on to Ballater

I got petrol in Ballater and set the Satnav for home. I could do it without it but the tracks beyond Dava Moor are confusing.

This is Bridge of Gairn where I stopped for my afternoon picnic. I did have Yazoo Banana Milk but the thought and taste of that Vanilla stuff was lingering.

But the journey requires a lot of climbing and my wee scooter does not like climbing. I think it is even more down in power. I was managing maybe 15 mph at times. Stunning high country.

1772 feet and still to climb over the Lecht.

I stopped on Cockbridge.

Corgarff Castle.

I needed another rest or stop between Tomintoul and Grantown. This is looking out to the Cairngorms.

It’s amazing how the zoom lens picked out the caravanette.

I pushed on to Grantown on Spey where I bought myself a chip buttie. There is no way I will risk a Chinese carryout here after previous experience. The chip buttie was lovely but too much. I don’t think I’ve had one since days in Hyndland School. This is the buttie after eating half the chips. In the old days you got a sensible sized portion of chips. This would have fed a family but I still manfully ate it all! I had my wee picnic down at Anagach Woods.

And then headed home over the Dava Moor. I love this stone that has kept proclaiming its message. It keeps being defaced but someone keeps sorting it.

Just beyond the turnoff for Nairn is this lovely bridge. I have meant to stop and photograph it before.

I came by Dulsie Bridge.

And found my way through the maize of tracks above Cawdor. I had to take pictures of the Culloden Viaduct (yet again) as it is so impressive.

I came down by Culloden to Inverness and crossed over to the Black Isle. This is beyond Drumsmittal. Taking shots into the sun produces these bright spots. Sorry!

Then beyond Munlochy you see Munlochy Bay. My family on the MacIntosh side farmed at Mains of Bennetsfield which must be about where the promontory far away on the left is. Hector Grigor told me the that the MacIntosh boys had a pinnace which they sailed on the bay.

I wanted a picture of this old house. Its been like this for years but it is getting more dilapidated. 

I crossed by Mounteagle and over the Cromarty Bridge returning by Evanton. I was home about 8.30. Just brilliant to be doing a long trip on the scooter even if very stiff and sore at the end.

Today’s trip has been a three point sermon

1. Jehovah, You are my God, what am I lacking.
2. May the Lord be Praised.
3. Jesus Saves.

Martin my cousin would say Amen to all three of these points. I weep for him, but not as others weep. He trusted in Jesus. A lovely Christian. I look forward to seeing him one day in Paradise.