Tuesday 28th September 2021

A wee scooter run round the Black Isle (78 miles).

I have been out on a couple of scooter runs since my last posting but have not recorded them. On Monday 13th I went over the Struie and then round the Seaboard villages. On Monday 20th I went up to Syre via Lairg and Altnahara and then back home over Glen Loth (one of my favourites). I am finding I enjoy the trip more if I don’t record it. Making a videoing of it makes the spoiling worse. But it is lovely to look back on it when you do record the day. Today was just a run round familiar territory, round old haunts.



Anne was having friends for lunch. So I left. I went down to Morrisons for petrol. We are in the middle of a fuel crisis due to there not being enough tanker drivers. Well Morrisons was fine. None of the pumps were sealed off and there were no queues. We have to buy this E10 fuel which everyone seems to be complaining about. I think the scooter is running better on it. Recent fuel consumption is round about 90 mpg mark which I am delighted with.


I went via Evanton to the A9 and then across the Cromarty Firth Bridge. Once over I turned right to go to Conon Bridge. I went through a light shower of rain. The first stop was the old Ferrintosh Cemetery. 


Buried here is the famous ‘Apostle of the North’ the Rev. John McDonald.


THIS TABLET IS ERECTED
BY THE PEOPLE OF FERRINTOSH
IN MEMORY OF
THEIR BELOVED PASTOR
THE REVD. JOHN MCDONALD, D.D.
WHO ENTERED
INTO THE JOY OF HIS LORD
ON THE 16TH APRIL 1849
IN THE 70TH YEAR OF HIS AGE
AND 44TH YEAR OF HIS MINISTRY

HE BEING DEAD YET SPEAKETH
DANIEL XII 3
HEBREWS XI 4
HEBREWS XII 7


Buried beside him is his predecessor the Rev. Charles Calder. I can’t make out the inscription from the photo.






Looking East, down the Firth.


Looking West, with Dingwall showing at the head of the firth.




There were still swallows around. I thought they migrated earlier than this, it is almost October.


A wee bit further along is the old Church of Scotland, now sold and being converted to a house. This was the Rev. Calder and Rev. McDonald’s church. It is so sad there are no worshippers, now.


I moved on through Alcaig and onto Conon Bridge. From Conon I went to Muir of Ord from where I took the road to Tore. At the turn off to the Black Isle Showground is a small nature reserve. We used to take the children here. It is now very rough and run down. I had my lunch here.










Further on I took the road to Redcastle and stopped at Kilearnan Church of Scotland. This was the congregation of the famous Dr. Kennedy’s father, the Rev. John Kennedy.


The steps have on them

I TO THE HILLS
WILL LIFT MY EYES
PSALM 121

Look at the notice board. I’m certain Rev. Calder, Rev. McDonald and Rev. Kennedy would be horrified to see a woman as Kilearnan’s minister. I don’t mean to be rude to women but the New Testament is quite specific – Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. (1 Timothy 2: 11, 12) The Bible does not pander to 21st century equalities. We either accept the Bible’s teaching or we do what we like. You do not make up your own version of Christianity. It is worse though because there are now ministers in some churches whose moral lifestyles are completely forbidden in the Bible.







SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
JOHN KENNEDY
MINISTER OF KILLEARNAN, WHO DIED JANUARY 10TH. MDCCCXLI.

A MAN OF GOD SENT FORTH INTO THE VINEYARD
WITH THE FULNESS OF GOSPEL BLESSINGS, THE PECULIARLY HONOURED
AMBASSADOR OF CHRIST, THROUGH WHOM SHONE FORTH THE EXCELLENCY OF THE POWER
IN THE CONVERSION OF MANY A SOUL TO GOD.
THE JOY OF THE LORD WAS HIS STRENGTH.
THE MINISTERIAL GIFTS AND GRACES OF PRIMITIVE TIMES
WHEN ON THE GLORY OF ZION THERE WAS DEFENCE,
IN HIS PERSON WERE SEEN REALISED, ATTRACTING THE LOVE OF BELIEVERS,
AND IN EVERY UTTERANCE REFRESHING THEIR SOULS.
THEY WERE GLAD IN HIS LIGHT. IN EVERY ORDINANCE OF THE SANCTUARY,
RICHLY REPLENISHED IN SPIRIT BY CLOSE COMMUNION WITH GOD
OF INTIMATE STANDING IN THE IN THE MIND AND COUNCIL OF CHRIST.
WITH HOLY UNCTION, FERVOUR, WISDOM AND LOVE,
HE WATCHED, WARNED AND NOURISHED THE HERITAGE.
SINNERS IN ZION WERE AFRAID.
FULL OF FAITH AND THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT.
ABOUNDING IN LABOURS, AND RIPENED FOR GLORY, HE FELL ASLEEP.

THIS PARISH MOURNS.
AS A MARK OF REGARD FOR THE MEMORY OF THE REV. JOHN KENNEDY, THIS STONE,
WITH THE SAME INSCRIPTION, REPLACES ORIGINAL ONE OF SANDSTONE, JULY 1937.


I branched off to Milton of Redcastle. This is looking up and down the Beauly Firth.




Milton of Redcastle is a nice wee place.






I moved on to Charleston and then North Kessock and went up to Drumsmittal. Drumsmittal School was my place of education from 1960 – 63 when my dad was minister of Knockbain. I think it is now a recording studio. I went right here towards Kilmuir meaning to do a wee loop but made a mistake and ended at Craigiewood. I found my way back.




It was then on to Munlochy and further on, Avoch. This is Avoch harbour.


Ormond Hill.


Notice the thatched cottage third from the right.


Then it was on to Fortrose and Rosemarkie. I went by Eathie to Cromarty. This looks down to Fort George.














There are too many rigs in the Cromarty Firth, a sure sign of unemployment. With all our environmental warriors there is no exploring for new oilfields going on. These orange constructions are being fabricated at Nigg. They are to support off-shore wind turbines in the North Sea. The Nigg Yard was originally constructed to build these no longer needed rigs. I am weary of little Greta Thunberg. Out on my wee petrol consuming scooter you realise there is nothing quite like an internal combustion engine.


And then down to Cromarty. There was a queue of about 15 people at the bakers so I decided not to buy a cake. I went instead to Derek Matheson’s old shop and bought a Bounty and a can of Barr’s Cola. Derek used to go round the Black Isle in a blue van which had shelves and a counter in it. He was so patient as we chose our sweeties from a big box he had as we spent our pocket money.






Cromarty is quaint. I love it.


I then moved along the Black Isle. This was Davey Manson’s farm at Ballicherry. We used to take sheep along here to dip them. Who would have thought sun flowers would be planted on the Black Isle?


I moved round to the old cemetery at Kirk Michael. This is my great grandparent’s grave. My great uncle Alick, their son, who I loved and worked with for several summers, is also buried here.




This is so sad. My friend from childhood, David Mackay, has now passed away. The family lived next door to my granny and Alick.


The old church which was a total ruin has been restored. I remember David and I came here one night in the dark. I’ll not say I was superstitious but I took a New Testament with me!


I would have stopped to eat in the cemetery, usually, but the Highlands are awfully busy just now and there were several parties in the graveyard. I moved on towards Balblair and stopped by the sea.




That’s Invergordon where I taught for 39 years across the water.


I went as far as the old ferry pier. My dad and mum gave me a bike when I was 16 for passing all my O’Grades. I used to travel north to Dornoch and once to Rogart using the ferry that sailed from Balblair to Invergordon. You had to carry your bike onto a small passenger only boat. It was very exciting.




You would open a white board on this hut to signal the ferryman you were needing a lift over.


I thought I had another incident. When I went to go, the bike would not start. I had inadvertently put on the kill switch.


I stopped at Redgates just above Newhall Mains, Alick’s farm. That was a tarred road all the way at one time. Alick had paid for it to be tarred.




It is better the building didn’t go to rack and ruin but I hate seeing it like this. I remember the byre being full of cows. It was joy feeding them and mucking out. But a plane parked behind! Oh dear how time changes things.


I came back by Findon Brae and back down to the bridge, the loop round the Black Isle complete. These are looking up and down the Cromarty Firth.





I was home just after four having enjoyed another scooter run.