Thursday 7th September 2023

A scooter run to Ballater (227 miles).

I have done this run many times. A few years ago I would have said it was my favourite run on the motorbike.

The day had a fantastic forecast with temperatures to reach 25°C. In Alness and Dufftown it reached 24°C but in Ballater it reached 20°C

I left home just after 9.00 and went down to Alness to post off a letter to the Free Church Offices and to drop another letter at the bank. I went over the Black Isle by Culbokie and Munlochy. I then went to Nairn via Ardersier to keep off the busy A96. I picked up petrol at Sainsbury’s and fuel for myself at Home Bargains.

This is my healthy food list for the day. Pre-COVID I would expect to pay maybe £3 or £4 for my food for the day.

I went onto Forres again skirting the A96 by going to the back of Brodie and Kintessack. I stopped before Kintessack to have a little picnic. Home Bargains has Xmas crisps on the shelves so I gave myself some seasonal cheer. It was so hot I only bought one bar of chocolate as it would melt today. This was eating the Yorkie soon after buying it before melting set in.

After Forres I went by Rafford to Dallas. This is after Dallas. I missed the turnoff to shortcut to Archiestown and went through Knockando. 

Before Knockando I stopped at this lovely spot.

This is Archiestown – a bonnie wee village.

The road really by-passes Craigellachie and goes to Dufftown, another lovely town.

I went onto the Cabrach road. Beyond Cabrach you turn right onto the road signposted to Lumsden. A wee bit along this road is my favourite place to stop. It was luchtime.

After my lunch I had a long lie in the sun enjoying the warmth and the peace. I had to move on. Here is a place I have never stopped at – Church of Old Auchindoir.

I went through Mossat but didn’t go to the lovely antique shop this time. Before Strathdon I headed down to Ballater. I stopped in Ballater for a wee wander to take a couple of photos.

I parked beside these lovely little Honda Monkeybikes. Modern ones. Really rather nice. I spoke to their owners. They were from the North of England by their accents and had taken them in their campervan.

I headed from Ballater towards Tomintoul. Oh the sadness. Since I was last here the lovely old bridge at Bridge of Gairnshiel is bypassed. You now have to use a modern bridge.

That is the old bridge.

And Gairnshiel Lodge.

But here is the new bridge.

The road climbs very high as you go back over towards Strathdon. A lot of the journey in this area is above 1000 feet. Even my picnic beyond Cabrath was above 1000 feet.

Looking towards the Lecht.

At Cockbridge.

Up on the Lecht – above 2000 feet.

The Lecht itself is a bit of a dump with a Cafe at the top and all these ski tows.

In the South it was cloudier but as I got further North I came back into the sun. These pictures were taken heading to Grantown on Spey. Again most of the road is above 1000 feet. I had another picnic about 5 miles from Grantown and contacted Anne to say I’d be home for tea.

Grantown is just showing, if you look carefully.

This beautiful railway bridge and gate lodge is just beyond Grantown on the Nairn/Forres road.

On the Dava Moor. The rock is still there. Jesus still saves.

I took the road by Lochindorb having discovered it in January. In January I had it all to myself. Today there were campervans and caravans by the loch!

Lochindorb Castle.

Lochindorb Lodge showing. The heather is past it’s best now.

I took the turnoff to Dulcie Bridge and followed the roads to Inverness using my GPS. It took me through Cawdor and Tornagrain before coming back onto the A96. I was low on petrol so went to Tesco at the retail park to refuel.

I came back over the Blackisle via Munlochy and Culbokie. I reached home about 5.45. This was a brilliant day. I don’t like the look of scooters but this Yamaha Majesty YP250 registered in 1999 but actually built in 1998 is amazing. You can carry all you want on it. It is so easy to drive. I was not tired or sore at the end of the day. It is very comfortable usually. I had to change rear shocks a couple of years ago and the ‘new’ ones give far too hard a ride. The right side has started leaking so I will have to change them. It gives a chance to get more comfortable springs.