Friday 15th December 2023

A scooter run to the River Spey (178 miles).

The weather forecast was for it to reach 9°C today. That is amazing for December. There was to be minimal rain. Go for it!

The winter solstice is a week today, Fri, 22 December. On that day at our latitude we will have 6h 33m 17s of daylight. Today it was 6h 36m 39s, only a 3m 22s difference. There is not much length to the day.

I left home at about 9.05 and headed along the A9 to the Cromarty Bridge. Just before the bridge the rain started and it rained until I reached Inverness. That sucks the warmth out of you.

From Inverness I went to Nairn by Croy. The turnoff from the A96 that I took takes you through the new town of Tornagrain. The architecture in it is beautiful. It is like an old town.

This took me to just beyond Nairn and I then followed the A96 to Forres. Here I went to the COOP to get the extra supplies I needed for the day. That is the Tollbooth ahead, a very impressive and beautiful building.

I was cold and had a snack in the car park behind the High Street. I would prefer to be away in the wilds but I was needing to eat.

From Forres I took the back roads passing near Dallas to reach Elgin.

I took back roads to get from Elgin to Keith, branching off before Lhanbryde. Sounds Welsh! At Keith I got petrol at Tesco. The last time I was here was on the day of the dreadful floods coming back from Portknockie on the 21st of October. Then there was water pouring through the lights at the petrol forecourt.

I pushed the scooter to its range limit. The fuel gauge was down at empty.

From Keith I came back to Mulben and branched off to Craigellachie. I have often stopped here. Today I had it all to myself for a while.

No! Rabbie’s Tours came in and disgorged a bunch of foreign tourists. They swarmed around taking photos, thankfullu not of me. Two sweet guys decided to do the toilet in front of me. That made my day so much better.

Thankfully, Rabbie took his bunch of bladder emptying foreigners away to no doubt disturb some other peace loving two wheeled enthusiast.

It is winter. There is snow on Ben Rinnes. Craigellachie Bridge is a really nice bridge.

I headed through Aberlour and took this photo of Ben Rinnes a bit beyond it.

At Marypark I took the single track road on the north side of the Spey.

And came to Grantown on Spey.

I headed to Carrbridge and took this photo looking to the Cairngorms.

Zooming in a bit.

Beyond Carrbridge I took the back road to Slochd Summit. The scooter spurns ‘Road Ahead Closed’ signs.

That is the A9 crossing the old road.

The reason for the road closure is a ‘weak bridge’. The scooter doesn’t weigh much and easily goes between the concrete barricades. I did this in the summer on the good old BSA so I knew I could get through.

At Slochd I turned left onto the road down to Findhorn Bridge. The River Findhorn is the other great river, other than the Spey, that drains this part of the country into the Moray Firth. I like the next picture that shows three bridges. The railway crosses on the bridge with the graceful pillars. Beyond that is the modern road bridge carrying the A9.

I love old deserted cottages. Imagine the stories it could tell. 

And finally this is the turnoff to Farr. I so love this route. It is possibly my favourite road at the moment. But here the drizzle started.

A last look up and down the Findhorn.

Before it starts climbing the road crosses this wee bridge.

I stopped at the highest point.

Don’t you love pylons and wind turbines. The wildness of the Highlands is being stolen from us. Not because of sheep now but because of environmentalists. 

And at last having come over the hills this is Loch Farr. It has featured often on my web-pages. I love it.

I had a wee picnic.

And because there was nobody around I went on a wee exploration.

This ancient boat-house and jetty was a short distance down the loch.

But the day is short. It wasn’t cold by now but I had to push on. I came down to Inverness taking the ring road round it. I crossed the Kessock Bridge and cut off to take the back roads by Mount Eagle. This is the TV mast at Mount Eagle. My phone over compensates for the lack of light. It actually was pretty dark.

I arrived home at 4.30. As usual, at this time of year, the scooter was filthy covered in salt so I gave it a good wash. I really enjoyed being out on my wee scooter. It is special at this time of year. But i’m longing for Spring.