Tuesday 24th January 2024

A scooter run East to Duffton & Tomintoul (180 miles).

The weather forecast was for the temperature to get as high as 8°C today but only to reach 4°C high up in Tomintoul. Not too shabby for January. The day was to be mainly dry and I was desperate to get out on two wheels again.

This is me ready for off.

I could not have done this last Wednesday. This was our drive last Wenesday.

On the winter solstice, Friday, 22 December, at our latitude there was 6h 33m 17s of daylight. Today it was 7h 48m 28s, about 1¼ hours longer.

I left home at about 9.40 and went into Evanton to post some letters. I came down to the A9 and went over the Cromarty Bridge. I crossed the Black Isle heading up to Culbokie and taking the road that goes through Knockbain Parish to Munlochy. I went into the SCOTMID COOP and purchased a Scotch Pie, Millionaire Shortbread, two tiny cans of Coke and a Cream Egg. Lovely, lovely! When I was a very young boy in the early ’60s, living in the Knockbain Free Church Manse, this was Riddoch’s shop. It and Hutchison’s shop at Artafallie, near the Toll House, was where we purchased our supplies.

Munlochy High Street, looking to the Primary School.

I headed to Inverness stopping at the forest car park at Drumderfit for a wee eat. Asher’s baking is extraordinarily good. This is their Millionaire Shortbread.

From Inverness I went on to Nairn vai Ardersier. I picked up petrol at Sainsbury’s and added Crisps and Nougat bars, purchased from Home Bargains, to my expanding picnic.

You will see from my map I made some navigational error exiting Forres. I had no Satnav and was using the old way of memory and signposts. After Rafford I saw a sign saying ‘Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery’, and I thought ‘this will take me a new way to Dallas’. No it didn’t. It curved back to Forres. What a waste of time. I had a wee stop here.

And then passed the rather bonny Dallas Dhu Distillery.

I corrected my navigation going back through Rafford and heading to Dallas by the first signpost to Dallas. This took me in the other side of Dallas. I took the Knockando road and headed by Archiestown to Craiellachie. This is after Dallas.

I went on to Dufftown and turned right onto the Tomintoul road. I stopped in Glenrinnes below Ben Rinnes. There certainly was the remains of the recent snowfall up here. It was very windy and cold. I went into a wee, thick forest to eat my lunch.

Absolutely delicious. That Scotch Pie was really good.

A Scotch man full of Scotch Pie.

But I had to press on and stopped to take this picture in Glenlivet. Scotland is stunning.

A very cold, old man reached Tomintoul and stopped for a while to walk at least a mile, briskly, to warm up. I took some pictures in and around Tomintoul.

The town square.

Looking out from the back of the R.C. Church.

This is “Our Lady & St Michael’s R.C. Church”. Some dedications! I thought the church was Christ’s.

And even high up here in Tomintoul there are snowdrops coming through. What hardy wee flowers. Tomintoul is one of Scotland’s highest villages at an altitude of 1132 feet.

From Tomintoul I headed to Grantown on Spey. This is from high up before descending to Grantown.

I turned right in Grantown and headed onto the Dava Moor. I turned off the Dava road to go to Lochindorb, the road I just discovered last January.

That is shards of ice blown onto the shore of Lochindorb.

I stopped near the edge of the loch, again in forest to get shelter. I ate a bit more.

Lochindorb Castle.

Looking back to Lochindorb lodge.

After Lochindorb I went onto the Nairn-Forres road and took the branch to Ferness. Before Nairn I turned off to Cawdor, Croy and Culloden coming down that way to Inverness. It was then over the bridge and over the Black Isle, again by Drumderfit and Munlochy, but going by Mount Eagle to Culbokie. I nashed along the A9 and arrived home at 4.40 or so. I was very, very cold but had to wash the scooter before putting it away to get the salt off it.

Again, it is wonderful to get out on the scooter in January. A bit colder than I would have liked. I am, as Para Handy would say one of “Brutain’s hardy sons.” The day was “Chust sublime.