So, we went away again.

It’s been a long time since we went this far north; we passed by in 2010, and also in 2008, but the last time we stopped nearby precedes this blog by some 3 months, in September 2003. back then we stopped in Muir of Ord, but we were younger and fitter and walked more, and I didn’t mind driving about so much.

So, with the changes in mind, we needed somewhere bigger. We needed public transport, restaurants, and pubs. To get those in more than single figures, you need somewhere quite large, in Scottish highland terms, which is why we found ourselves in a rather lovely cottage right in the middle of the city.

I’m jumping ahead, though. We needed to get there first. This is too far for me to spend sitting in a car to do the whole thing, so we left a day early, with an overnight stop in Dunblane, which seemed far too far away after a fire on the M6 near Knutsford saw us delayed. Still, we got there by around 4:30, checked into our B&B, and made it to the pub well before 6pm.

The next day was simpler: off up the A9 Road of Death, now much tamed with average speed cameras, which makes for better economy, less danger, but quite a monotonous drive, albeit with stunning scenery in places, and we ended up in Inverness early.

So then, while we were there: pubs, food. A bus ride to Nairn, and one to The Black isle, a bit of sightseeing in the city itself- a surprisingly compact city, and with some real beauty too, not wild, out in the mountains beauty, but pleasant enough:

Inverness, viewed from the castle.

We varied the journey back; we have friends that live in a tiny village in the Cairngorms, and having been within 60 or so miles of them rather than several hundred, it seemed a good time to visit. Back down the A9 to Grantown-on-Spey, into Tomintoul, and back out on a minor road. A short visit, back to Tomintoul, and a trip down the A939 and A93, past the ski centres and all the scenery. Not fast, but fun and scenic for the most part, until we reached the A74M/M74 and our overnight stop in Ecclefechan. The rest of the return journey? Uneventful , but horrible weather and lots of spray, but traveling on a Sunday made things easier than normal.

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