Hi, did anybody miss me? Probably not but anyway in case you wondered where I was I just had a glorious week in the north east of Scotland, no wifi which means no posts here or anywhere else, no mail, no ‘interweb’, I missed the instant information availability but I got used to it and survived, now I have to re-learn and catch up.
I just posted a slideshow on my photo blog.. having had the difficult task of selecting the best pictures for that from the three hundred or so that I took on the trip. I managed to reduce that to forty five to go in there and I now have to make further cuts in what I put here.. and also construct some words to go with them..
It was a long drive to Brora, 565 miles from home which entailed nine and half hours actual driving time, we left home at 5a.m. and stopped twice en-route, once at Tebay Services, a favourite of ours when on the way to the Lake District. Its unlike any other UK motorway service area you will ever have visited, highly recommended. We also stopped at a cafe/tourist information spot on the A9 just north of Perth, this gave us an overall journey time of just over eleven hours. The weather was beautiful for the trip so the scenery made it no hardship whatsoever.
Here are some pictures of Brora where we stayed.. note the cows on the seaside golf course ! I think ‘links course’ is the correct terminology.. (The greens are protected by little electric fences I later discovered)
We took a couple of trips further north of where we stayed, one included Dunnet Head, which is actually the furthest north you can get on mainland UK, just over two miles further north geographically than John-O’-Groats. There is always some discussion among long distance cyclists as to whether you should actually ride to Dunnet Head if you are doing the End To End cycle ride as John-O’-Groats isn’t the furthest north you can get. I know some do both just to cover themselves. We visited both and also the former home of The Queen Mother, the Castle Of Mey in between.
On this trip we went up the road following the salmon river up from Helmsdale, with plenty of fly fishermen to be seen on the way, almost every car we saw had rod racks on. We went to end of that road and then east across via Thurso. It was a bit cloudy at the start of that day so I promised myself I would return and take some photos another time. This we did and drove up the valley from Helmsdale to just beyond Kinbrace this time and returned via the spectacular drive through Glen Loth. On another occasion we followed the River Brora to Loch Brora, here are some pictures from those drives.
The Sunday before we came home we drove a few miles down the road to the magnificent Dunrobin Castle, it was a good day out, a spectacular castle right on the coast with wonderful gardens to wander around. A display of falconry in the morning and again in the afternoon, I managed to find myself with a Harris Hawk perched on my head. We watched both displays as we were there long enough and I was anxious to see the Peregrine falcon in the afternoon, there were different birds in each display and an entertaining and amusing commentary from the falconer.
As it turns out I didn’t make many cuts in the photos I put here, if any. We were blessed with glorious weather for our trip and I think we will definitely be going back to the highlands of Scotland again, probably with the caravan for an extended touring trip with more stops on the way once we are in Scotland. I liked the space, the tranquility and natural beauty of the scenery. I would love to have ridden some of those roads on my bike, just on day trips though. I think my days of considering the ‘End to End’ bike ride are past me now but ‘never say never’ is my motto, one of them anyway! I suppose I should have been out on my bike this morning instead of writing this but ‘there’s always tomorrow..’ there you go, another motto for free..
I have one more post to make about our trip at a later date.. watch this space..