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Driving northwest of Beauly

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Tuesday 17 June, driving northwest of Beauly

Click here for the route and our photographs in Google Earth.
It has been fun last night and has become very late, so we are also late in the morning, in Scotland you should not be in a hurry. From 2000 we go to Scotland every year for a few weeks and even I am not in a hurry here, while I always want to see everything when we go somewhere. Often I want to do and see more than is possible; if only a day had a few hours more ... But not in Scotland, I enjoy every minute, no matter what we do, especially the contact with the people.
Still, I must confess that I have 1 tic about Scotland: I would like to have driven all roads, to finally (after 20 years?) be able to say that I have seen almost everything, or at least driven almost every road in Scotland. I use the ANWB road map of Scotland (1:300,000) and we have several of them, including 1 which is plasticized with all already driven roads marked. Fortunately, in other countries I do not suffer from this obsession, but in Scotland I try to drive at least a few kilometers every day for us unknown roads. 'Fortunately' Elisabeth does not have a driving license, so I can determine the routes.
Today we mainly need a lot of time to catch up with our local friends, so we take only a short drive, but fortunately I have saved enough roads in the neighbourhood that we still have to go to. Elisabeth is not always happy with the fact that I really want to visit all the roads, but she admits that we regularly encounter beautiful things that we wouldn't see otherwise.
Single track near Muir of Ord House near Muir of FairburnI prefer driving on songle track roads, narrow roads where you usually encounter very little traffic. They are often deadends which I prefer to call 'returning' roads since you have to return after reaching the end, but sometimes you can also traverse an entire area as we do today behind Muir or Ord. We take the road behind the Glen Ord distillery and then drive around for a couple of hours and we see occasionally these typical Scottish houses that could have come from a fairy tale.
View at Muirton Mains Fairburn HouseAt Muirton Mains we arrive at Fairburn, a stately 19th century mansion/castle where we have been before. It is a remote nursing home where we would like to spend our old days.
Pausing at Loch Achilty Pausing at Loch AchiltyAt Loch Achilty we find a beautiful picnic spot, but although the weather is much better than predicted (10 to 15 degrees and a lot of rain) it is still fresh, but we do not have to wear a coat. That is why we make a short walk to keep warm, and we do put the position in our navigation to remember it for a next time.
Strath Garve Strath GarveThen we drive towards Garve where we have not driven a certain road yet. In the end it turns out that we can arrive at the same point from three sides, namely an old arch bridge over the Blackwater river where thick concrete piles block the road. This is also a beautiful area for walking, picnicking and there are even quiet swimming spots in the river.
Strath GarveLike many Scottish rivers, there are also many rapids and waterfalls here. But today it is absolutely too cold for a dive, no matter how beautiful the water is. We drive around a bit further and then go to Rogie Falls where we have not been for years. But it starts to drizzle and the path looks muddy, so we do that another time.
Church at Strathpepper Near StrathpepperAt Strathpepper we stop for a soup to get warm. On the other side of the street we see a Belgian chocolate shop, they must have got lost here. We then drive further on the single track roads around this quiet village. Soon we are high in the hills and have a wide view of the country.
Neil M. Gunn Memorial, Heights of Brae near StrathpepperAt the Heights of Brae there is a monument for Neil M. Gunn, a local writer who seems to have been quite influential in the first half of the 20th century. He was an avid socialist who was also an advocate of his own Scottish nationality. Yet he wrote his books in English and not in the Scottish dialect or in the Gaelic.
It is windy and getting colder, so we drive back to the hotel in Beauly where we spend the evening in the bar and quickly get in touch with the locals. We are greeted as if we have never been away and so we have a very enjoyable evening. And of course it is late again before we are off to bed, but that does not matter, we have decided to have a quiet holiday this time.


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