Not a lot to write tonight and I suspect there could be less tomorrow. The car had to go back today but before we dropped it off we took a run to The Slochd, a pass through the hills which although only 605m at the highest point is often impassable because of snow. On one side there is a natural rock formation called, The Soldier’s Head which I’ve never managed to photograph because of the dangerous road. After several trips down that road we’d worked out a layby where we could stop to walk back for a photo (In this instance the wrong side of the Armco barrier was the right side!) so that’s what we did.
After dropping off the car Lena picked us up and we came back to the house. Maybe not everyone knows Alex’s love of the saying, “If it wasn’t for the last minute nothing would ever get done”. He put that into practise today and has put together a water feature and placed it in the garden, fixed some curtain retainers, had a Papa Nap and removed then raised a curtain track. Lena did mention the jobs the first week we arrived, maybe that’s why she was pleased to see us.
The Golf Bag has gone back up into the loft and my bag is packed, Alex is waiting for another ”last minute” to pack his bag, he learnt l-o-n-g ago it was no use thinking I’d pack it for him. The light woke me again this morning at 4am so I think I’ll be going to bed early tonight, Alex might start packing then, the train leaves for London at 7:55.
Thanks Lena and Mark for putting up with us invading your space and making sure we had a great holiday.
Natural rock formation, The Soldier’s Head.
Big black slugs were plentiful at The Slochd.
Train making its way through The Slochd. In August the hills would be purple with Heather.
Pine Plantation, have no idea why the ZigZags.
When we were in Strathpeffer, Alex hitting golf balls and me driving a buggy, the Pro Shop was peopleless when we’d finished (probably the pro had gone home to sit by his fire) so Alex wasn’t able to get any trinkets. We went back this morning to remedy that then stopped in Dingwall for a last supper at Grants Café.
Mark, the shorter, had an orthodontist appt. so it was about 3:30 when we arrived in Aviemore. Colin and Ali had their clubs out ready so when “The Boys” went off to play at Carr Bridge Lena and I went for a walk to find a cache or two. We walked along the main road then up through the Centre. I decided that Aviemore looks different now because all the action is in the village and the Centre just seems to be a cluster of Hotels. When we lived there all the action was in The Centre. There was a Swimming Pool, Ice Rink, Restaurants, Sports Shops and Ski School offices etc then in Santa Claus Land there were heaps of little shops, amusements and, of course, a resident Santa. We walked to the Dry Ski Slope which is still up in the Centre and there is a small Climbing Wall but it certainly wasn’t a bustling place like the town is now.
My search for the cache took us up and across the new A9 then through a field and into a Birch Wood. Lena found the cache quite easily then we walked through the Wood, along a path between Loch Puladdern and Craig Ellachie. In the 7 years I lived there I’d never been that way but it was a really lovely walk. We walked back towards the old A9 and past the Youth Hostel where I stayed when I first arrived in Aviemore, the building is a nice new stone one now. The second cache we found was on the old bridge over The Spey River, the fastest flowing river in Scotland. As we walked back along the back road we passed the place where the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages lived. The old board where “The Banns” were posted is still on the wall. Our banns were posted there and nobody knew because the place isn’t on the main road so unless you went out of your way you’d never see them. I remember Alex’s mum saying confidently we couldn’t get married because our banns hadn’t been posted but they actually were. They had to be on display for two weeks before a marriage could take place, that was supposed to allow time for anyone to make objections.
We walked back past the “Butcher’s Burn” where in the long ago the butcher used to dress the meat using the nice clean, clear water. By then we were ready for a warming drink so stopped at Cobb’s Café before heading back out the road towards Milton Park. We had time to visit the lovely, new school, new Fire Station and the Stone Circle before The Boys returned. They all swore they hadn’t been cold even Colin, who was wearing shorts.
“The Boys”, Colin, Alex, Ali, Mark.
Rainbow above the Stone Circle.
The Butcher’s Burn
Apparently these Blaeberries are delicious when they’re ripe.
Who owns the fish?
Lena with a cache.
View from Spey Bridge.
Nothing special today. After going to a “Car Boot Sale” in a Leisure Centre Hall we went looking for Highland Cow teatowels, everyone loves them don’t they? Alex realised he could drive across town without any help from the cyborg, I certainly couldn’t. There is no Ring Road, it doesn’t seem to matter where you want to go you always have to drive through narrow city streets and negotiate at least 3 complex roundabouts to get anywhere at all.
We’ve discovered that Tescos comes in three different sizes, small, medium and large. Small has the usual food and groceries, medium tosses in some clothes and large adds things like TVs. Very handy to know if we were staying longer.
I convinced Alex we should go for a walk along the canal despite his sore Achilles. There wasn’t much happening there, no boats going through the locks and no people fishing, just dog walkers and people like us. At the Marina there were a few people working on their boats, some either getting their luggage off or preparing to get it onto a boat and more people sitting on their boats, relaxing and enjoying the reasonable weather. One of the lockmasters told us he was about to go and check the lock levels. Apparently people who live nearby don’t like the sound of water cascading over the top of the lock so they have to release enough water from the base of the gates to make sure that doesn’t happen. I would have thought people who choose to live beside a canal would enjoy the sounds that emanate from it.
Tomorrow we plan to go to Aviemore so Alex, Colin and young Mark can have a game of golf at Dalfaber Country Club but it will probably depend on the weather. We might have had our allocation of good days!
Remember you can click on a single photo to go to a Slideshow and see a larger version.
View along the canal.
Gulls bathing in the River Ness.
Swimming and palying in the River Ness.
Hooded Crow feeding beside the River Ness.
After nearly 200 hunderd years the steps have the right to be a little worn.
Lockmaster checking the water height.
There are always sceptics.