After driving from Somerset I was in need of diesel by the time I got to Perth. It was also convenient as I planned to leave the A9 and head north through Glen Shee to spend the night on an abandoned section of one of General Wade’s military roads.
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After breakfast at the Glen Shee ski centre the road continues north to Braemar where the Highland Gathering was in full swing so I passed on to Crathie and Balmoral. The castle is secluded in woodland with tight security.
Standing alongside the road that approaches the castle gates is a memorial to those from the area who dies in Word War 1.
Not far away is the Royal Lochnagar Distillery .
A walk to the shops revealed a number of “classic” cars parked outside the Grant Arms, a 1934 Austin 12, a gathering of Triumph TR6s and a Morris 1000 in lilac. I wasn’t sure about the lilac but later learned it was one of a limited edition to celebrate the one millionth car produced.Garth Hotel seemed to be the nearest pub so I went in for a pint. A place worth visiting again.
The morning revealed the reason for the cars, Grantown Motormania, which was to occupy the square for the day.
It’s a pleasant drive across the hills to Inverness where I stopped for supplies before heading northwards to Dornoch Airport (Google Map) for the night. Where I first parked I had a weak but usable broadband signal. Shortly after, I moved to the edge of the car park and lost the signal. Returning to my original spot restored the signal. I’m guessing the building casts a wireless signal shadow.
I had a pleasant run up the A9 and the A99 to Wick, except for the rain and wind which had risen with the latitude.
Lunch was at the Bridge Street Cafe, an excellent little town centre cafe. The rain was a blessing in disguise as without its dampening effect the wind would have caused a terrible dust storm.
Of course, having completed my little expedition the sky cleared and the wind eased.
In the hope of making a short crossing to the Orkney Islands I went to the ferry terminal at Gills Bay but there was no space until the following afternoon so I carried on to Scrabster where I was able to get on the 7 pm sailing to Stromness.
During the crossing I sampled the Orkney Brewery Dark Island. It was served a bit cold for my liking but it’s excellent beer.
The ferry arrived in Stromness at about 8.30pm. The sat-nav showed a route to my overnight stopping place through the town and I set off. As I was about to turn on to the main road through the town a very helpful lady accosted me and suggested I might not get my motor through and recommended an alternative.