Tuesday 26 June 2018

Run to Ardnamurchan

Fine weather continues here so I'm back on the FJ. Yesterday I took my annual trip to the Ardnamurchan peninsular in the West Highlands. 

Welcome to the Highlands

Camper van from Germany



The West Highlands are choked with tourists at this time of year. The FJ easily gets past the coaches, camper vans and dawdling cars but I have another plan. I take the Corran ferry to the Ardnamurchan peninsular. Here I find quiet roads and solitude.

View from the ferry
Welcome to Ardnamurchan. My map shows that Ardnamurchan is the area at the end of the peninsular but the name gets applied to the whole peninsular.
River Gour at Loch Linnhe

The Caribbean or the Greek islands? - no - the west coast of Scotland!

River Shiel at Archarcle

Castle Tioram

Foxgloves seem to thrive in this area

Loch Ailort - biking roads don't come much better than this

This was a sad sight. A once grand building allowed to fall into ruin. Inverailort House (or Castle) is a very odd building. The oldest parts are maybe 17th century with multiple extensions over the years. Architecturally it's all over the place. No attempt was made to match any of the various parts. The obituary of the last(?) resident gives some of its strange history. here

Saturday 23 June 2018

Borders Jaunt

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day so what better than a run to the Borders on my FJ.

On my trips to this region I often take this back road near Carmichael.

Here is a fine masonry arch bridge over the River Tweed north of Selkirk. It opened in 1831 and the writer Sir Walter Scott laid the foundation stone. It is thought that he influenced the design with the heraldic shields and the contrasting stone in the arch. It has been replaced by a new bridge but was refurbished last year as part of a cycling route. So well done Borders Council.

The view from the bridge

Another impressive arch bridge - the Leaderfoot Viaduct. This carried the Berwickshire Railway (now closed) over the Tweed east of Melrose.

The market cross in Swinton. Post Reformation these crosses weren't crosses. 
(Note that the church in the background has lost its steeple)

There is something odd here. The village green is marked out as a football (soccer) pitch with goalposts but the cross occupies the centre spot!

At Etal I find a poster for the upcoming re-enactment of the Battle of Carham. This battle established the Scottish border. I'm in England now and they're commemorating a Scottish victory? - how magnanimous.

Riding the back roads

Denholm. Another village green, another sports field (rugby) This time the monument is not on the pitch. It commemorates John Leyden, orientalist.

Also in Denholm is this quirky house. Called "The Text House" is has panels with the following:



Although the house only dates to 1910 the language is arcane. It seems to mean "time is short" and "others lived here before you and will after you".

In the Teviot hills. I always stop at this spot. My brother may shudder at this picture 
(see here)

A favourite back road of mine.

Talla reservoir

Wednesday 6 June 2018

River Run - North Esk

Last year I took a run along the River South Esk and found much of interest. So today I visited its northern neighbour. We have been enjoying a long spell of fine weather and this seemed a good trip for my newly re-activated FJ1200.
The river rises in the Cairngorm Mountains of the Eastern Highlands and river flows into the North Sea north of Montrose. My run along the river is only 30 miles but there was plenty to see. 

My first surprise was the beach at St Cyrus. This is north of where the river joins the North Sea and is a stunning stretch of sand.

Beach selfie

Just inland there is the Lower North Water Bridge.
The Montrosians (?) must have been proud of the bridge because they erected this huge plaque. But East Coasters have a reputation of being stingy so maybe having spent the money they wanted everybody to know about it.

Adjacent is a railway bridge. The line is now closed and the bridge is part of a long-distance cycle route

In a farmyard I found this standing stone - The Stone of Morphie. Erected by the Danes…or maybe the Picts.

It has ancient carvings….. of Mickey Mouse, strangely

The river from Marykirk Bridge

Ruins of the Church of Pert


I am fascinated by old grave stones. The lower panel has the Latin phrase "memento mori" - remember that you have to die. The other text and the carving is a biblical reference (I think) - "the trumpet will sound and the dead shall rise to meet Christ Jesus in the skies" (???)

The Royal Arch in Fettercairn. Built to commemorate the visit of Queen Victoria in 1861

The FJ gleams in the sunshine.

The upper reaches of the river - I can't get much further
The road ends at Invermark Castle
This splendid building is the library and public hall in Edzell. It just shouts Scots Baronial