Carrbridge to Inverness

Breakfast at Fairwinds hotel and we watched a red squirrel scampering over the bark of a huge redwood tree near the conservatory where we sat. That and the rain. By the time it came to pull the Beast from its overnight stable in the disused church, it had turned to a fine drizzle. Leaving Carrbridge over the new road bridge, we were treated to a view of the remains of the old bridge straddling a very violent river Dulnain, swollen by the night’s rain.


The River Dulnain in spate


We left the town behind and the trees closed in on both sides to border the road for the long but relatively easy climb to the Slochd Summit some six miles away. For a while we followed a B road running right next to the A9, then left that to join the old road, now a cycle path. By now we’d left most of the trees bind and the hills were bare except for heather. No shelter from the elements that were doing their best to spoil the day. From the summit there was a long descent to Tomatin where we stopped at the village shop for hot drinks and chocolate shortcake. I changed into a dry top too as I had only been wearing my lightweight waterproof which had given up trying to be waterproof by then.

Slochd Summit between Carrbridge and Inverness.

Slochd Summit between Carrbridge and Inverness.

Refreshed and a little dryer we headed on towards Inverness. A few miles short and at the bottom of a fast descent, we came to a skidding halt, nearly missing the national cycle route ‘detour’. If we hadn’t turned off we would have ended up on the A9 into Inverness. Not nice. Probably similar to trying to ride along the A34 Newbury bypass. So, we took a little lane that climbed and ran along the side of a ridge for a fe miles. We stopped to make acquaintance with a foal in a field we passed. Very friendly little fellow let Karon give him a good scratch then, when we moved on, he ran alongside us, just for fun. We dropped off the ridge to cross a river and paused to check out some kind of stone-age settlement, the Clava Cairns. Then there was a climb away from the river up onto Culloden Moor, where, conveniently, someone had built a pub/restaurant. Lunchtime – steak pie (Kaz) and fish and chips (Bob).
After lunch we dropped back off the moor into the community of Culloden and made our way through a residential area then picked up a cycle path that took us into the centre of Inverness. No room in our hotel to store the Beast, so we left it in the entrance lobby.

Inverness. If Carling did bike sheds....

Inverness. If Carling did bike sheds….

Up to the room for a bath and Wimbledon. Never mind Andy Murray, there’s alway next year.
Tomorrow we head for Tain. Let’s hope it’s a wee bit dryer and warmer!