Halt, not Malt

Apart from the travel – about 3 hours each way – and time spent in the hotel, eating and sleeping, my 3 night visit to Moray last week split neatly into two parts.

On each morning I went on a hike along the Speyside Way. The first took me downriver to Craigellachie. The other took me upriver as far as Corran. They were my solitude fix. Time to switch off the outside world and just live in the moment.

South of Aberlour

The bridge at Craigellachie is a local landmark as you see it from the main Aviemore to Elgin road, but it was deserted at 10:30 on a Tuesday. The River Spey is passing through one of its more scenic sections at that point.

Craigellachie Bridge

I had time to reflect on how many times I must have driven past, mostly taking my son to and from ice hockey games in Elgin before he passed his driving test. Then I thought about him hiking the whole length of the Speyside Way as part of some Scout venture. It is 65 miles between Aviemore and Buckie.

Tunnel Vision

On my upriver jaunt to Carron, life was more peaceful as the main road is further away. Trees, fields, hills and the river. In the first hour I saw 2 people, a buzzard and a pine marten.

Again a bridge over the Spey is a landmark, this one having been built to benefit Carron’s road transport and to carry the former Elgin to Aviemore railway.

Corran Bridge

Each afternoon I drove to Findhorn on the Moray Firth coast and met up with my cousin Mike. He lives in Glasgow, but grew up in the village and inherited a cottage there. He spends a lot of his time in Findhorn over summer. I did not know he would be there, but knew it is the time of year when his boat has to come out of the water, so I got lucky.

The first day I was able to go into his cottage. On the second, new pandemic restrictions meant I could not.

140 Findhorn

Both afternoons we sat outside at the Boatyard to chew the fat, and gossip with (or about) whoever was passing. Normal Findhorn activity…

Bay View

These were also times for reflection, about a lifetime of visiting the village. My late father was from nearby Forres and my grandmother had a cottage in Findhorn. We often used it for family holidays when I was growing up. Even in the last 10 years, my frequent stays in the village hold many good memories.

ⓒ iain taylor 2020


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