The Spey Valley has a special place in my heart. When I was a child, we did the trip from home in Edinburgh to my grandmother’s homes in Forres & Findhorn at least once a year. The area between Newtonmore and Carrbridge is one where we often stopped for picnics, toilets or even overnight sometimes.

In the last 10 years I’ve been passing through regularly again, after a gap of a few decades. Sometimes it was due to my son’s ice hockey matches in Elgin or Inverness. Sometimes to visit the cousins in Findhorn. Again – stopping for food, toilets or even overnight occasionally. Once we stopped for skiing – Mark and his friend skied while I chilled out more gently.

Going north, this part of the road marks the end of the bleak empty section after Blair Atholl. Wilderness, but man made. I don’t like it unless it’s snowing.

This weekend I had an overnight trip to Aviemore for a conference, and being on my own I could do what I wanted outside of the sessions I had to attend.

Friday night whetted my appetite, and reminded me why I love the area. My dinner was in a gastro-pub right by the river, and just outside town. It was dusk when I came out. Lovely.


I had Saturday morning free, so after breakfast I went out to Loch Morlich.

Loch Morlich

It was busy in that direction. Climbers. Hikers. Cyclists. Triathletes. Canoists. Campervaners. Not for me, all this commercial wilderness. So, off in another direction and keeping to B roads.


What a difference. Quiet and unspoiled. Native forests (and commercial timber too) alongside farmland. Lochs, glens & rivers. Just the sound of the wind in the trees, or the water rushing down.


I did make a mental note to stop off more regularly. Find some more B roads to explore, but maybe on my bike next time.

© iain taylor 2012
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