Today was a perfect day for driving, blue sky and sunshine but not too hot. I could see the hills ahead even from the city bypass and Sounds of the Sixties on the radio gave me a few ideas for the Lincoln Highway playlist which is under construction. We passed the Kelpies near Falkirk and the very familiar Ochil hills. There was still some snow to be seen on the Trossach hills. Driving through Dunblane took me past the restaurant I used to work at (now an Indian restaurant) and the old school bus stop. There were a few new buildings around but many things had not changed much at all. James saw a collection of photographs of distilleries in an Edinburgh Reclamation company we visited a few weeks ago and had the idea of compiling his own collection. We will never have the wall space so I agreed it could be a photographic book on the distilleries of the British Isles. This meant was had to divert off the A9 to Tullibardine in Blackford. Driving on the old road through the village was reminiscent of finding old sections of Route 66 off the interstate two years ago. Inside the distillery, a purchase had to be made.
The Blackford Hotel is now defunct and James remembered stopping off for a drink there on a Dundee football outing heading further south many years ago. Back on the A9 there were numerous warnings about deer on the road (I saw one hind grazing on the embankment and two corpses by the road) and there are now average speed cameras most of the way. Inverness CT fans were heading to Hampden and we had a quick coffee stop at Gloagburn.
North of Blair Atholl there was snow on the Grampians and over Drumochter we had to stop at Dalwhinnie.
Lunch was a brief stop in Aviemore and we could see recent snow on the Cairngorm Mountains. Afterwards we were soon over Slochd Summit and descending towards the Kessock Bridge having decided that a visit to Tomatin Distillery might have to wait for the return trip. The same applied to Glen Ord on the Black Isle. Back in the lowlands the gorse was in full bloom on both sides of the road and I spotted my first seal of the trip just after crossing the bridge over the Cromarty Firth. We took a B road over to Bonar Bridge and then the road towards Tongue getting some shots of the Dornoch Firth from Struie Hill on the way.
We were soon installed in our cottage near Skerray harbour and time for a walk down there to stretch our legs.