The roadtrip proper started today, we had to get to Ullapool by 17:00 to catch the ferry to Stornoway and just going up the main road seemed a bit boring.
So we devised a more scenic route via the A93 through Blairgowrie, to check out where my auntie has recently bought a holiday home, then Glenshee, so Jen can see where I escape to when we come to Perth during the snowboard season. Everytime I drive up to Glenshee I think what a great road it would be in the summer in my MX-5 and it was even better than I was expecting! The hills were purple with heather and the traffic next to non-existent, we stopped for a quick photo at the ski centre which for me was quite surreal without the snow, then headed down through Braemar and on towards Ballater.
We then cut across to the A939 towards Grantown on Spey, with a quick stop to eat our sandwiches at the Lecht ski centre. The A939 was also a great road but I could see why my Mum hated it when she drove us up to the Lecht to go snowboarding almost 10 years ago.
From Grantown we cut across to the A9 via Carrbridge and pressed on past Inverness and over the Kessock bridge which had great views over the Moray Firth, so good in fact that we stopped at the viewpoint almost immediately after the bridge. From the layby there was a path down the hill to North Kessock, which was a nice little village seemingly forgotten since the bridge replaced the ferry from Inverness bypassing the village.
The A835 up from Inverness was another awesome road, more open and flowing than the A93 and A939, but unfortunately busier, probably with people also catching the ferry to Stornoway. Jen woke up from a nap as we were passing Loch Glascarnoch, so I pulled over into one of the many laybys and let the traffic clear, once the traffic was out of earshot there was just silence, we really were in the middle of nowhere!
We made it to Ullapool with plenty of time to spare, filled up the MX-5 then parked up at the free car park next to Tesco – top tip: just check in for the ferry, their holding area is much nearer the town and you don’t have to stay with your car. Whilst enjoying a drink at a pub opposite the harbour we agreed that Ullapool felt a lot like Punterenas (see Costa Rica Day 6 on my blog) – a lot of people just waiting for a boat to arrive!
I’m writing this post as we cross over to Stornoway and yes, I have taken the traditional off the back of the boat picture!
Mileage so far: 541