A Life in the Slow Lane

South to the Cairngorms

Last night Sarah and I had contrasting luck. I sat in my captain’s chair in Basil, with my best pal Melek by my side, expecting to watch a cagey first round World Cup match between two of the favourites, Spain and Portugal only to be confounded by an exiting open expansive match, full of goals and a hatrick from “Him”. Sarah, on the other hand, took Mabel on the long trek to Chanory Point to see the dolphins for the second time. She was a little unlucky, as only two of Flipper’s mates turned up to thrill the assembled crowd.

Today we have been somewhat compromised by rain. Scotland’s climate seems to have returned to normal. We set off south with the intention of driving straight to our new CL. A few miles into our journey we saw a sign to the Culloden Battlefield, so we thought we would have a look. Culloden was the place where “Bonnie” Prince Charlie’s attempt to restore the Stuart bloodline to the British throne came to an end, with a crushing defeat on a boggy battlefield a few miles outside Inverness. Culloden is always portrayed as the English beating the Scots, but that is far from the truth. It was more the defeat of Prince Charles and his mainly Highland Clan supporters by the combined might of the rest of Britain including many, if not most lowland Scots.

The battlefield was, not surprisingly, a disappointment – it’s still a boggy field, albeit with flags to mark the position of various regiments. We did not stay long.

Our journey to our new Motorhome and Caravan Club Certified Location (57.284814, -3.820731 £15 including electricity and good wifi) in the small village of Carrbridge only took a further 45 minutes. One sight which enlivened our journey and reminded us of our time in Finland last year, was the profusion of wild lupins on the road verges. Clearly lupins like forest edges because the forests of the Baltic States and Finland were awash with them.

Basil on the Carrbridge CL with his satellite dish poised and ready for World Cup action.

I won’t bore you with my World Cup viewing schedule, suffice it to say that Sarah went out to explore Carrbridge while I watched another pretty exciting match.

The River Dulnain near Carrbridge courtesy of Sarah

Later in the afternoon we both went into Carrbridge, which is within the boundaries of the Cairngorm National Park and whose main claim to fame is that it is the site of the Highland’s oldest bridge, known as the Packhorse Bridge. It dates from the early 17th Century and has a rather eccentric appearance, being essentially a single arch made of stone. Whether it looked like this originally I do not know.

The Packhorse Bridge

Tomorrow we intend to travel to Loch Garten to see if we can get a glimpse of the famous Ospreys and the numerous other species native to the Caledonian Pine forest. Today we have found out that dogs are not allowed in the Osprey Centre so we may have to satisfy ourselves with a walk in the adjacent forests.