A Travellerspoint blog

September 2020

Up North

sunny 14 °C
View Speyside on IainT's travel map.

Spey Fishing

Spey Fishing

Instead of 10 days in Kyiv or Tirana for my September holiday, I ended up with 3 nights in Aberlour - Speyside in Scotland.

Aye, the virus rages on…

It was a fairly random choice. I decided on midweek because accommodation is easier to get than on weekends. I decided on this part of the country because I know people here. I have driven through Aberlour and this part of Speyside countless times, always thinking I need to stop and spend time here sometime.

Craigellachie Bridge

Craigellachie Bridge

So, Aberlour it was. The town is tiny. Just under 1,000 people. However, it is at the heart of Speyside whisky. The Spey is one of the country’s best salmon rivers, so the fishing is a big part of the economy too.

You find whisky distilleries around almost every corner.

Random Distillery

Random Distillery

You see fisherman dotted along the river at regular intervals.

Aberlour

Aberlour

I chose Dowans - a small, family hotel - to stay in. I was very happy with it. Good value, excellent room, good food and service, quiet and relaxed. Just as importantly these days, their hygiene measures were spot on. Even the other guests managed to comply.

Hotel Restaurant

Hotel Restaurant

Partly because I knew about the excellent hygiene, I chose to eat there in the evening as well. I ate/drank in two other places while I was away. The cafe (Fresh) in the village was also right on the ball with hygiene. So was the Captain’s Table in Findhorn.

Findhorn Bay

Findhorn Bay

Three nights is too short, but in the circumstances it has been a godsend.

Posted by IainT 06:33 Archived in Scotland Tagged whisky scotland findhorn aberlour Comments (0)

Hotel

sunny 14 °C
View Forres on IainT's travel map.

Knockomie

Knockomie

I have have been to a hotel. Can you imagine?

On Friday afternoon I decided enough was enough, and I had to get away from home. It was just for one night (Saturday) but then it was all very last minute.

The hotel is in Forres, which is 3 hours drive north. It is also where my father was from, so my memories of the place go back as far as I do. Grandmother. Uncle and aunt. Cousins. Summer holidays. Easter visits.

Findhorn Village

Findhorn Village

I have been driving past that hotel as long as it has been there (33 years), and never gone in. To be honest, I never saw it as my kind of place. Full of old people. Old people who think they are a bit posh because they can afford it.

I suppose I am one of them now, but without the posh bit. And the money obviously - a cheap last minute deal.

I enjoyed the drive to get there - the pure novelty of driving for 3 hours after weeks of living under restrictions.

I was perfectly happy with the hotel’s hygiene arrangements. My room was pleasant and quiet. I slept well. They provided an excellent dinner and breakfast.

Aside from the sheer liberation of the escape and staying somewhere which is away from home, I can pick out several highlights. First, an afternoon walk beside the River Findhorn. No sound except the roar of the water.

River Findhorn at Logie

River Findhorn at Logie

Next, an evening walk in Findhorn village. It had a real “end of summer” feel. The village was its usual mixture of busy but quiet, locals and visitors. I chose to go at that time hoping for a typical Findhorn sunset. I chose well.

Findhorn Sunset

Findhorn Sunset

Then my Couch to 5k session at 6am on Sunday. Session 17. I went to the town’s Grant Park, where my father played cricket as a youngster. His old school - Forres Academy - is across the street.

Grant Park, Forres

Grant Park, Forres

Finally, a Sunday morning 3 hour hike in Culbin Forest. For the first 2 hours of my hike I saw no-one. I had geese, butterflies and a seal for company.

Culbin Shore

Culbin Shore

The Forest is fascinating. It was planted to fix the sand dunes now beneath it, to stop them moving. Some are over 20m high. I loved being able to walk in solitude for 2 hours, surrounded by trees, with no noise apart from the geese, the sea occasionally, and my footsteps.

Culbin Forest

Culbin Forest

I wonder if the geese are resident or migrating.

Posted by IainT 23:13 Archived in Scotland Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches skylines trees sky boats scotland life transport Comments (0)

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