3DTM Inverness to Newtonmore

Leaving Inverness with the thought the next time I stay here in 2 months time it’ll be in the SYHA, we head off towards Culloden. No sign of the infamous wee jumped up Italian gnaff, nor Stinking Billies, just signposts to the site of the last pitched battle on mainland Britain.

The route today is NCN7 which runs parallel to the Beauly Firth before cutting south. This avoids the A9, following roughly the railway line to Aviemore. This ascends from sea level to its 401 Sliochd summit 25miles away, that’s a continuous 1%. The road builders were a bit coarser, preferring a roller coaster approach. Hill sir? Certainly let’s go straight up there.

For the rest of the day it’s mainly the old declassified A9. This is also an old General Wade route for many parts. So today: railway viaducts including Culloden (longest in Scotland) and the last remaining working wooden railway bridge; lovely road bridges. Perhaps the most interesting is the 1926 Findhorn Bridge near Tomatin. It’s unique.

The new A9 takes the vast bulk of the traffic. For most of the day we’ve wide B and C roads all to ourselves. This gives plenty of space to take in the changing landscape as we approach the Cairngorms and Monarch of the Glen territory.

Bit damp at the start it soon cleared up. Midges made a brief appearance for the first time just to rewind is not to get complacent.

Tomorrow off piste with General Wade to Aberfeldy.

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