Having been a motorcycling enthusiast for many years now, I have enjoyed lots of trips around the UK exploring a wealth of fantastic places. However, until recently, I had never visited the Highlands of Scotland. On the recommendation of friends, I made my first trip to this wonderful area just a few weeks ago. From my own experience, I can now wholeheartedly recommend this trip to others.
Planning my route
It helped that I planned my route carefully before leaving home. I spoke to friends who had driven through the Highlands and did some research online to find the best routes to take. I decided that the Moray & Speyside region of Scotland would be a fantastic area to visit. According to friends, the A95 is a great road for motorcycling and I also wanted to ride along the coast. My plan was to spend two days there so that I could explore the area, rather than just drive through it.
The riding experience
The A95 was a great ride to experience on my trusty Enfield. The road had a nice surface and there are plenty of twists, turns and sweeping bends along the way to add to the thrill. It is a bit of a tourist route so you need to take care to watch out for coaches. I also needed to be on high alert for wildlife as I came across pheasants, squirrels and deer during my travels. However, I found that this only added another interesting element to the journey. The coastal part of the ride was equally exciting, although they are a completely different type of road. Along the coast, the country lanes offer a different riding experience to the larger roads in the area.
Without a doubt, one of the best things about riding through the Scottish Highlands has to be the spectacular scenery. Its outstanding natural beauty is some of the best I have seen on my travels across the UK. The coastline is stunning, with sandy beaches and pretty harbour villages. I took some time out to stop at the fishing village of Buckie and enjoy the amazing cliff top views.
Inland offers different scenery to the coastline. I loved the sweeping landscapes full of hills and brooding skylines. At some points there were no houses for miles, and then I would turn a corner and find myself in a picturesque village. What I could see around me changed constantly and this made the ride really interesting.
Experiences along the way
As I was staying at a hotel in Grantown-on-Spey, I was able to sample some of the county’s finest malt whisky as part of The Whisky Trail. Had I been driving, I would not have been able to enjoy this little treat. As a whisky lover, this was one of the highlights of my trip and Culdearn House was exceptionally comfortable.
I came across some great restaurants in country house settings that looked amazing. However, this is not really my style. I much prefer a good, hearty pub lunch. On day one, I opted for the Plough Inn at Macduff. I enjoyed an excellent meal here and was delighted to see that they mostly used local produce. I sampled a seafood dish as this was fitting to my coastal location.
I was talking to the waitress after my lunch and she recommended that I visit the Macduff Marine Aquarium as it was just around the corner. This is a fantastic attraction, suitable for all the family. There are some really good interactive exhibits here and I loved the tranquillity of watching the marine life.
On the second day, my choice of eating establishment was the Crooked Inn at Alves near Elgin. This was just my sort of food and there were generous helpings and good service. I also appreciated sitting in a spot by the log fire after a long ride.
Overall, the Scottish Highlands was a great place to visit on my motorbike. Not only did I enjoy a thrilling ride round the twists and turns of the Scottish roads, I also got to enjoy the beautiful scenery, eat some excellent food and visit some of the attractions in the area. On the whole, I would recommend motorcycling in the Scottish Highland to other bikers and I certainly plan to return here again.