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Another country [May. 14th, 2015|07:30 pm]

Road works on the A1 provided a reason to take the A68 north, riding roller coaster up through Northumberland, between shades of yellow: rape fields in lemony acid full bloom, gorse deep honey golden, verges bristling with cowslips - what's going on? I think of primroses as common, cowslips as rare, yet here they were, and no primroses south of Perthshire.

A late lunch at M&S on the Edinburgh bypass, and by mid-afternoon durham_rambler had to wake me up: "This isn't the time to nod off, we're getting to the pretty bit!" The Highlands were splendid in the sunshine, which picked out the silver birch trunks and the brightest of the spring-green leaves, and the patches of snow on the higher slopes.

We didn't enjoy the scenery as much as we might have, because we'd half-seen warnings of a road closure, signposted far enough ahead to make us fear it was major. There were points where the road being closed would have forced us to detour via Inverness, so we were jumpy until, beyond Dalwhinnie, we turned left and the road to the right was closed: phew!

I don't think it was just relief that made the final stretch, along the valley of the Spean, the loveliest of all: the wooded hillsides came down to a series of lakes, dotted with buildings from the Extremely Silly end of the Scottish Baronial range.

And now we are in the bar of the Glenspean Hotel, and the staff are keen to serve us dinner. I shall allow myself to be persuaded...