From Moorlands to Highlands

The Highlands

We discovered an interesting monument on our way winding up through the rolling moorlands.

Take a moment to behold as still skies or storms unfold.

Indeed it was a beautiful spot to stop and appreciate the incredible-ness of the expanse of mother earth. From this view, it looked as though the moorlands continued indefinitely.

A Moment to Behold

The road seemed long and lonely, though we weren’t too far from our destination. A few ancient stone cottages, the rare sheep farm, but otherwise no services, no people and no sun.

Surely it only carried on this way for 20 driving minutes or so, but the combination of the eerie unusual landscape, the low lying fog and lack of trees and other humans, made the road seem much longer.

Not that we minded – both of us enjoy a good drive through unknown land – especially when the land stimulates rumination.

The Lonely Road Stone Cottage

It was still early, and the first town we came upon, Tomintoul, suffered from a lack of services. I could imagine living here might be a bit depressing.

Built in the 1700’s, the population peaked in the mid 1800’s at about 1700 residents. The estimated population of Tomintoul now is just over 300.

Grey Tomintoul

The town definitely gave the impression of having seen better days. It does have the status of having the highest elevation of any town in the Highlands, but that hasn’t seemed to help its popularity.

That doesn’t stop it from being famous for its Glenlivet whiskey though.


I would suspect that if you lived in Tomintoul, you would enjoy a good whiskey!

According to the ‘visit Tomintoul’ website, this is a great place to take a walk – not sure what else you would do if you found yourself in Tomintoul for a spell – walk and drink whiskey, that seems about it.

Combine the two, and you are in for some REAL excitement!

After driving a few streets we took our growling tummies up the A939 (Old Military road) to the next – better serviced – location, Grantown-on-Spey.

Welcome to the Highlands

Scottish Gaelic – Huh?

Grantown, named after Sir James Grant, located alongside the river Spey, considers itself a traditional Highland town. Yes! We had made it to the Highlands, and found ourselves a friendly place to get a take out coffee.

Stone of Grantown

The strongest coffee of my life – nearly undrinkable – was enjoyed while surveying the centuries old stonework and taking in the curious stares of the locals.

There weren’t many people up and about at 7am, but those that were pegged us as foreign outsiders – without hesitation.


A few old men stood in their tracks to watch us walking by, some ladies had a point and whisper. Not so many tourists stopping in Grantown, I assume!


With pastry and tar coffee filling our bellies and a wave goodbye to the Grantown local elders who were quite fascinated by us, we continued our tour up to Inverness – where we were heading for no other reason than to ‘take a look’.

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To follow this trip head to the ‘8 Country EU Tour‘ section. Enjoy many more photos of Scotland at the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.


2 responses to “From Moorlands to Highlands

  1. I’ve been to the GlenLivet distillery twice via bus tours and it was always disconcerting to see the Canadian Flag flying. It used to be owned by Seagram’s Canada. (Just googled, not owned by them anymore).


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