NC500 Day 1 – Sunday 25th September 2022

Marnhull to Inverness

Google maps route from Edinburgh Airport to Bluebell House B&B.

We left Marnhull in Dorset at 6.45am to drive to Southampton Airport with a very gratefully received lift from our friend Steve. Had a spot of breakfast at the airport and then boarded the Logan Air 9.10am flight to Edinburgh. The flight was very smooth and arrived on time at 10.50am. We then headed off to the Sixt office in the car hire complex and picked up our hire car.

We had chosen a Peugeot 3008 due to its size for the luggage and the height of an SUV for vision whilst driving, the automatic gearbox proved a godsend due to the amounts of stop/starts on the route with the single track roads and the 1500 diesel engine was plenty powerful enough and suitably frugal on the fuel throughout the journey.

The drive to Bluebell House B&B in Inverness took us via St Andrews golf course, the Lindores Abbey distillery and the Cairngorms.

Our plan to stop at “The Old Course Hotel” in St Andrews was scuppered as they were preparing for the Dunhill Links Championship that week and the whole area was rammed with people, we had to settle for a few pictures of Swilken Bridge and the course then move on for lunch.

Our next stop was the Lindores Abbey distillery, it claims to be on the site of the earliest known whisky distillery in Scotland from 1494, it was then re-launched as the current distillery in 2017. So whilst the whisky they produce is still very young, it has an incredible history. It is also extremely good for a young whisky! We couldn’t get lunch at the distillery but they pointed us in the direction of the Buttercup Cafe in Lindores that did provide us with tea and a scone.

We were due to to head over the middle of the Cairngorms from Lindores and go via Braemar, Balmoral and Ballater. However the owner of the Cafe in Lindores told us that due to the low cloud conditions it would add two hours onto our journey, so we decided to change the route and follow the A9 to Inverness via Avimore arriving at the B&B at around 5.30pm.

We were greeted for our stay in Bluebell House B&B by the owner, Kennie. A very genial and jovial host. Nothing was too much trouble and the room was amazing with wood panelling, leather Queen Anne chairs and a four poster bed. An outstanding first stopover and definitely recommended.

Bluebell House B&B

Once settled into the room we headed down to the River Ness and dinner in The Kitchen Brasserie. Great views of the river and bridge lit in Ukranian colours and good food and drink. A great start to the trip.

The Kitchen Brasserie