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What Makes a Wonderful Journey to Helmsdale by Jackie Boyd

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

A9 View over the Cromarty Firth

So the weekend for my Valhalla visit had finally arrived - I was not only looking forward to these few days in Helmsdale to catch up on some well-deserved r&r, but also the journey there. As far as I was concerned, the drive from the west coast of Ayrshire, outside Glasgow to the north east coast of Sutherland is itself something to look forward to. The Scottish scenery throughout the trip is so varied and being October, there would be gorgeous autumn colours everywhere.

After leaving home and driving along the A9 in Perthshire, I noticed there was a lot of traffic going in the same direction; it seemed like many others had the same idea of a weekend break. I drove onwards and upwards towards my destination and as I passed through the Cairngorm National Park I breathed a sigh of appreciation, as all the autumnal shades of bright reds, oranges and yellows that looks so beautiful at this time of year were everywhere.

Autumn in Perthshire & Cairngorm National Park

To say I love this drive is an understatement, and to top it off, there was blue sky and even snow on the hills. Any stress I had felt negotiating the weekend traffic was flying out the window. The beauty increased even further after Inverness and the Black Isle, with more snow on the hills and even less traffic.

Crossing the bridge over the Dornoch Firth I could see the stillness of the water like a mirror reflection and in the distance the Duke of Sutherland statue at the top of Ben Bhragghie standing proud over the land – nearly there – Helmsdale, village of my birth, was not far now. I knew the weekend would be well worth the time spent driving there! .... to be continued

Helmsdale Village, Sutherland

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