This was a complete chance encounter and one that I am incredibly grateful for. It was a privilege to be invited into a private home that happened to be a disused railway station.
Spey Bay is one of the few remaining stations from the closed Moray Coast Railway. National Cycle Route One travels over much of the old line. When I spotted this beautiful building I was astounded that it had survived when so much of this railway has long since vanished.
The station is now a private home, so the last thing I expected was to be invited inside. It happened when I had stopped to take a photo of some of the surrounding countryside. A woman appeared and asked "would you like to see the station? I saw you looking at it. My husband's over there doing the gardening."
She walked me over to the station and told me that their racing pigeons were starting to arrive home from Alnwick. "Took them three hours," she said, "faster than driving."
I was so taken aback that I was being invited to see this wonderful building that I forgot to ask their names! The husband explained that they lived in the stationmaster's house and that he had converted the station building into a garage, workshop and billiards room.
He told me that the billiard room was originally two rooms-one was the private waiting room for the Duke of Gordon. "He got the fireplace." That fireplace is still in use today.
"We had the stationmaster come to visit. He was in his 90s. He was in charge of several stations in the area and they gave him a scooter to travel between them."
There are some great artifacts from the original station like the benches and signage. However, he showed me some old photos that had a footbridge."They took that away and the beautiful signal box."
Another photo, from the Second World War, showed the platform busy with servicemen. There had been a Royal Air Force base here and it explains the name of the adjacent road- 'Beaufighter Road.' "Ideal weather for flying up here", he said, "no fog."
After my look around the station we shook hands. I felt very lucky to have been invited to see this. It is these kind of encounters that make travel special and rewarding.
Spey Bay station is in Moray, around 5 miles from Buckie. The station opened in 1886 and closed in 1968.
Spey Bay station is near to the Spey viaduct, one of the most spectacular bridges in Scotland. You can cross it by bike or foot.