As I mentioned recently, the good lady fiancée and I recently had a lovely hollibobs up in the highlands of Scotland.
I’ve been itching to get back up there for years. I’d only been once previously with my Dad, and for just over 24 hours, but it left a big impression on me.
With views like that how could I not?
Anyway here’s a few of our piccies, there are some stunning ones taken by Claire, and if anyone is sad enough you can see a few more on Flickr.
Aviemore and Cairngorm
The home for our holiday was the skiing town of Aviemore. Obviously at this time of year it is more of a Mountain Biking/Climbing/Walking Town, but you know what I mean. It’s a good place to base yourself in the Highlands, it’s central to a lot of the attractions, it has a nice relaxed vibe… and it has a Tesco.
If there is a better view from a Tesco car park, I would like to see it.
Anyway, that big hill is Cairngorm – the sixth highest mountain in Scotland at 4082ft/1244m. The part I have highlighted is the Cairngorm Mountain Railway – a funicular that goes up quite a lot of it. You can just make out the start of a tunnel near the top. This leads to the highest underground railway station in the world…
Alas, we didn’t actually hit light speed.
There’s a nice restaurant and museumy thing at the top, but you’re not allowed out. This is to stop people wandering all over the Cairngorms in flip-flops and killing themselves… while eroding the paths at the same time. You can still hike up all of it though, and I think one day we will do that.
Walking the Valley
We didn’t get the train all the way though. We did a cracking 2.5 mile walk up to the base station first.
This allowed me to indulge in one of my favourite activities – taking endless photos of moving water. There were lots of these. I can’t help it.
We also took a trip to Super Mario World along the way… licking of toadstools may, or may not, have been involved in this.
OK, Hamish here isn’t exactly cute… but he has a got cracking hair style and a sharp sense of fashion.
Now this little fella is cute. This was taken at the Landmark Visitors Centre in Carrbridge, which is a adventure park cum nature reserve. I won’t embarrass Claire by recounting her living nightmare on the Rope Walk…
I mean look at this face…
I won’t tell you what she was actually saying to me, it would spoil the illusion… ;o)
The area around the River Spey is the Whisky capital of the world. There are something like 80 of them, a lot of which offer FREE tours, with FREE tastings…
That’s me enjoying one of the three tours we did. That was at Glen Grant in Rothes (Rothes is also home to The Nicest Chip Shop Ever). Glen Grant is a very light malt, and is an easy drinker. It’s clean tastes have meant it becoming the number one whisky in Italy, and the firm have recently been bought by Campari!
The best tour by far was Glenfiddich. It was, quite frankly, awesome.
I think the best way to give you an example of the quality is this picture:
This isn’t the lobby, it’s not a set piece reconstruction of the family home… this is the women’s toilets.
I kid you not.
And when I say it’s the women’s toilets I don’t mean they have to squat down in the fireplace… I mean this is one quarter of the room.
The men had a nothing nearly so lavish, but then I don’t think encouraging us men to hang around in loos is the probably the best idea anyway.
On our way up to Aviemore we stopped over for a night near Perth. When we mentioned where we headed, a nice lady suggested visting this Magical Secret Place she had discovered. She showed us on the map, and we thought we would check it out…
It’s called Ardcalch Bell Tower, that in itself makes it sound much grander than it is – it’s nothing more than a chimney pot with a tiny bell in it.
It made a nice picture, but after the massive billing it was given we were left a little under whelmed… we just expected more than a tiny one roomed house with a chimney pot bell…
Maybe we missed something.
On our last day there was some miserable weather. We had been debating whether to go for the Sunset Dining at the restaurant on the top of Cairn Gorm, but eventually decided the weather would be too crap.
Obviously come 7 O’clock it became one of the most glorious evenings of the week.
So we hopped in the car, and belted up the side of the mountain at 60mph (you have to love Scottish roads) to chase the sunset up Cairngorm.
OK we didn’t get to eat up there… but WOW was it worth it (and more fun too)!
A cracking way to finish a cracking holiday.
We’ll Be Back
Oh yes, we will be back.
No doubt about it.
We had a brilliant week, we covered over 1400 miles and even on top of all that stuff I haven’t even mentioned about the steam train ride, the Loch Ness monster, the dolphins, the eagles, the beach huts, and of course – The Strong Current:
Thank you for reading my self indulgent holiday post, I hope it didn’t bore you too much.
Claire did most of the photos, she is getting very good at it. (I particularly suggest using the second ‘Sunset Dash’ photo as a wallpaper – it’s very effective and much better than that new Vista one.)
We’ll be needing a new camera soon though, our 3.2MP DiMage just doesn’t cut it any more…