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A Holiday to Scotland

It’s no secret that my heart lies in Scotland. I adore the place. I’m actually convinced that somewhere down the line I must be part Scottish.

Initially we booked this holiday as we were meant to be doing the River Ness 10K but my injury meant I couldn’t run. As I’d now been more and more active we decided to make this an active holiday and make sure we got in some decent long walks.

We stayed in a lodge on the South side of Loch Ness in a small village called Whitebridge. The same site (although a different lodge) from when we stayed in March. You can read all about it here: My Holiday to Scotland

In reality it turned out not being able to run was possibly a good thing. Where we stayed was on the marathon route and the road was closed from 7am meaning we’d have needed to leave before then for a race that didn’t start until 10.45! Not ideal.

The lodge we had this time was smaller than the last but very cosy and still had a log burner and hot tub.

When we stayed last time we discovered a lovely little tea room on our last day so this time we visited it on our first day (and a few times after) We had lunch there before heading out to Farigaig forest for a walk. The walk actually turned out to be more of a hike as we started a steep climb up a rocky path through the forest. We followed a route that was meant to give us magnificent views of an old fort. Despite following the route for an hour we never found it! Annoyingly I tracked this walk on my Apple watch as a hike and it didn’t log a distance or map! I reckon it was probably around 3 miles though. We then returned to the tea room for a hot chocolate and cake!

Hot chocolate and Coffee Cake

The next day we went out and cheered on the marathon runners. Where we were stayed was between miles 2 and 3. I thought the runners would all be through in little over half an hour but we were there almost an hour. I was surprised to see people walking already but I suppose when spectating you don’t know the runners journey or marathon plan. They could have been run/walking. I cheered them all on. We then headed out to Ullapool. It was just over two hours away with a bit of traffic. After our day back as we headed about around 5pm I was surprised to see there were still marathon participants on the course! I spotted the same people who’d been at the very back of the pack walking, they were still walking and between miles 19 and 20 (I think) Walking a marathon must be absolutely gruelling.

Loch Ness Marathon

The masses entering Whitebridge

The next day we went to Aviemore in the Cairngorms. We had breakfast at the café we’d gone to after participating in Aviemore parkrun. We then went to the Glenmore Forest for more walking. We knew we wanted to walk the perimeter of Loch Morlich but also wanted to add in something a tad more strenuous as Loch Morlich is flat. When we picked up a map we saw that part way around the Loch there was another route that would take us on a circular “strenuous” route then drop us back at the Loch to carry on. All together this should have been 5 miles so how we ended up at almost 9 miles I’m really not sure! The route was stunning and worth it to find the hidden An Lochan Uaine (The Green Lochan) which looked like a fairy pool. However it was really difficult. We climbed up for a long time and it was quite steep, however this wasn’t the problem. When it came to going down, the downhill wasn’t as gradual. We had to climb down a really steep rocky path which was difficult to navigate. Some of the steps down were huge and hard for someone of my height! I thoroughly enjoyed it though.

The Green Lochan

After a 9 mile walk the previous day, we decided on a shorter walk the next day. In the lodge was a walk to Foyers that was 3 miles. On route we’d stop off at the tea room too. We walked to Foyers and decided to go down and see the Falls of Foyers before going back to the tea room and then heading back. Again some how a 6 mile round trip turned in to another almost 9 mile walk! This wasn’t too bad in terms of hills but we did have to pass over a river using stepping stones! I was so nervous crossing. I don’t trust my balance at all and every time I went to step there was a big gust of wind. I was convinced I was going to get blown off. Luckily I didn’t!

The last two days of our holiday were forecast to be rainy. It turned out the rain wasn’t as bad as they said but we didn’t want to head out on a walk and for it to turn heavy so we spent time relaxing in the lodge, going in the hot tub and visiting a couple of shopping places.

When it came to heading home the journey was an utter nightmare. The motorway was closed due to a lorry fire on one side and a large car crash on the other side, probably from people looking at the lorry! We had to take a detour along with lots of other people that added 2 hours on to a 10 hour car journey! It was exhausting!

 

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Scotland Travel Guide – Off the beaten track

Scotland Travel Guide

Scotland has so much to offer. There are beautiful landscapes a plenty, great places to shop and plenty of opportunities for adventure. I’ve holidayed in Scotland many times now and I’ve done the common tourist sites and have started looking for more. Where are the places that aren’t always talked about? The following places were all accessed from Inverness where we stayed in a beautiful lodge situated just outside the capital of the Highlands. Where possible I’ve linked each place to it’s Wiki article for you to find out more. All of the links open in a new tab/window.

Smoo Cave

Smoo Cave – Is located in the village of Durness on the A838 road. Smoo Cave is a large sea and fresh water cave made of multiple chambers. Within is a beautiful water fall that drops in to the cave through a sink hole. There are steps leading you down to the cave so some physical fitness is needed. There are also toilets, something handy to know when exploring the Highlands!

 

lochness

The other side of Loch Ness – Everyone has heard of Loch Ness and the famous Loch Ness Monster but most people explore the West side of the Loch where the gift shops and tourist attractions are located, but seldom travel the East side of the Loch. Driving around the East side of the Loch is beautiful. There are some wonderful views and perfect Kodak moments that seem to change with the seasons. The above picture was taken in September but visit in Spring and its much greener rather than the autumnal orange and browns seen here. As you visit the other side of Loch Ness you’ll pass through a couple of small villages such as Dores and Foyers. When passing through Foyers be sure to stop off at…

 

foyers

The Falls of Foyers – The Falls of Foyers has two waterfalls located just off the B852. It’s a short descend down from the road through a lovely woodland walk. The Falls of Foyers are from the River Foyers which feeds in to Loch Ness.

 

jacobite

Mallaig – Mallaig is a port town on the West Coast of the Highlands. There are two options to get there, drive or go on the train. You can catch the regular train but for a treat why not pay to travel on the The Jacobite steam train aka The Hogwarts Express. This can be caught from Fort William and will take you to Malaig where you’re free to explore for an hour or two and then back again. You travel over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct where Ron and Harry fly the Ford Anglia. Mallaig is home to many beautiful seafood restaurants.

 

glenfinnan

Mallaig – If you prefer to drive to Mallaig be sure to stop off at the Glenfinnan visitors centre situated on the A830 road. If you’re feeling fit there’s a climb from the car park up to a viewing point where there are stunning views of the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Using the viewing point gives you a closer view of going up the Glenfinnan monument. You can also visit Loch Shiel here which is known as Hogwarts Black Lake.

 

dunnethead

Dunnet Head – Most people believe John O’ Groats to be the most Northerly point of Great Britain but actually it’s Dunnet Head! There’s a lighthouse and some old buildings from World War 2 to look at and if you go at the right time of year there are Puffins nesting. For another place to visit try Duncansby Head which is the furthest place by road from Land’s End in Cornwall and is easy to visit after John O’ Groats and Dunnet Head.

 

lochmorlich

Loch Morlich – Loch Morlich is a freshwater loch near Aviemore. It is so pretty and picturesque. In the day it is a hot bed for water sports but go on a late Autumn evening and you’ll get some beautiful pictures of the sun setting and reflecting on the water. Loch Morlich, unusually for a Loch, has an award winning beach!

 

rogiefalls

Rogie Falls – Rogie Falls are a series of water falls near Contin on the A835 road. There’s a car park that allows you to park up and explore these water falls easily. The views are simply stunning.

That’s all for my Scottish travel guide. I hope you’ve found it useful if you plan on visiting Scotland or if you just wanted to read about Scotland and some of the places it has to offer.

 

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