Tag Archives: scotland

My Holiday to Scotland

Last week I spent the week in Scotland. We stayed on the South side of Loch Ness, or the quiet side as some people call it.

We stayed in a lodge/log cabin in a tiny village called Whitebridge. The lodge was spacious and decorated beautifully. We had a log burner and hot tub. The location was really remote and there was no mobile signal!

living room bedroom

Our lodge had a view of a mountain called Bienn Sgurrach. When we arrived at the lodge the staff provided us with walks around the area and a route for hiking up Bienn Sgurrach.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon and went for tea at The Whitebridge Hotel which was a 5 minute walk from the lodge. The food there was delicious and just what we needed after a long car journey. I had the special of Chicken Curry and Rice whilst my Husband ordered Chilli Con Carne from the menu.

On the Saturday morning we went to Aviemore parkrun which I blogged about HERE.

On the Sunday we went for a drive over to Ballater which is a small village in Royal Deeside. We’ve visited Ballater many times before but wanted to see how the village is doing after struggles with severe flooding and fires. I took this photo of a snowy banked River Dee.

River Dee at Ballater

Not far from where we were staying was Loch Tarff and on the bank of  Loch Tarff was a fallen tree. It had pulled some of the land up with it and revealed it’d roots hidden underneath. I was just amazed by this. Sometimes nature shows itself in strange ways. The roots underneath reminded me of a spiders web

Fallen Tree at Loch Tarff

The following day we returned to Aviemore with the sole purpose of visiting Roo’s Leap restaurant. The restaurant has a somewhat Australian theme and the food is always scrummy. It’s in Aviemore train station so if you choose correctly, you can have a table overlooking the platform there and if you’re lucky, the steam train will pass through.

To start, we shared the Awesome Onion Blossom which is very similiar to Outback’s Bloomin’ Onion (If you know, you know). This was followed by the Monster Bob Burger. The description of this burger is:

“Specifically designed to satisfy the needs of a very, very, very hungry person. This is our double meat, double cheddar topped with mushrooms, onions, bacon and chilli”

It was incredible.

Onion Blossom

Monster Bob Burger

From there we went to Loch Morlich which is just outside Aviemore. It is so pretty there. I’ve been at various times of the year and it never fails to amaze me.

Loch Morlich

I’ve track of what days we did what now so I’ll just tell you where else we went. We visited Inverness centre. I have to say I’m a sucker for a gift shop and I think we went in every single gift shop in Inverness and along the side of Loch Ness! Whilst in Inverness we went for a walk alongside the River Ness near Bught Park.

We also hiked up Bienn Sgurrach. We followed the map the lodge owners had given us.

Bienn Sgurrach Mountain

We climbed up a steep path, in to a field and continued upwards. It was very muddy in places and also waterlogged in places too. We had to go through a field of sheep who didn’t seem too impressed with us! We’d read the views from the top were magnificent but to be honest there wasn’t much to see! So we had a drink and came back down a bit disappointed.

We also walked to Fort Augustus, which is a small village at the end of Loch Ness. As we were quite high we got some good views over Loch Ness.

Loch Ness

On our last day we discovered a great little tea rooms close to the lodge. So annoyed we discovered it on the last day as I’d have loved to have gone back to try some other offerings from their menu. All the food was home made and absolutely delicious. The staff were also really friendly and were keen to hear about where we’d been so far and where we planned on going next time we stop in September. After leaving we saw a deer sat down. I wanted to snap a picture but thought I’d spook it as I got closer. Turns out it wasn’t spooked at all and just sat chilling out, until she walked right by us I hardly dared breathe!

Deer

Deer Close Up

I absolutely loved Scotland. It really does hold a special place in my heart. I’m really looking forward to going back in September and having another crack of the whip at the River Ness 10K. If you want to read about my disastrous trip there last time, then be sure to read this blog post.

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Autumn in Scotland

I’ve posted about Scotland before on my blog here: Scotland Travel Guide – Off The Beaten Track but I wanted to let you all know how glorious Scotland is in Autumn. It’s perfect, if like me, you fancy yourself as a bit of an amateur photographer!

Autumn in Scotland

The colours of the landscape change from lush green to burnt oranges and reds. There are plenty of places in Scotland to visit where you can stand and have an amazing vista stretch out in front of, usually framed by rugged mountains and hills.

Autumn in Scotland

Even though Scotland is renowned for being colder than a cold thing I’ve found in Autumn it’s still quite pleasant. It’s just the right weather to explore in a hoodie or light jacket and jeans. We had days of lovely sunshine and even got sunburnt a couple of times. Of course we experienced rain too but hey, this is the UK.

Ducks at Loch Morlich

As the sun starts to set in Autumn it creates an amazing “golden hour” where the lighting for photographs is just insane. It gives everything a warm even glow. The picture above was taken around 6pm at Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms.

sunset in scotland

Then finally there’s the sun sets! When the sky looks this good naturally, it eradicates the need for filters on Instagram! This was taken early October at 7.20pm. It’s perfect to watch with a mug of hot chocolate whilst sitting under a blanket outside. This photo is taken from a lodge we rented looking out over the Beauly Firth in Inverness.

Scotland is beautiful any time of year but it really is special in Autumn.

Have you ever visited Scotland in Autumn?

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parkrun tourism bucket list

I had to semi miss parkrun this work due to a work commitment. I went to volunteer again as volunteer coordinator but then had to leave at 9.3o to get to work. In a way it was probably a blessing in disguise. I fell at work on Monday (over a door frame of all things) and probably would have been tempted to give it a go had I not have had a work commitment. It is still a bit sore so it was for the best really. So instead of a parkrun update I thought I’d post about where I’d like to visit. I know, I can barely walk them at the minute but once I’m able to run them I’d like to do a little bit of tourism and check out some local and some not so local parkruns.

Close to home

Some of these are going to be easy to achieve. They aren’t that far away and I’d be able to drive there on a Saturday morning.

Southsea – I’ve heard Southsea is very similar to my home parkrun Lee-on-the-Solent, but with less marshals. It’s flat, it’s by the sea and has a great café. It’s also where some of my parkrun friends started their parkrun adventures before Lee became their home parkrun.

Netley Abbey – I encourage people to come and visit me at parkrun this used to be because I couldn’t drive and because I couldn’t bear to give up my volunteering. However I can drive now and I’m nearly at the magic 100 times I strived to volunteer. Anna has visited me a couple of times at Lee so maybe one day I’ll be able to let her show me her home parkrun?

Southampton – Southampton is one of the biggest parkruns in the UK so I’d like to see what such a big parkrun is like, although Lee is huge it’s actually half the size of Southampton.

A little further afield

Medina IOW – I’ve never been to the Isle of Wight but I’ve known there was a parkrun there for a while. I recently saw pictures of this parkrun on Instagram and it looks lovely as it runs alongside the River Medina.

Poole – This is another huge parkrun and I’ve heard good things about it from some of my parkrun friends. Apparently they go the extra mile for runners by providing water and laminating services for your barcode.

Weymouth – I adore Weymouth from my first holiday there in 1997 I have pretty much been back every year since even when it meant travelling by train to get there from Sheffield. I’d love to run a parkrun here but have to admit, I’m disappointed it’s not on the beach front.

A lot further afield

Bushy – The home of parkrun, surely everyone has to run this once in a lifetime? Also they have deer! Not many parkruns can boast that!

Sheffield Hallam – I first heard of parkrun when I lived back home in Sheffield. Sheffield Hallam was my local parkrun but I never made it to one, even when I could run. I guess a mixture of nerves and the unknown? Without knowing about parkrun I’d have never volunteered when Lee-on-the-Solent started up. This is such a familiar course, I have walked it a thousand times but it’d be great to do it officially.

Scotland

So most people know I love Scotland. If we hadn’t of moved to the South Coast I’d have looked at moving to Scotland.

Ganavan Sands (near Oban) – After completing this parkrun I’d go for locally caught seafood in Oban. Can’t think of a better day to be honest.

Inverness – I simply love the Highlands, the scenery there is just something else so why not parkrun in Inverness where I’ve spent so much time. I’d stay in the log cabin we’ve stayed in before at North Kessock.

Aviemore – Aviemore is such a beautiful place. It has Loch Morlich which is probably the prettiest Loch I’ve ever seen. It also has reindeers!! When I’d finished this parkrun I’d refuel at Roo’s Leap.

I think that’s a big enough list for now. I’m pretty sure over time there will be others I add.

 

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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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