Tag Archives: Travel

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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A Long Weekend in Bristol

We went to Bristol the weekend after my Birthday. We had lots of grand plans but they were all laid to rest by me having a very sore knee and horrendous weather. We were meant to go to parkrun at Ashton Court, do the cliff walks at Cheddar Gorge and visit the gym and spa. We actually did none of that but did visit Weston-Super-Mare, Cheddar and Bristol city centre.

Below are some pictures from our trip.

Weston Super Mare

Weston Super Mare Grand Pier

Weston Super Mare Beach Huts

Weston Super Mare was beautiful but absolutely freezing as there was a really strong wind blowing the whole time. I loved the beach huts, they’re such pretty colours. The ones at the beach near me are bottle green! I’d much rather they looked like this.

Cheddar

Cheddar

Whisky

Cheddar Gorge Cheese

My purchases from Cheddar! Whisky and Cheese! In case you’re wondering the Tomatin Whisky was my favourite and the Cave Matured Cheese was my favourite.

The Hotel

Double Tree

Guinea Fowl

We stayed at Cadbury House Hotel and Spa in Congresbury. We bought our stay on points which meant 3 nights in a suite cost us £17! The hotel was beautiful and our room was lovely. We had no complaints. The bathroom was in the room though not separate! We didn’t mind but I wonder if others would. They also had Guinea Fowl at the hotel who were very noisy during the day! Thankfully as soon as dusk came they left.

In and Around Bristol

Costa Coffee

We had breakfast in Costa Coffee one morning and I tried their Coconut Vanilla Latte. It was absolutely beautiful!

Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge is a big tourist must see. It’s a shame the weather was horrendous as I’d have been tempted to get out and take pictures but the views weren’t great as a result of the heavy rain.

Bowler Hats

These bowler hat lightshades were in the bathrooms of one of the shopping centres we went to. I thought they were pretty quirky so snapped a picture.

I really enjoyed Bristol and the surrounding area. It’s definitely somewhere I’d like to revisit in better weather and without a sore knee!

 

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September Roundup

September seems to have been and gone in a flash and as a result I don’t feel like I’ve done much but never the less. Here is my September roundup!

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Firstly in September I won a competition! I’ve never won anything before in my life so I was pretty amazed when I won this gorgeous palette on a giveaway over at Sophie’s Blog

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One evening after work we decided to go to JoJo Gelato in Fareham. I had this scrummy Nutella and Cookie supreme crepe. It was so good, especially after a hard day at work.

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We also visited the Waitrose Farm Shop. Here is the post about our visit.

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In Lee-on-the-Solent there was a super low tide on 18th September. I’m still discovering new things about living by the sea and this was one of them. The photo doesn’t do it justice but the sea really was a lot further out than usual.

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At the end of September we went to Wales for 4 nights. I’ve never visited Wales before so it was nice to explore somewhere new. There’s a more detailed post to follow.

In September I did 8 blog posts which I think might be a record for me! If you missed any, they’re linked below:

Smart ForFour

August Roundup

Learning to drive with AA Driving School

I Am Team GB

The Waitrose Farm – Leckford Estate

Fantastic Mr Fox

Disney X Cath Kidston – Winnie The Pooh

Gelish by Nail Harmony Review

Now we’re in to October which is my favourite time of year!

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Florida Travel Guide – Off the beaten track

Florida Travel Guide

Florida, the Sunshine State, we’ve all heard of it and the attractions it has to offer. Disney, Universal etc. We all know them but below are some of the places that aren’t always talked about, places where you’re less likely to find tourists and more likely to find locals. As with my Scottish Travel Guide where possible I have include the Wiki sites of the places mentioned and all the links open in a new tab/window.

dixie

Titusville – Titusville is a small Florida town that is a gateway to some amazing places. However don’t just drive through it. If you’re a fan of seafood then you have to visit Dixie Crossroads where they do amazing Rock Shrimp and one of the nicest Key Lime Pies I’ve found. Be sure to check out the water they have around the restaurant where you’ll see Turtles and Fish as well as their Shrimp statues (above) that are fun to take a selfie or two with!

 

canaveral

Canaveral Seashore – The Playalinda Beach (Spanish for beautiful beach)  is only $5 a day to park up and really enjoy the Florida weather and is close to Titusville. When we went the sea was as warm as bath water! As you can see from the picture (above) it wasn’t as full as Brighton Beach on a Summers Day that’s for sure!

 

merritisland

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge & Blackpoint Wildlife Drive – Again close to Titusville and well worth spending some time at, especially if you enjoy wildlife. You’re bound to spot Alligators, Turtles, Bald Eagles, Osprey, Water Fowl and Herons all in their natural habitat.

haulovercanal

Old Haulover Canal – Come straight out of the Wildlife Drive and head to the Old Haulover Canal to view Manatees swimming right up to the shore so long as it’s the warmer weather months you are pretty much guaranteed to see them. Above are three we spotted one time we went.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park – If you go to Florida at a time when Manatees aren’t at the Old Haulover Canal then why not pay a visit to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park? It has manatees there the whole year round. There are also other animals there such as Eagles, Alligators and Lu the Hippo who we found to be a bit of a show off!

That’s all for my Florida travel guide. I hope you’ve found it useful if you plan on visiting Florida or if you just wanted to read about Florida and some of the places it has to offer. Now why not look at my Scotland Travel Guide?

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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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