Scotland Day 7 & 8

Day 7           Inverness to Grantown-on-Spey   Sunny, a few showers, sunny

 

After a leisurely breakfast we headed off from Inverness to Loch Ness.  When we arrived, the sun was shining and the lake was like a mirror – absolutely stunning!  A few facts for you: Loch Ness is 39 kilometres long with an average depth of 132 metres, with its deepest point being 230 metres and contains more fresh water than all England’s and Wales’ lakes combined and, of course, is the home of the Loch Ness Monster, fondly known as Nessie.

We stopped at Drumnadochit, beside the Loch, to take photos and buy some souvenirs and we also stopped at the visitors centre near the ruins of Urquhart Castle, which is on the loch edge.  We kept our eyes peeled for Nessie, but she was being a bit shy, or maybe it was too sunny for her!

We continued on to Fort Augustus, just in time to see 6 boats going through the 7 lock system.  For those who haven’t been lucky enough to see this for themselves, what happens is that the boats go into one lock system, the gate behind them is closed and the gate in front of them is slowly opened allowing the boats to be lifted as the water rises.  The gate in front of them is then opened allowing the boats to be pulled through to the next lock, to have the process repeated.  We were very excited about this because when we were there with Maria & Dennis and Tim in 2005, we didn’t see them in operation.  While this was all going on, there was a piper, playing traditional Scottish music, piping the boats through the locks.  Sandy and Janet saw this as a great photo opportunity!

Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then continued on to Aviemore, which is at the base of the Cairngorm Mountain Ski Resort, and had lunch there.  We then drove up to the Cairngorm Mountain and took a ride on the funicular train, which is the UK’s highest railway, which takes visitors on a spectacular 2km journey from the car park to the Ptarmigan top station, some 1097 metres above sea level and just below the summit of Cairn Gorm.  Views were stunning and the breeze was very brisk to say the least!!!!!

Cairngorm Mountain

Cairngorm Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the usual photos, we headed on to our overnight stay at Ravenscourt House Hotel at Grantown-on-Spey.  After checking in we went for a lovely walk to the Spey River, which was quite pretty and then returned for showers and dinner, then writing up our blogs ready to post when we get internet access.

Today, Adrian and Sandy shared the driving – Sean took us off the main A roads onto some B roads with limited traffic, but splendid views as we were once again back in Scotland’s high country.

 

 

 

 

Day 8                    Grantown-on-Spey to Aberdeen          Sunny

 

After a good night’s sleep in a family room – one room with a double bed and the other with two single beds – Adrian had to duck again to use the bathroom – we headed off on the next part of our adventure.  We went through some beautiful country, headed towards the North Eastern Coast. 

Guided by Sean we found ourselves again on B roads which were part of the Malt Whiskey trail, where we came across a Chivas Regal transport tanker.  Richard and Adrian wondered at the joys of driving or tapping into such a vehicle.

 

Chivas Regal

Chivas Regal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our trip took us through some beautiful little seaside towns with very narrow streets and rows of connected cottages with doorways opening virtually straight onto the narrow roadways – all with absolutely stunning views.

 

It was nice to see that some of the early traditional fishing villages have survived into the 21st century and are still operating as fishing ports.  We passed through some interestingly named places:  Portgorden, Buckie, Portess, Findochty, Portknuckie and Cullen to name just a few.

 

We headed to Fraserburgh (pronounced Fraser-burra) to see the first lighthouse in Scotland and the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses at Kinnaird Head. After touring the exhibition of lenses and various lighthouse equipment, we had lunch at the café, before joining a tour of the actual Castle of Kinnaird Head lighthouse, which was built in the 16th century on top of/in the castle.  The 45 minute tour included a guided tour of the lighthouse, which was decommissioned in 1991 but retains all of the apparatus that was used to operate the light.  The 360 views from the upper platform of the lighthouse were spectacular!!!

Kinnaird Lighthouse

Kinnaird Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then drove through a farming area to Aberdeen.  The excitement for the day, apart from the spectacular views and brilliant company, was when Adrian discovered that our little car was not happy – a warning light had come on telling us that there was a problem.  After booking in to tonight’s accommodation, The Hilton, Adrian did some checking on Google and found that the problem could be an issue with a fuse sensor.  He rang the VW dealer here but they were not able to help us, so we went out to the car and checked it to discover that the break lights were not working – as predicted by Arian’s Google search!  He then rang the RAC, and before too long our Knight in Shining Armour turned up and fixed the problem, which was a switch that had come loose – thank goodness for that as we still have a long way to go to get home to Maidenhead!

We are now sitting in the bar catching up with our blogging and will have dinner soon.


2 Responses to “Scotland Day 7 & 8”

  1. Maria Hughes says:

    Your trip soounds absolutely fantastic – bringing back many happy memories of our times spent there. The scenery is magnificent with a new photo opportunity around every corner. Keep enjoying every moment and give Thelma and Dennis a big hug and kiss from Nan and I and best wishes from Dennis xxx

  2. craig & crew says:

    Hello all. Looks & sounds like you’re really enjoying yourselves over there Alanah said “Nanny might get scared on the bus with those tiny roads but Poppy will cuddle her, hey Daddy.” Take care keep enjoying the trip. Mum, please take RJ, yourself and family to see the Thames Clippers (www.thamesclippers.com). The ‘Meteor’ and ‘Aurora’are the ones I was in charge of. I painted them. I hope you find the time to have a ride! Lots of love Craig & crew xxx.

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