Cairngorms to Fort William – Road trip continues

Cairngorms to Fort William – Road trip continues

When you’re freezing in summer, you know you’re in Scotland. It hasn’t come to my mind to check for heating in hotels as I was booking our rooms. After all, it was supposed to be June. Beginning of a beautiful summer. Or so I thought.

The night was so cold, both of us was shivering. The hot shower did help, but the cold did nothing for our wet clothes. As if someone was making fun of us though, the heating was on in the morning, but the last thing we wanted to do was to sit in the room for longer than needed. We were ready for a new adventure!

A terrible coffee and a yummy scone from across the street was not a bad start of the day. I think I’m addicted to Scottish scones. And shortbread cookies.

I love Scotland not just for its stunning nature, but because understanding the language makes me feel like I’m home. No wonder I become weirdly social when I’m there. First I had a little chat with the lady that opened the little cafe shop more than 30min before the actual opening time. She explained her kindness as the obviously very normal behavior since she was already in the shop. For her, it might have been normal, for me it was an act of kindness that you usually see in small towns or villages.

As  I was waiting for Theary to get her coffee a very nice mature couple approached me for a morning chat. I remember thinking at that point how weirdly social I am. Who knew. A couple of minutes of chatting and off we went towards our adventure.

The drive took us past the little villages and countless sheep to the edge of the most beautiful national park Cairngorms.

Falls of Bruar

The park didn’t disappoint. I knew Theary would love it, but I also knew she hates driving, which meant that I needed to find stops along the way. The first stop was, therefore, a waterfall Bruar.

I had no idea what to expect, but since I saw the Falls of Foyer last year, I knew it will be beautiful no matter. I wasn’t wrong. The Falls of Bruar is actually a series of waterfalls in a circular path from the parking next to the House of Bruar. The whole trail takes about an hour to hour and a half from start to finish. Though the falls are said to be a popular tourist attraction, most of the people stayed at the prestigious shopping mall in the valley. A few tourists that went up could see lush greenery, two bigger falls, natural arch, and a couple of drops.

Unfortunately, my bad knee prevented me from going all the way to the top, but I did see a bit more than the first waterfall. While waiting for Theary to go all the way up and back, I slowly progressed higher up and admired the forest and rhododendrons in their natural environment. Such beauties!

After the walk, we couldn’t resist and we had to stop at the shopping mall. We had groceries from the previous day, but a sandwich without a mayonnaise is obviously not worth a bit, so Theary sacrificed a crazy look and asked a cashier if we could get a spoon or two of Mayonaisse from the salad bar. She gave the boys a good laugh, but in the managed to get us some. Whoop whoop! A visit to the most luxury toilets in the whole of Scotland, and we were off to our next stop.

Glenmore – Cairngorm Reindeer Centre

Coming back last year I wanted more of Scotland and became a member of a Facebook group: Scottland from a roadside. That was when I fell in love with raindeers. Back home and here in Germany we only have the “normal” deer (Bambi-like deer). So naturally, I wanted to see the reindeer – the ones that help Santa distribute all the gifts!

We came to Glenmore after 1 pm and didn’t really have any expectations. The nice lady at the Reindeer center explained that there are two options: Paddock visit or Hill trip.

Paddock visit is the shorter and cheaper of the two. You can see a few reindeer in the enclosure from Easter to New Year. The visit is short but will give you a lot of information about the reindeer and if lucky you’ll be able to pet one. The fun part of this one is that you get to see the Santa’s Bothy and the Elves’ House. This part is also accessible for wheelchairs so pretty much anyone can visit.

Hill trip is inaccessible for wheelchairs or any other impairments that would prevent one from hiking. However, it is the more interesting one of the two. You get to pet and feed the animals in their natural environment. The trip takes about 40 min. They will offer you plastic boots. Take them! It is well worth the few pounds that they cost. Up on the hill you walk in their turf and that also means walking in mood and some poop.

At that point, my knee was hurting pretty bad and Theary wasn’t really all that excited about walking among the reindeer, but I needed to see them. I asked her if she’d mind waiting and secretly hoped she’d join. In the end, she decided to go.

That was some experience!

Our guide took us uphill and explained a bit about the reindeer, their life, and the center’s involvement in their life. She then took us in the enclosure. We got to see the reindeer, pet them, and also feed them. I think this is one of those experiences that neither one of us will forget for many years to come.

We said goodbye to the reindeer and returned back to the valley.

Inverness

The plan was to go back down to the Fort William, but as it was only 3 pm at that time, we thought that it would be a shame coming to our next home so early. The days were long and we wanted to see as much as possible. A quick decision and we were on our way to Inverness.

I’ve been to Inverness last year, but Alina and I didn’t really have to explore it, so being less than an hour away, I think I’d be annoyed by myself if I didn’t push through the knee problem and went to see the city. Also, going to Inverness offered a possibility for Theary to see Loch Ness. Really, how can you go to Scotland and not visit Loch Ness?!

As soon as we arrived I was mad at myself for making that decision. My knee was hurting bad and the rain turned to drizzle. We were hungry and cranky. Finally, we found a place to eat, only to be quite disappointed by the food and the waiter.

We did a short walk around Inverness and were on the road again. I believe that after all the excitement of the day, Inverness was more of a disappointment.

But the Loch Ness drive was lovely and totally worth the trip. The weather was pretty terrible, but that didn’t stop us from stopping and searching for the water monster. Unfortunately, we were unlucky. No monster for us.

We passed Fort Augustus but didn’t stop as I was already in the beyond and only dreamed of a good night sleep. 30 min more drive and we arrived at our last stop for the night – Sprinburn B&B.  I’ll share more about it next time, but to say that we were happy with our accommodation would be an understatement.

My knee gave up completely. It was swollen and was craving sleep, but the day was so amazing. I knew that the memory of the pain will fade, but the memories that we made along the way will stay for many many years.

Until next time, make memories! Be brave. Be adventurous.

Pia

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