23. Scotland – up in the north

Aviemore, Scotland, 13.10.2016.

After a long car drive on Monday, I arrived in Aberdeen in the evening to pick up Glenn and then drive together to our host Andrew in Aviemore. Now it is already Thursday evening and we have had 3 wonderful days. Let me review them for you.

On Tuesday, Glenn and I decided to do some extensive hiking on a mountain ridge next to Loch Morlich, a lake not far away from Aviemore. In the first place, we wanted to climb Ben Macdui, the highest mountain (1309m) in the Cairngorm National Park and the second highest mountain in Great Britain. Unfortunately, the weather conditions were unfavorable and the clouds were very low on that day and on the days afterwards. Although it would not have been overly dangerous to climb the mountain, we decided against it since we wanted to see the nature around us. We figured that would be difficult while walking in clouds. So walking on the mountain ridge next to Loch Morlich was clearly the better decision as we were rewarded with amazing views and a good portion of “up and down” hiking when climbing several peaks and decending again.

View on Loch Morlich from the way up to the mountains.
View from the first mountain. Aviemore is behind the hill on the left.
Way up to the next mountain for Glenn and me. Steep “road”…
Wonderful An Lochan Uaine on the way back to Loch Morlich.

After the great hike on Tuesday, we decided to see some of Scotland’s castles on Wednesday. What we did not think about was that there could be a season to see castles. And for most of the castles, this season only goes until September 30 each year. But finally, we found a castle that was still open to visit: Braemar Castle. A beautiful place with an interesting history and many different things to see inside. Interestingly, there were still people living at the castle 10 years ago and they left most of the furniture and interior inside when they left the place. Seeing the rooms almost in their original state was quite a new and interesting experience to us.

Braemar Castle from the outside.
Braemar Castle inside: The tea room.

Today, Glenn and I decided to do some more hiking and to also see some more of the sights near Aviemore. First, we drove to Loch An Eilein and did quite the long hiking tour over there. While doing that, we found fields of blueberries plants that still had sweet sweet berries on them. Possibly the last berries of this year as temperatures will continue dropping towards zero degrees in the next days. Again, the walk was very scenic and we had to stop quite often to capture the beautiful landscape with our cameras.

Last Blueberries of the season at Loch An Eilein.
Mountains and Clouds mirrored in the water.
Colorful Landscape with Sun and Shades at Loch An Eilein.

After we had a very relaxing lunch at the side of the lake, we decided to leave this truly beautiful place and see some more of the nearby sights. So we drove to the sculpture trail near Feshiebridge to see all of the wooden and stone sculptures shown there. They were sculpted really artfully and it must have been a lot of work to do them as most of them were also really big. After having walked the trail, we continued to the nearby river and again discovered a really scenic piece of nature. But see for yourself below.

First sculpture on the Sculpture trail.
Rapids on the river next to the Sculpture trail.

The last real stop for the day brought us to the Ruthven barracks, situated close to the village of Kingussie. We were lucky to see these ruins while the sun was still shining and it was a beautiful sight to see the contrast between the sun on the barracks and the dark rain clouds at the sky. Unfortunately, no camera can really catch 100% of that beauty.

Ruthven Barracks near Kingussie.

These barracks were built in the 18th century to prevent further turmoil in Scotland after the 1715 Jacobite uprising. And although these barracks are ruins today, visitors can still get a good idea of their function and the life of the soldiers in there. Plus, the view from the barrack’s hill is really nice.

After visiting the barracks we drove back to Aviemore and got a nice Highlander buffet at the Cairngorm Hotel. A lot of different and scottish meals were offered and we enjoyed trying all the different things such as roasted black pudding, Haggis, Skirlie, Neeps and Venison goulash. However, I must admit that I did not try the Haggis as I have bad experiences eating organs in the past.

Now what is the plan for the next days? Tomorrow, we will drive to Inverness and see the city and its sights. Then, on Saturday, I will try to run a Half Marathon up in Achiltibuie. I already contacted the organizer via E-Mail but he would not answer. So we will just drive there and see if I can get a last chance entry. If not, that will not be the end of the world as we can always put on our boots and go hiking in the Assynth which looks like a very scenic and beautiful region. So we will be alright however things turn out…

As this blog was originally about me and Canada, the next blog entry will be about that topic again and I will not continue to blog about my holidays in Scotland in greatest detail. I will mainly write about the two following issues:

  1. What do I think about people telling me that they are jealous of me going to Canada soon?
  2. What job perspectives and plans do I have for the future?

As usual, I will give a music advice at the end of the blog entry. Today’s advice is a tribute to Glenn, who is currently travelling with me and who is undoubtedly the “Big Boss”.

Kollegah – Big Boss

 If you like German Rap, look out for Kollegah’s new album, “Imperator”, which will come out sometime in December.


Author: Ralf

Passionate Canada -Visitor and -Lover. Ex- Army Officer and Retail Manager. Long distance runner, climber, hiker, fan of all kinds of games and animal friend. Loves music but has a weird taste: British Metal, German Gangsta-Rap, some Dance-pieces (mostly 90s), non- lyric beats and most Rock/Punk- music.

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