Scotland – Cairngorms National Park II
Upon our walk around Loch an Eilein lake, we return to have quick lunch in Aviemore village. Then we set out back to snow covered Scotish nature. This time we walk through a 5 kilometer trail in Ellan Wood, close to Carrbridge village which itself is situated about 20 minutes of car ride from Aviemore.
We reach the car park by Ellan Wood by following Station Road street, Carrbridge. The trail begins by the information panel in the car park. We follow the yellow trail leading to pine forest. By turning right on the first crossroad we go straight on to another crossroad. Soon we reach the fenced Landmark Forest Adventure Park. It is a family amusment park with different attractions such as labyrinth, rollercoaster, climbing wall, shooting range etc. The compound is open also in winter. However, only some attractions are accessible. For instance, you may visit the butterfly house. To our surprise, we don't meet anyone there. So, we go inside the butterfly house for free and then we go up the Fire Tower. This observation tower has 105 steps. On the very top there is a 360° vista over the entire Cairngorms National Park. The weather is great on this day. So be sure to really visit this observation tower. Those lukier of you may see even the second highest mountain in Scotland – Ben Macdui (1 309 m) or maybe even Cairngorm Mountain Railway.
Upon enjoying the vista we move on through forest. For a while, we follow a railroad track till teh trail gets us back to Carrbridge village. Then we walked through a homestead with horses running freely within a boarded fence. Horses are friendly and let you stroke them. Another boarded fence was a home to the bull itself. Here we can finally see it from up close and stroke furry cows (highland cattle).
Then we finally reach the center of Carrbridge. The village is, like Aviemore, a ski and tourist resort. There is one more thing why it lures in visitors for there is one of the oldest stone bridges in Highlands. It was built to link the riverbanks of the Dulnain River in the year 1717. During the great flood of 1829 it was damaged and has remained so. It is not open to the public yet tourists may see it from special observation spot where you may take a nice picture of it. The bridge is trully beautiful. Pitty that it is situated right next to the main road. In addition to that, there is a souvenir store and a small post office both right opposite to the bridge. Then we turn to a street which would guide us to the car park.
It is getting darker so we set out back to our guest house. However, we make one more stop at local train station as there regularly rides through a steam engine. The train station is beautiful but we don't see the steam engine. We pass by several possibilities to try out clay pigeon shooting, a certainly popular activity around these parts.
We stop for dinner at Happy Haggis bistro situated not far from our hotel. The bistro's ame goes by the traditional Scotish meal of haggis the main igrendience of which are minced sheep viscera with addition of spices, oats or semolina. All together the ingrediends are boiled in sheep stomach. Haggis' final shape is of an ugly, greyish ball. And how it looks is how it tastes. Fortunately, we already did our tasting of it and order fish&chips instead. Have local beer for drink. It is bottled yet very stylish. One sort goes by the name of Nessie (as of the famous Loch Ness monster) with the depiction of the creature on the beer label. Finally, we say our farewells to the beautiful Cairnogrms national park.
GPS: 57°16'43.2"N 3°48'45.7"W
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
Edinburgh is a Scottish city with a radiant atmosphere from Harry Potter movies. Scotch whiskey and history must not be missed here. If you are already in Edinburgh, be sure not to miss a visit to the famous Royal Yacht Britannia. It is interesting to see how not only the royal family lived on the ship. Admission £ 17 per person is worth every penny, plus the audio guide's interpretation is in Czech.
In connection with Scotland, everyone will surely recall the fierce people fighting for independence throughout the history of this wild country, be it the Norman and Viking raiders, or the English and Irish usurpers. For the first time, however, the Romans attempted to penetrate the area at that time inhabited by the wild tribes of the Picts and the quieter Britons under the command of Agricola. However, they soon found that the land was not profitable enough for the long-term stay of the soldiers, so they decided to leave the north of Great Britain again and leave the newly built roads, fortresses and ramparts lying fallow.
The Hogwarts School of Magic is located somewhere in the Highlands, so it's no wonder the landscape is literally interwoven with references to Harry Potter books. J. K. Rowling, who wrote the books, was inspired mainly in the streets of Edinburgh, where she lived at that time. On every corner you can find some unobtrusive reminder from the books, be it street names that look strangely reminiscent of the names of the key characters, or the places where the books themselves were written.
My visit to Scotland was coming to an end, but I still had about 2,000 kilometers to go home. But Scotland is beautiful, so why hurry? So I stopped at several places on the Isle of Skye and gradually reached the highest mountain of Ben Nevis.
If I could only return to Scotland in one place, it would be either a remote and deserted mountainous island of Harriss, or justified by Skye. And the more I think about it, the more Skye wins.
The mountains in the north-west of Scotland rarely exceed 800 meters and roads usually run along rivers or coasts. Therefore, I would not expect here to be as beautiful and high as Applecross pass. Let's go to there!
It is time to leave the landscape of lakes, mountains, and long valleys in the center of Scotland and head through the inhospitable wasteland to the north to Thurso in sight of the Orkney islands. Instead of the highway A9, leading along the coast, I also chose deserted roads through endless moors and wetlands.
Our Slovenian adventure full of knowledge continues. After visiting the Kranjska Gora, which is surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, we move on to another natural gem - the Vintgar Gorge (Blejski Vintgar, Vintgar Sotesque).
In the long valley between Fort William and Pitlochry in the middle of Scotland lies a large heath and in the middle of it one of the most deserted train stations. Surrounded only by lakes and heathland, you can still have tea inside it.
Near the famous Lake Ness, there lies at the mouth of the river of the same name into the sea and the ancient city of Inverness. Today it serves as a natural center for the entire Highlands of Scotland. But the city itself is worth a stop and a little exploration.
When I first went out into the world at 18, it was Scotland. I still remember the moon in it, when I almost traced it all to this day. For 7 years I wanted to go back and finally it was time. I got on a motorbike in Prague and set off for about 2000 kilometers long way to the northwest.
We leave the Aviemore summer resort and travel down to the south to Perth. There we intend to spend our last night in Scotland. We are about to travel for hour two hours by car.
On this day we set off to central Scotland, to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Loch Lomond is the largest Scotish lake with the area of 71 square kilometers, the maximal depth of the lake is192 meters. There are over 30 small islands and we strive for visiting one of them.
Autumn is an unusual time of the year to travel. For a long time, we were thinking if to even set out despite less dayilight time, winter, often rains yet Scotland captured us with its beauty and we would eventually buy our flight tickets. There is a regular connection between Prague and Edinburgh. Glasgow is about an hour of car ride from Edinburgh. Yet first we would travel bit further to the west and make a trek in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.
After we leaved the beautiful island of Skye we go back onto the land. We travel over 100 miles to the east to Aviemore summer resort where we would spend two nights.
Early in the morning we set out to explore the beautiful Scotish island of Skye. Today, we are about to expect the rain whole day. We are disappointed by that because the place is beautiful. However, as rains are quite common around here it is nothing easy to plan your trip accordingly.
In the morning, we set out to beautiful Highlands situated in the northwest. On our way, we pass snow-caped mountains veiled in morning mist. This tempts us to stop and take a beautiful picture. This time we are heading to a place to what we are looking forward the most to – Skye island. A road bloc complicates our travels. It absolutely confuses our GPS which frighten us a bit. We are running of fuel while gaining kilometers and there are not many gas stations around. Eventually, everything works out well and we continue in our journey.
Already in the summer of 2011, I was in Scotland for a few days visit. But this time it was different. And maybe even a little crazy. At this time I was a fresh adult student, only with a flight ticket to home, about three hundred pounds in his pocket and an overnight stay for the first night.
After a half-an-hour ride I get off in Aberdour, a fishermen town in the Forth Bay. I have no idea where to go so I just follow arrows of the Fife Coastal Path. The reason is perhaps that it goes along the railway (and thus along the coastline as well).
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