Scottish Coastal trip + Orkney Island - Part 3

Highlander outfit at Atholl museum
Last week in - Part 2 - of this three part series on Scotland - I talked about the road trip up from Aberdeen to Scrabster, the ferry trip and what we did on the Orkney Islands.
I bailed early to read again but the girls went up to - Stromness Hotel - for drinks and a meal. The next morning we got up 04.15 to make sure we were ready to catch the 06.30 ferry back to Scotland. This time the swell was much higher and we had to hold on to walk up and down. We had a disappointing breakfast.

Back at Scrabster the weather was appalling and we drove through - Wester Ross area - in a blizzard. It's such a beautiful part of the world and it would have great to spend more time there - and have better weather. The hikers we met at the last hostel said they had seen a caravan blow over, that sleet had been falling, and some of them abandoned their walking due to the rubbish weather. The drive was scary as the car was being blown about. It was also a long, long drive and when we arrived at - Achintee Farm - at the foot of Ben Nevis we were glad the day was done. But I did manage a glass of wine at - Ben Nevis Inn.

Eilean Donan Castle
The next morning we hoped to take the cable car up Ben Nevis but the weather was still tricky and we were told that the chairlift would probably not be operating.

We were also told that the cable car was not actually on Ben Nevis but another mountain in the Nevis range and that it only went halfway up as it was meant to be for skiers in winter. An alternative was to drive to - Steall Falls and Gorge - and take a walk that cuts though the scenery surrounding Ben Nevis. Which we did. Brilliant advice and a special place.

Logieriat country market
At the last hostel in - Tyndrum - we encountered people who were walking - The West Highland Way, a few couples and a big hearty group who were most friendly. We took a walk into Tyndrum which wasn't hard as there isn't much to it. But worth seeing is the massive souvenir shop come cafe - The Green Welly Stop - and for a meal with an eco friendly bias visit - The Real food Cafe. Our evening meal was self catering which seems to be the norm in hostels and quite frankly I way prefer self catering to eating out.

Working mill Blair Atholl
The last day the girls wanted to see - Blair Castle - which I had already seen. Read about it in - this - blog. On the way to Blair castle near Pitlochry we discovered a country market in - Logierait. We stopped and wandered around the stalls which where mostly fresh and home-made food as well as crafts. We had a quick cup of tea and a snack before moving on.

A Highland cow
I left my friends at the castle and went to - Blair Atholl Watermill, which is a working mill that still grinds flour for their bakery. You can have a drink and a home-baked treat in their tea-room. I also visited the - Atholl Country life Museum - for £3 - afternoons only - and saw how working life in the country used to be. And I went to the Visitors Centre at - Killiecrankie - where they have exhibits and information on the Jacobites vs the Redcoats as well as information on local flora and fauna. There is also a walk to a gorge and a rock where a soldier leapt to escape his opressors.

We re-grouped and had a late lunch at - Mckays - in Pitlochry before resuming our trip back to Aberdeen. We drove through Perthshire and Royal Deeside area via the pretty towns of Dunkeld, Braemar, Banchory and Ballater where we had a final biological break at - Rocksalt and Snails.

Scottish Gaelic road signs
It was one hellava trip. The diversity allowed us a snapsot of much of what Scotland offers. From lush green forests in Perthshire and the mighty mountains of Ben Nevis to the wind swept tree-less plains of Orkney. We explored the fast growing cosmopolitan city of Aberdeen to villages where the only visitors are hikers, and time has stood still. And we saw remains of civilisations dating back 5000 years BC.

We ate rubbish food at the tourist centre in Fort William and fabulous food at the tourist centre at Skara Brae in Orkney. The weather in Aberdeen was glorius and at Wester Ross the weather was atrocious. Needless to say we all want to go back to different places some day.
Fingers crossed.

Ben Nevis Inn

Go to - My Holidays and Trips - at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on - this link.
Part of Ben Nevis mountain range

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