6.00 am. Lazy Duck Hostel, Nethy Bridge, Cairgorms, Highlands, Scotland
Tip toeing through the kitchen trying to find the kettle. Must not wake up the others who are still sound asleep... as kitchen, lounge and bedrooms aren't separated by proper walls... and sound travels through the whole lodge... I try and be as quiet as I can. And you know what that is like... it never works... the more you try to be quiet the more things you drop and bump into.
Can't find an electric kettle so I thought I try the microwave to boil water for my morning coffee. As soon I switched it on I realized that it was one of those fancy ones with millions of settings (not just a knob for setting the time). It reminded me that I had not selected what type of food I'm cooking and for how long and god knows what else by beeping loudly. When making my selection pushing allsorts of buttons it responded with beeps too every time you pressed one. So I gave up on that idea and reverted to my last resort, the good old fashioned water kettle on the gas hob. All went well, and quiet, until the water started to boil.
So dear cohabitants, walker's couple and Ben Howard band members, India and sisters and boyfriend: I am very sorry for waking you up at 6am on the only day you've had off in months. I sincerely apologize.
Left the hostel at 8.00 am.. by then I think almost everyone was up. I wonder why.
View from the Lazy Duck Hostel, Nethy Bridge, Cairngorms, Scotland.
I was the first to arrive at the Loch that day and even an hour later there was hardly anyone around. What a magical place. I could live there.
The idea was to walk around the whole lake. Walking time 2 hours. In Dorit time that's about 4 hours. If it was just me walking I could easily do it in 2 hours but I have Cami with me. Yes, Cami. That's my camera and I'm not the only one who names "things". My friend's washing machine is called Laura. Anyway, Cami is my precious tool for harvesting scenes of the beauty of nature and therefore I accept that she's the reason why I have to double recommended walking times wherever I go.... but what would I be without her?
As I have quite a busy schedule today with the Reindeer Centre, Inverness and Glenmorangie Distillery still to visit on my way to Inchnadamph, I decided against doing the round walk and only strolled along the shore on the right hand side (if you look at the map with north at the top) until the castle ruin on the island and then back again.
|By Loch an Eilein.|
Loch an Eilein with ruined castle on island, Rothiemurchus.
11:05 am. At the Cairngorms Reindeer Centre, Glenmore, Aviemore. (map)
Make sure you get there before 11.00am so you don't miss the tour up the mountains to see the herd. As it turned out to be the story of my journey I arrived there 5 min late and was left with the option to see the Reindeer in the paddock. Because I've never seen one before (in real life) I didn't mind that they keep only the old and injured in there... as long as I could say "I've touched a reindeer"... and take photos of course!
So here is Rudolph. Yes, Rudolph. I gave him this name... I thought it suits him well. Ingenious, I know.
1:40 pm. In Inverness (map)
Oh Inverness... city of the North. I looked at you longingly from afar for such a long time imagining that there are northern lights, fairies dancing on the street, people wrapped in warm sheep skin coats rushing to get indoors as quick as they can. It's so far north it must be cold, right? Wrong. It was sunny and very warm. And there were no fairies or northern lights. Instead I was welcomed by a traffic jam. Traffic jam, I've almost forgotten what that was. But it wasn't too bad, in fact only a few minutes of stop and go.
Parked the car at the East Gate Shopping Centre and although I knew they were in a hurry, I dared to ask a couple how to get to the centre and castle. They told me to follow them. In fact they were so helpful not only did they tell me where to go and what to see, while rushing through the shopping mall, they also told me what the car park was called so I could ask for the way back if I'd get lost. How nice is that?
Inverness. View over the River Ness towards the Cathedral Church of St Andrew.
By the castle.
2.30 pm. Leakeys Bookshop, Greyfriars Hall, Church Street, Inverness.
The most interesting bookshop I have ever seen. Stuffed with second hand books. Could have spent an entire day in there.
The building itself is a real gem. There is so much to take in. The wood burner (not sure if it's wise to have a wood burner in a building that's stuffed with paper, but I'm sure they know what they're doing), shelves after shelves stuffed with books, an iron spiral staircase that leads to the mezzanine floor. There are fine art prints and antique maps on display and a café too.
Leakeys book store, Inverness, Highlands, Scotland.
Outside Leakeys book store, Inverness.
Stepping into Leakey's is like stepping back in time. The bookshop is ultra special but the cafe is even more so. The soup selection is brilliant and the cakes are to die for! Highly recommended! Source: Tripadvisor.com
5.30 pm. Glenmorangie Whisky Distillery, Tain, Ross-shire
Last distillery tour was at 3:30 pm. Ah, getting used to my late coming. Though I was a bit disappointed. I tasted "Glenmorangie Madeira Barrel Aged" 14 years ago in Germany and liked it a lot. So I really wanted to know more about the place where it's made. Well, next time perhaps. Have to make sure I get there early... maybe even the night before and camp next to it... just to be on the safe side. Nosed around the grounds a bit, took some photos and then headed off towards Sutherland.
Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain, Ross-shire
|Telephone box in the middle of nowhere. Must have been near Lubcroy.|
8.00 pm. Inchnadamph Lodge, Loch Assynt, Sutherland (map)
Finally arrived. Lodge is busy. Sharing room with 5 others. Men too.
After making my bed, filling up my empty water bottles, moving back and forth between car and room to get clothes for tomorrow, camera battery charger and other things I'm settling down in front of the lodge with a bottle of beer. Feeling great.
View from Inchnadamph Lodge towards Loch Assynt
Click here to see the map of the whole 8 day tour
Tour Itinerary: Edinburgh – Spittal of Glenshee (Cairngorms) – Nethy Bridge (Cairngorms) – Inverness – Inchnadamph (Sutherland) by Loch Assynt – Ullapool – Torridon – Applecross Peninsula – Loch Ness – Glen Coe – Loch Lomond - Edinburgh
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