Ben A’an – our first Scottish peak

View over Loch Katrine from the top of Ben A'an

"What on earth did I pick this walk for?" I thought to myself, as the sun beat down on us and we dragged ourselves up the steep path to the summit of Ben A'an.

We decided to celebrate our anniversary by tackling our first Scottish peak. The weather looked good (slightly cloudy, around 16C - ideal for hillwalking) and we picked Ben A'an (pronounced 'ann', I'm told) because I'd seen it described as a 'mountain in miniature' somewhere on the Visit Scotland website, and had seen beautiful views over Loch Katrine on Instagram. We packed our lunch, took a very quick glance at the Walk Highlands guide and enjoyed the hour and a half drive to the starting point. 

The path up Ben A'an

The path to the peak of Ben A'an, as it heads into the trees

The trail up Ben A'an on a hot, sunny day

The trail begins at the Ben A'an car park; it's owned by the Forestry Commision and costs £3 per day to park (coins only, no card reader). It's not a huge car park, so if you're planning to tackle Ben A'an on a weekend, I would get there early. We went on a weekday and arrived about 1 pm and it was almost full then. 

Though the trail isn't signposted (we saw a small sign a couple of hundred metres into the trail), it's easy to follow; you would struggle to get lost to be honest. Put it this way, if I have no problem following the trail, you'll be absolutely fine. 

Within a few hundred metres, you're rewarded with stunning views over Loch Achray and the surrounding area. The trail starts off quite steep and remains pretty steep for the majority of the hike. There are a couple of flat-ish bits, but for the most part, you're giving your calves and knees a good workout on the way up. 

After about 20 - 30 minutes, you'll come across a bit of a crossroads but keep going straight ahead. It's pretty obvious that you don't need to turn off, because if you look left you'll see the path has quite a big gate. Not 100% sure what it is, but it kinda looks like forestry access. 

As you get closer to the top, it looks like the summit is a huge lump of rock and you might wonder how you're supposed to get to the peak. Fear not. The rocky path leads you around the back and to some absolutely stunning views over Loch Katrine, Loch Achray and the Trossachs. 

We sat down on a rock, overlooking Loch Katrine, feeling a slight breeze on our faces and questioned whether or not the view was even real. Obviously, we knew it was; it seemed so vast and on such a beautiful day it was hard to believe it was real. It definitely made the steep slog worth it. 

To be honest, had we researched the walk a bit more and realised how steep Ben A'an is, we probably wouldn't have done it. I'm not going to lie to you, we aren't super fit. We get out quite a bit, but the majority of our hikes are pretty easy. I guess this is a lesson in forcing yourself to do things you think you can't do and pushing yourself. 

The summit of Ben A'an

View over Loch Katrine from Ben A'an

There are a few different spots to sit, perch, enjoy lunch, rehydrate, and take in the view at the top of Ben A'an. Our favourite was not quite the summit, but provided a front seat view over Loch Katrine, which you can see in the photo above.

How long did it take to climb Ben A'an & how hard was it?

It took us about 3 - 3.5 hours to get there and back, but we took it pretty easy (even though it didn't feel easy) and stopped often. You could definitely do it faster if you were fitter.

Once we got to the top, it didn't feel like it had been that hard at all - or, rather, it felt like it was 100% worth it. It is steep and your legs might feel it for a couple of days after; but what's that for the memory of doing it?

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View over Loch Achray from the Ben A'an trail

Tips for hiking Ben A'an

  • Take your time; it's steep so pace yourself, especially if (like us) you're not a regular hillwalker
  • Wear layers & sunscreen; there isn't much shade on the trail at all, so if it's hot you'll probably want to be wearing something thin, but it might be chilly when you reach the top. Also, long sleeves are great at protecting yourself from the sun, too. 
  • Take plenty of water; like I said, it's steep and you'll be wanting that water 
  • Snacks, always take snacks; for the top to refuel yourself for the way back down
  • If you have time, I highly recommend visiting Loch Katrine, too - that car park is pretty expensive, so take more change.

With an ascent of 340 metres, Ben A'an is a good hike if you're looking to explore the Trossachs and are a novice looking for a challenging hike. If you want more information, I highly recommend the Walk Highlands website because it contains all the info you need and you can read reports from people who've done the high. Use your common sense though, and walk to your ability and know when to stop and turn back if you need to. 

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Calton Hill – the best place to watch the sunset in Edinburgh

Why Calton Hill is the place to be to watch the sunset over Edinburgh

Watching the sunset over Edinburgh from Calton Hill

I'm ashamed to say it took us nine months before we actually got up Calton Hill at all, let alone to see the sunset

When we first moved to Edinburgh we came up with my Mum and one of Daz's best friends, who had lived in Edinburgh for years. Daz and I were talking about all of the things we were excited to see and do, and mentioned wanting to watch the sunset from Arthur's Seat. His friend told us that while it's pretty good, the party is at Calton Hill because it's closer to the city. (He didn't say "the party is at" because no one says that, apart from me...on the internet.)

And he was right. And it seems everyone else in Edinburgh, nay, the world, knows about Calton Hill and how incredible the views are at sunset because the place was packed. The nice thing was that it seemed to be full of both locals and tourists. While it might be a tourist attraction, it seems the locals love it too. 

For me, the best thing about seeing the sunset from Calton Hill is that you can walk the whole way around it. So you get a 360 view of the sun setting over the city. If you've ever been to Edinburgh, you'll know that the skyline is so diverse. You look one way and you can see the beautiful, old city, the castle, and the Balmoral Hotel dominating your view. And then you can turn around and see hills and mountains lurking on the edge of Edinburgh. If you turn around some more, you can see the Firth of Forth and the North Sea. 

I go on about Canada and Vancouver a lot but it's recently occurred to me that Edinburgh and Vancouver have a fair bit in common when it comes to the city and their surroundings. 

I'm going to leave you in the capable hands of Google Maps, Lothian Buses, and some more of my photos to convince you that you need to come to Edinburgh and watch the sunset from Calton Hill. And maybe you should come this summer and take a picnic. I feel like a picnic on Calton Hill, with the sky painted like fire would be incredible. 

How to get to Calton Hill

*Announcer voice* On your right you will see a walking route to Calton Hill from Waverley Station. The train station is pretty central to Edinburgh, and after Avengers Infinity War, I feel like everyone's gonna be checking out the train station anyway so...y'know. It's a short walk, though I would give yourself double the time because you'll probably want to keep stopping on the way to take photos. It definitely takes me double the time to get most places in Edinburgh because I'm constantly whipping my camera out and saying to Daz "LOOK AT THE CHERRY BLOSSOM" "LOOK AT THAT DOOR" "IT LOOKS LIKE HOGSMEDE!" 

The bus service in Edinburgh is astonishingly good and cheap. If you don't fancy the walk, head over to the Lothian Buses website where they have a nifty tool that can tell you what bus to get and where. OR you could get the Lothian Buses app for your phone, which is probably easier to use - especially when you're out and about. Buses cost £1.70 for a single journey or £4.00 for a day ticket - that will get you on as many Lothian Buses as you want all day. 

If you have a car and are visiting Edinburgh, I recommend leaving it wherever you've managed to park it. We (that's the royal we because I did not drive) have driven in Edinburgh a handful of times and it isn't worth the hassle or the extortionate parking fees. Either walk in, park and ride if you're staying out of the city, or just hop on the bus. 

Purple, pink and orange sunset from Calton Hill over Edinburgh Castle and The Balmoral

Silhouettes of cranes against the sunset in Edinburgh

Sunset over the Firth of Forth from Calton Hill

Sunset over Edinburgh and the Blackford Hills

Sunset sky behind The Balmoral, Edinburgh, taken from Calton Hill

Watching the sunset over Edinburgh from Calton Hill

Have you been up Calton Hill? Are you going to? Should we have a blogging picnic on Calton Hill? LET'S MAKE IT HAPPEN.

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Tyninghame Beach | Where East Lothian meets Tofino

Tyninghame Beach, East Lothian

Daz at Tyninghame Beach looking towards Bass Rock

Since we've moved to Scotland people seem to be obsessed with asking how awful the weather is "all the way up there"; let this blog post where I fangirl about Tyninghame Beach serve as proof that the weather is glorious in November. And no, we have not had snow, and I haven't seen any White Walkers yet. 

East Lothian is an absolute gem. I think there's so much going on in Edinburgh and with the draw of the Highlands that East Lothian gets overlooked so often. To be honest, I'm guilty of that myself. I remember being like, "what's in East Lothian?" Beautiful beaches that's what, past me, beautiful beaches. If you're visiting Edinburgh and can get around, I definitely recommend paying a visit to some of the wonderful beaches (and golf courses right next to them if that's your jam) dotted around East Lothian's coast. 

We discovered Tyninghame a few weeks ago when I spotted the St. Baldred's Cradle & Ravensheugh Sands hike on Walk Highlands (awesome website, btw). If my photos are not enough to convince you that this place is stunning, click that little link there. Go on, I'll wait...

...Doesn't it just look divine and a little exotic? As soon as I saw it, it reminded me of Tofino, so I showed Daz and we headed off. 

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Tyninghame woodland

The trail starts off in woodland and all of a sudden you find yourself on the beach. It's a strange feeling to pop out of a wood onto a windswept beach - and I think that's why it reminded me of Tofino so much. From there, you follow the trail through trees and some bizarre-looking anti-tank concrete blocks that have just been left there.

You keep going over headlands, watching the waves swell and crash into the shoreline (and inevitably watch the occasional fool risk serious injury to get a 'good photo'), and then you end up on this huge, stretch of golden sand, rocks, and pebbles overlooking Bass Rock.

It's the kind of beach you could probably spend all day playing on as a kid and never get bored. Keep an eye out for the tide times though; at high tide, you can't walk the entire beach and the fun rockpools are covered up. But even if you do end up there at high tide, it's stunning. 

We haven't actually managed to follow the trail from Walk Highlands exactly as it is yet because we keep getting distracted, and wondering "what's over there". I think that's wonderful though. We've been three times in the past few weeks and each trip has been different, whether it's the tide being low or high, or us taking a different route through the woodland, or climbing up hills.

Both of our parents have been up recently and we had to take them to show them how amazing it was. You see, being so close to the beach is something a little mind-blowing to us. Where we used to live, it was a good two and a half - three hours to the nearest beach. And it wasn't a beach like Tyninghame beach. It was Barmouth; a pretty standard beach running along a town. 

Before we moved up to Scotland, we kept talking about all the places we'd be able to visit and we're so excited to be this close to the beach. The only thing is, we love it so much we keep going back to Tyninghame Beach and haven't done much exploring elsewhere. I feel like we might have shot ourselves in the foot there because now the nights are pulling in, it limits how far we can go exploring.

Tyninghame Beach

Shadows on Tyninghame beach

Sure, we could get up earlier but I am the definition of being bad at getting in up early.

I am 100% a night owl; can't sleep early on (unless we're talking a cheeky mid-afternoon nap); will sleep through seven alarms that have woken the entire town up; and when I do wake up, I will happily stare at the ceiling for a while pondering the fact I need to get out of bed, and just not get out of bed. Just me?

The last time we visited Tyninghame beach we came across a big log cabin (it's called Ravensburgh log cabin, and you can hire it out for weddings, parties, or asking your friends to bring all their dogs so you can lie on the floor and be trampled on by puppies - that, by the way, is the best reason to hire a place out.) It really took us back to Canada. Can you imagine coming across somewhere like that after a long day hiking, going inside and lighting a nice fire, putting your feet up, and chilling with a nice hot chocolate? Doesn't that just sound like the dream? 

Ravensburgh log cabin

View over Tyninghame Beach

If you ever visit Edinburgh and you have a car (I don't think this would be the easiest place to reach from the city using public transport) make sure you pay Tyninghame beach a visit, you won't regret or forget it. 

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Our Scottish adventure list – 13 places to visit

13 places to add to your Scottish adventure list

You didn’t think I’d be in Scotland too long before putting together a Scottish adventure list did you?

This beautiful country has just been voted the most beautiful country in the world by Rough Guide readers (and Canada came second?! WHAT?!). I’ve visited Scotland a couple of times and it’s easy to see how it won the title. Getting to adventure around Scotland was one of the things we were most excited for when we were moving.

While this list is in no way final (because we keep seeing more amazing places on Instagram and Pinterest), here are 13 places (plus a bonus) on our Scottish Adventure list. Incidentally, this is perhaps a list of 13 awesome travel photographers to follow on Instagram.

13 places that need to be on your Scottish adventure list

Ben More, Crianlarich

 

The North Face

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Daz spotted Ben More on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and it looks stunning. It’s not too far from Edinburgh so hopefully we can get this one ticked off before the days draw in. Having done some research into the hike, it looks like it’s incredibly unrelenting and is going to make me feel very unfit. Alas, the view from the top looks spectacular.

 

Isle of Skye

What list of awesome Scottish places to visit would be complete without mentioning the Isle of Skye? With it’s faerie pools, dramatic green landscape, moody weather, waterfalls, and the enchanting Man of Storr, it is everything we’re looking for in a place to visit.

There are so many stunning looking places on Skye we want to visit that I think this will turn into a few days of adventuring. That and the weather is so famously unpredictable that we might get one dry day out of four or five. Maybe?

 

John O’Groats

 

Pretty cool sea stacks #nc500 #visitscotland #coast #scotland

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I couldn’t care less about the whole tacky white sign thing, what I do want to see is the geographical (not political, ooh) end of the UK. There’s something weirdly exciting about looking out into the sea and knowing you’re stood at the end of a country.

 

Loch Ness

Loch Ness as seen from a tour boat

When you think about Scotland, one of the first places you think about is Loch Ness. Steeped in mystery and mythology, the dark loch is just somewhere you have to visit. I visited Loch Ness a couple of years ago, and sure it’s not the most beautiful loch in Scotland, but when you see it you can understand where the stories of a monster came from. Daz hasn’t visited yet so I definitely need to take him.

 

Eilean Donan Castle

One of the most visited castles in Scotland, Eilean Donan castle looks like it’s right out of Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. It’s on the main route to the Isle of Skye so exploring this castle would be the perfect thing to do on the way there or back.

 

Harry Potter walking tour of Edinburgh

 

The very photogenic Victoria Street, or Diagon Alley if you will ⚡️

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It is well known that J K Rowling worked on the series while living in, and being inspired by, Edinburgh. For any other Harry Potter adventurers, I came across this self-guided Harry Potter tour of Edinburgh which looks fantastic. Just walking around Edinburgh, it’s so easy to see how the Harry Potter universe came to life.

 

Skiing & Snowboarding

I learned to snowboard as part of Duke of Edinburgh though I didn’t actually make it onto a mountain, and Daz last went skiing on a holiday a few years ago. There is no way we’re living this close to a place we can go skiing and snowboarding and not doing it. I think I’ll stick to the bunny slopes though, once I’ve got over my fear of ski lifts; they just don’t look safe, what if I get tangled up in myself and fall flat on my face getting off? Serious fear.

 

Edinburgh’s underground


I only learned about Edinburgh’s underground a couple of months ago. Some part of the city you see today were built on top of existing parts, turning the original streets into tunnels and vaults. Mercat offer tours into the vaults which looks really interesting. It is marketed it as being haunted but I hope the ghost stuff isn’t too over the top.

 

Astronomy nights at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh & Calton Hill

 

Amazing photo of the stars by @kyleeeeliang ✨

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Both of us love space stuff and have wanted to visit an observatory for months, and now we have one right on our doorstep. The Royal Observatory Edinburgh runs public astronomy evenings every Friday throughout the year for just a fiver! We’re definitely going to get in on that as soon as we can.

On top of that, the observatory sits on top of Calton Hill, right in the city centre. We have heard that it’s supposed to provide better views over the city than Arthur’s Seat, so I guess we’ll find out if there’s any truth to that too. As another matter of interest, a fellow student told me that the Postgraduate levels in the main university library also provide amazing views over Edinburgh; so, if you’re a student get in that library and stare out the window! I mean, study.

 

Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail & Jacobite Express

 

📸 are proud to present our Scotland love of the day! ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 🏅ARTIST @connormollison 🌍LOCATION Glenfinnan, Loch Shiel ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• We need you and your pics to show the beauty of Scotland to the world! Join us and be part of it! Tag us #scotlandshots or #scotshots ☝️ No stolen or web pics! Please visit the artist’s gallery and show them some love 💙 Photo selected by @nichbrand #glenfinnan #glenfinnanviaduct #harrypotterbridge #highlands #visitscotland #thisisscotland #unlimitedscotland #ukpotd #scotlandsites #hubs_united #brilliantbritain #lovegreatbritain #omgb #topukphoto #bestukpics #instabritain #vivocelticworld #photosofbritain #igersuk #beautifulscotland #britains_talent #highlandcollective #liveuk #uk #visituk #hiddenscotland

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As two huge Harry Potter fans, visiting the Glenfinnan Viaduct is high up our list. There’s a hike around the viaduct that takes a couple of hours, and hopefully we’ll manage to spot the Jacobite Express crossing the bridge. You can actually hop aboard the Jacobite Express and cross the viaduct pretending you’re en route to Hogwarts. I came across a blog post on Dangerous Business about her experience riding the train, and I am seriously hyped up to do it. That would be really fun to do when some of our Harry Potter loving friends and family visit.

 

Ben Nevis

 

#bennevis #highlands #scotland #mountains #landscape #valley

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As the highest mountain in the UK, a hike up Ben Nevis is probably the most adventurous thing on this list. With an estimated return hike time of 7 – 9 hours, this is probably one we’re going to have to leave until next summer to make sure we have plenty of daylight and (hopefully) better weather.

 

Coire Gabhail

Glencoe is one of my favourite places in Scotland, and Core Gabhail (also called the Lost Valley) is a hidden valley in Glencoe:

  • Visiting Glencoe – good
  • Hidden valleys – good
  • Custard – good (just a little Friends reference for you)

According to Walking Highlands the walk is 2 or 3 hours long, which gives us plenty of time to explore Glencoe some more.

If you’re interesting in visited Glencoe I cannot stress the importance of getting there early, or trying to go on a weekday if you can. During peak season, it is horrendously busy and you’ll struggle to find a parking space, and you might find a coach considerately blocking you in when you try to get out. The good news is that most of the visitors don’t stray too far from the road so the trails aren’t going to be jampacked and ruin your Scottish adventure.

 

Ben Lomond

 

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Loch Lomond is often said to be one of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland, so what better way to take it in than from the summit of a mountain? Seeing photos that look down to the islands on the loch really reminds me of Canada and the islands around Tofino.

With an estimated hike time of 4.5 – 5.5 hours, we might just be able to fit this one in before winter comes.

 

Bonus: Faroe Islands


No, I didn’t skip geography classes. The Faroe Islands are not part of Scotland at all but you can get direct flights to the Danish owned islands direct from Edinburgh. I keep seeing the Faroe Islands popping up all over Instagram at the moment and we’d like to go before it gets too touristy and the accomodation situation goes tits up and ends up like Iceland; in which it costs you a kidney to stay anywhere.

 

Traveling sustainably in Scotland

We all know that it is more environmentally friendly to travel by public transport. Traveline Scotland’s website has a great journey planner that will help you figure out how to get anywhere in Scotland using public transport. They also offer a carbon calculator to show you the CO2 emissions of your journey – which is pretty fun, and scary.

If you’re visiting Edinburgh as part of your trip public transport is the easiest way to get in, out, and around the city. With a single bus ticket costing £1.60, it is probably also the cheapest (again, depending on your circumstances) when you consider the extortionate costs of parking in the city.

Sometimes, public transport isn’t practical, so here are three tips if you need a car for your Scottish adventure:

  • Hire / use an electric or small car
  • Carpool; if you and your adventure buddies can fit in one car, get comfy with each other
  • Find out how many of these eco-driving tips you’re already doing, and what you can start doing

Where is on your adventure list at the moment?

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We’re moving to Edinburgh!

View over Edinburgh from Edinburgh castle

Last week, we got the news we’d be waiting on since the start of February; the University of Edinburgh made me an offer on the best masters course I’d found.

I cannot tell you how many times I have refreshed my emails over the past two months, or how many times I’ve logged into their applicant hub hoping to see an update. The stress and hassle of my current university who don’t seem to understand what an interim transcript is and my tutor and I having to make one because they’re so useless. The anxiety Daz and I have had, stressing about how close it was getting and all the things we need to do and we still don’t have a decision. It was all lifted. I could have cried; but I didn’t because I am not human.

Well, I say the stress was lifted. It was and it was quickly replaced with a load more stress and things that need sorting.

Daz and I spent a few days in Edinburgh towards the end of last year when they had a postgraduate open day and we both fell in love with the place. I love Scotland, I love Edinburgh and the university was everything I thought it would be and more. Some of the buildings look like they’re straight out of Hogwarts; which I guess they kinda are since J. K. Rowling was living in Edinburgh when she started writing the books.

View of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle

The course is my dream course. Friends and family kept asking me if I’d applied anywhere else and I kept saying “no, because no where else does a course that is anywhere like this one. I have to get in because everything else seems pointless in comparison.” It was, of course, the most expensive course I could have applied for but the way I see it is that it would have been a waste of money doing a cheaper course because it wouldn’t get me where I want to be. The optional modules are all so exciting and I CAN DO A MODULE ON FORESTS! I cannot tell you how excited I am for that. I love forests.

Having lived in my hometown all my life, I’ve visited places and yearned to experience what it would be like to live somewhere else. Especially somewhere so fancy-looking, I mean Edinburgh has a huge castle on a hill (Ed Sheeran?) that is always in the corner of your eyes. What I also like about Edinburgh is that it isn’t so busy that it overwhelms me and stresses me out; though I’m told it will be completely different when the Fringe Festival is on.

I’m looking forward to living somewhere new but I am very comfortable where I am, as is Daz. The thing I am most nervous about is leaving my current job and finding a new one. I love the people I work with, it’s like a family. I am worried that wherever I end up working in Scotland (Hard Rock Cafe, I’m coming for you…goals) won’t feel quite the same.

Of course I will also miss my family and friends. There are plenty of ways for us to keep in touch though, and none of them appear remotely unhappy about the prospect of visiting us in Edinburgh.

It’s a really exciting next chapter that seems full of a lot of unknowns at the moment but I’m sure things will become clearer over the next few months. We’re also both seriously excited about getting to explore Scotland on our days off because it is all kinds of beautiful.

It sure is a weight off.

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Scotland travel roundup

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my final blog post about my trip to Scotland in April. As I posted a few posts, I thought I'd stick them all in one post as a roundup in case you've missed any. 

Oban from Strone Hill

Oban & Strone Hill

On day one of our Scottish adventure, we battled through a snowstorm to reach Oban, where we were treated to stunning views. 

Rainwbows at Lochawe

Rainbows at Kilchurn Castle, Lochawe

At Christmas, I went to Kilchurn Castle on Lochawe and were stunned by it's beauty. I went back with my Mum in tow this time, and managed to actually find the way into the castle this time. This time, the weather stole the show from the castle and we saw the most beautiful, and the brightest rainbows I've ever seen in my entire life. 

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Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness

Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle

No trip to Scotland is complete without a trip to Loch Ness. To my surprise, it wasn't as tacky or touristy as I was expecting it to be. 

We took a boat up the loch to Urquhart Castle, which is perched on the edge of Loch Ness. It must have been a beautiful place to live back when the castle was in it's heyday. 

 

The Glenfiddich Distillery Tour

The Glenfiddich Distillery Tour

Just like a trip to Loch Ness, an adventure to Scotland isn't complete without a tour around a distillery. I'm not a whiskey fan, but even I can't deny that the place smelled absolutely wonderful. 

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Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

A day in Edinburgh saw us wander around the city, visit the Hard Rock Cafe (of course), and conquer Arthur's Seat. It was more than worth the trek, and our reward was views across Edinburgh. 

Falls of Dochart, Killin

Killin & the Falls of Dochart

On the final day, we explored the area we'd been staying in and had a walk around Killin and spend some time at the waterfalls which run through the town. 

Glen Coe, Scotland

Glen Coe - the most beautiful place in the world? 

We passed through Glen Coe a few times, which is perhaps the most stunning stretch of road in the world. It's unlike any other place I've driven through. It's so untouched, for the most part, and you can imagine it being pretty much exactly the same thousands of years ago. 

Loch Tay, at Kenmore

Kenmore & castle ruins

On our final adventure in Scotland, we explored the other end of Loch Tay, tried to find a castle, saw a baby red squirrel, and wandered through some spooky castle ruins. 

I'm pretty sure I've used the word 'beautiful' far too many times in this post, but as you can see for yourself, it's such a stunning place. I can't believe that it took me 22 years to visit. There's no way that I'll leave it that long before I go back again. 

Where are you off adventuring next? 

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Kenmore & castle ruins – my Scotland trip comes to an end

Loch Tay

Loch Tay

Here we are, at the end of my Scotland trip. On the final afternoon, we explored Kenmore on Loch Tay and the ruins of Finlarig Castle in Killin.

After exploring Killin and Loch Tay in the morning, we decided to go to the other end of Loch Tay in the afternoon to see the replica crannog. 

Crannog, Loch Tay

It looks beautiful, and it must have been stunning to live in a house over the loch. 

The Kenmore Hotel

Taymouth Castle

After having a nose around it, we didn’t go in it or on the tour around it, we decided to head into the town of Kenmore. We stumbled across a huge, slightly eerie looking, gate and decided we had to see if there was a castle beyond the gate. (The gate reminds me of something off Oblivious, or Skyrim.) 

We were expecting to find ruins of a castle, but what we found was a school, some houses, a park, and a golf course. We followed the road for what felt like a ridiculously long time (it wasn’t really a super long time, but I was eager for a castle and was getting impatient) before being brought to a halt by the sound of rummaging in the trees. 

We looked up, and there amongst all of the greenery, we spotted a flash of orange; a red squirrel. Having never seen a red squirrel before, let alone in the wild, we quietly switched to our longer lenses and waited. 

Baby red squirrel, Scotland

A baby squirrel peeped out from behind a tree for just long enough for us to get a couple of photos. We stood around for about half an hour trying to get another good glimpse of him (or her!) but we were no match for a speedy squirrel. 

Grey squirrels are really common in the UK, so it amuses me that I was so excited to see a red one; it’s just a change of colour, right? I think they’re both beautiful creatures, but it was special to see a red squirrel in it’s natural habitat. 

Tom got bored watching us wait for the squirrel and went for a wonder and came across a deserted old house. It was quite eerie, and felt like the start of a horror film. It looked so beautiful from the outside, and I couldn’t help but wonder how nice it must have been to live in a house in such a wonderful setting. 

Getting eager for pizza, we gave up on finding Taymouth Castle, and head back to the car. When I got home I googled it, and I wish we’d pressed on a little further. Look at how amazing it looks

We headed back into Killin to collect our pizza, and spotted signs for Finlarig Castle and decided to have a look. There was a pretty eerie sign up saying enter at your own risk, which made me even more excited to discover the castle. 

Finlarig Castle, Killin

Gravestones at Finlarig Castle, Killin

Finlarig Castle, Killin

Finlarig Castle, Killin

Finlarig Castle

There wasn’t a whole lot left of the castle at all. We were a bit naughty and climbed up some walls and onto the second floor where we found one room that was fairly intact, apart from lacking a roof entirely. 

I’ve visited so many castles, some of them ruins, but this one really had an eerie feel to it. Maybe it was the gravestones. Maybe it it was the trees around it. I don’t know, there’s just something dark feeling about it. It was definitely a different castle experience for me though. 

That’s it! That’s the end of my Scotland posts (though I think I will do a roundup in the next couple of weeks) and I miss it so much after writing this final post. It’s such a beautiful part of the world, and I highly recommend you visit if you ever have a chance. You won’t regret it. 

Have you ever been to Scotland? 

 

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