Scotland is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world , even in the rain. But when you’re lucky enough to experience Scotland in the sunshine it’s a completely different experience. The greys, browns and greens of the landscape pop in a an almost unexpected way. It is truly glorious. A weekend away in the sunny Cairngorms is perfect to get back in touch with nature.
I was very lucky to experience this phenomena when we made our annual trip to Pitlochry this Easter. Fluking a weekend of sunshine and warmth. We completely took advantage and spent most of the weekend outside either exploring or just enjoying the sunshine.
What we did
Dolphin Watching – Now if you’ve read the About part of the website you’ll know that I have a love affair with whales and dolphins and always have done. I just find everything about them fascinating so basically any trip I do has to somehow include some kind of cetacean spotting! I first visited the Moray Firth as a kid and it was the place I saw my first ever wild dolphin so it holds a special place in my heart.
Previously we have headed to Chanonry Point within the Moray Firth for dolphin watching as it is one of the best on land places to spot them but this year we decided to add some thrill seeking and headed out on the Dolphin Mischief boat from Dolphin Spirit. This twelve berth rib is a fabulous and fast way to travel through the Moray Firth from Inverness all the way up to the sea. It’s a fun ride bouncing from wave to wave, although we were lucky that the first was like a mill pond, and we saw dolphins, seals and a plethora of sea birds. There’s also some gorgeous scenery looking back to the land and some interesting history in Fort George.
Definitely worth hopping on board if you fancy a boat ride with the added extra of possibility seeing dolphins!
Driving through the Cairngorms – The Cairngorm National Park is stunning, a true wilderness studded with towns and ski resorts. As we drove back to base in Pitlochry from Inverness we decided to take the back roads rather than the A9. Travelling through Grantown, Tomintoul and Braemar. Passing villages, ski lifts, distillerys and castles I definitely want to go back next year and explore some more on foot. If you have the chance to do this it really is a lovely drive. Taking the longer road is often the best way to explore rather than just sticking to the main roads.
Walking – There really is no better way to explore a landscape than walk through it. From our base in Pitlochry there are so many options to walk from 30 minute wanders to entire day hikes but we went for a happy medium and spent the morning wandering the hills up above the town.
We took a round route stopping off at the Black Spout waterfall, Edradour Disillery, one of the smallest in Scotland, the ruins of the Black Castle in Moulin and then back into Pitlochry for ice cream. The weather really was that gorgeous!
It’s also possible to visit Edradour Distillery for a tour, we have on a previous trip and as it is such a small operation it truly is a fascinating trip into the making of whisky.
The Hermitage – The Hermitage is a gorgeous slither of woodland along the River Braan with a classic Victorian folly perched above the huge waterfall. A National Trust property it’s often busy, especially over Easter weekend but is a lovely place to start a walk from and maybe even bump into a red squirrel in the woods.
We used the Hermitage as a starting point to walk further up to the river spotting slow worms and birds of prey before finding some pools and rocks for paddling and scrambling. True nature bathing at its best
House of Bruar – What once started as a small country clothing store as grown into the premiere food hall and country clothing emporium of the Cairngorms. Although I can’t afford any of the lovely cashmere and don’t really have any use for a waterproof bag for my canoe it has a lovely tea room perfect for a post walk cuppa and cake. Oh and the olives in the Deli are to die for
Where we stayed
The Atholl Palace is an old Victorian Baronial castle. Harking back to the days of city dwellers coming to Scotland to take the water and the air it has faded grandure about it now which is charming.
Set in lovely grounds with a putting green and tennis courts, which we actually used, it also has a very well stocked gin selection. All the essentials covered! And with its position on the top of a hill it has the most fabulous views from every window.
The perfect place to base yourself for a chilled weekend away in nature