After my boyfriend and I had decided to spend New Year’s Eve a little more quietly, and we urgently needed distance from the hustle and bustle of the city, we set off for Scotland. To be more precise, the Cairngorms, a mountain group in the eastern Highlands of Scotland. The Cairngorms National Park is Britain’s largest national park and there is so much to discover. Today I tell you about what we were able to discover in the 5 nights and 4 days we spent there. We flew from London to Edinburgh and borrowed a Landrover Defender for our little trip. I love this car, I even first learned to drive in a Defender.
For my boyfriend it was unfortunately a bit of a pain during longer journeys, because the seats are not adjustable and the legroom is quite limited. The weather was so good that we didn’t really need the car, but we just wanted to have fun with it.
We chose a small Bed & Breakfast called Struan Hall in Aboyne. It is about 5 minutes outside the official entrance of the Cairngorms and we could easily reach all our destinations. We happened to be the only guests and our host Judith was so friendly and courteous that we couldn’t have imagined it any better.
There was also a small self-service whiskey bar in the living room from which we drank the bottle recommended by Judith in just one week.
Our – actually spontaneously planned – program was: Loch Muick, The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, Lochnagar and finally we went to the Royal Lochnagar Distillery to try some whiskey.
On the first day we set off for our first little hike and drove to Loch Muick. A comfortable 3-hour walk, without too difficult paths and actually suitable for everyone who likes to walk a little longer. This hike is also suitable for children! There is a turnoff where you can also go up a bit, where we took the photos of the whole lake. We had the whole week extreme luck with the weather: approx. 10°C and some wind.
Cairngorm Reindeer Herd
The next day we continued with the Cairngorm Reindeer herd. The reindeers were reintroduced in the 50’s and are completely independent. The Cairngorms offer the perfect habitat for the animals.
The hike on the Lochnagar was our absolute highlight. Unfortunately, the sun rises quite late in January and sets very early, which means that we had to plan the hike precisely so that we didn’t have to go down the mountain in the dark.
The hike on the Lochnagar is only recommended when the weather is good, as there are some trails over bigger rocks that could get a bit dangerous. Solid shoes and the right clothes are recommended to everyone, with flip-flops one does not get far.
With a few photo breaks, we have been on the road for about 7 hours. The weather couldn’t have been better, we had bright sunshine during the whole hike and because the sun was so low, also a full day “golden hour”.
We walked from sunrise to sunset. Don’t underestimate the hike, it can get quite difficult and therefore is not recommended for everyone. The best thing to do is to find out about weather conditions and all the details beforehand.
You start at the same parking lot as for Loch Muick, but you take another turn and then you start into the absolutely picturesque landscape of Scotland. On the way down it goes then again to the Loch Muick and one goes again approx. 1 hour along the lake the way back.
In the Royal Lochnagar Distillery we unfortunately did not take any photos. The water used for the whiskey comes from Lochnagar, and we didn’t want to miss trying it. A bottle also came to Vienna and is kept for special moments.
This post is also available in English!