Following our visit to Edinburgh, we drove on up to Boat of Garten where we would be based for the rest of the week.
We spent the week hiking around lochs and castles, visited a distillery and generally enjoyed ourselves in the great outdoors. We were very lucky with the weather which remained warm (for the time of the year) and mostly dry for our trip. The following week once we were back home, the temperature had dropped from 13C to around freezing and some of the places we had been walking were cut off by flooding!
Some of the highlights of the trip were:
- Visiting Loch Ness and the visitor centre with its quirky displays about monster sightings
- Urquhart Castle
- Balvenie Distillery in Dufftown
- Hiking through seemingly endless seas of heather and bracken first in search of a waterfall and then in search of anything that might resemble a path.
- The great walks available just on our doorstep.
There are too many photos to add individually to this post so I’m putting them in a gallery with descriptions on some of the more interesting ones.
Lizzie gets to work warming up the house on our first night
Urquhart Castle on the shore of Loch Ness
Remains of a trebuchet
Lizzie keeps a look out for Nessie
Starting the Balvenie Distillery tour
This is where the fermentation happens
Spirit stills. You can’t see the sign in this picture which says that these stills hold 12,729l of spirits! You can just see that there are 6 of them for a total capacity of 76,374l!
Spirit safes. This is where samples can be taken for testing.
The cooperage where they repair barrels. Whisky barrels are second hand so they don’t make their own.
What coopers do when they are bored.
My birthday present from Lizzie 🙂
The Whisky tasting session begins.
That’s quite a lot of booze to get through! I’m glad that Lizzie is driving.
Some of our fellow tasters.
My present again.
We got to dip the barrel and bottle this sample ourselves.
13 year old Sherry cask Balvenie.
59.6% ABV, need to remember to add water or Ice!
Walking in the woods near our house in Boat of Gatten
We lost the path a bit but found Loch Vaa
We loved the house we rented but wouldn’t it have been great to stay here?
On our quest for a mysterious waterfall with no name
We lost the path a lot on this day and ended up in streams instead!
Lizzie ponders how to get across. There is a distinct lack of bridges or fords over streams in this area.
It’s pretty here but we’ve come too far, time to backtrack and look for the right path.
Not so much a path as a sea of heather and bracken!
Finally a waterfall!
I’m fascinated by photographing moving water so you might want to fast forward!
This is where we eventually ended up crossing the stream. Our walk guide book said there was a bridge but we went quite a long way further without finding one before doubling back to here.
Finally a path, maybe it leads back to the car?
Another beautiful Loch within walking distance of our house, Loch Mallachie
It was very windy here!
Loch Garten, unsurprisingly not far from Boat of Garten.
Nature reserve we stumbled across on our way back.
Can you see the ninja?
The river Spey runs right past Boat of Garten.
The Falls of Foyers. The only downside to a dry week is that these falls were very unimpressive.
In the bottom left you can see how high the water gets and the size of flotsam that is carried over the falls.
Close-up of the debris that collects in the pool at the bottom of the falls.
Lizzie and I compete at fire building Jenga on our last evening.
Lizzie’s side is built more slowly than mine…
…but possibly with more care.
The crowning touch.
Where there’s smoke…
My side was slow to get going at first but eventually it is blazing nicely.
A few shots of the great house to finish. This is the enormous hallway area. Most other holiday let houses would make at least 2 more bedrooms out of this space!
The fireplace in the living room is actually in the original rear wall of the house.
That’s also the original outside wall of the house.
This is the bedroom we used. There are 2 others too but they were too small to take a decent picture of!
After our last day in Boat of Garten we headed back home again via Durham. This time we at least got a chance to wander around this beautiful city but were too tired to do any more than that. We stayed the night in a service station Days Inn which was exactly as luxurious as you would expect and headed home the following morning.