When I was planning to visit Scotland for my Christmas and New Year break a lot of people told me that it is going to be cold. I was like “Duh” I didn’t know that at all!!! Yeah I decided to go in winters because I heard that despite the long darkness and chilly days, it is a great time to visit Scotland’s mountains, lochs, glens – and cities. Winter is when the country’s crisp, frost-dusted landscapes are totally atmospheric and also with less tourists.
“Beloved Scotland of the winter and the hills! ‘Tis little that thou’lt get from them, but they will make thee hard and brave!” – Neil Munro
We decided to start from Edinburgh and head towards up north to the highlands visiting Loch Ness, Isle of Skye on the way. The scenic country has thousands of lochs, misty hills and mountains, a famous sea monster and enough clan stories to keep you entertained. I joined a 3-day trip with Haggis adventures that took me to Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Glencoe and many other places in the Scottish Highlands.
Warming up the day before at Edinburgh, I found the city quite attractive. The city was just getting up from all the Christmas party and getting ready for the Hogmanay (More about which I will talk in the Edinburgh blog separately). The UNESCO World Heritage Old Town with its cobbled streets, Gothic buildings and narrow alleyways along with being a ghostly town too makes everything much more interesting. The Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s historic Old Town is packed with things to see and do and should not be missed along with the Edinburgh Castle.
We left early morning and moved towards the Cairngorms National Park, in the Scottish Highlands via a small town of Dunkeld. Dunkeld is known for its picturesque castle which features the tomb of the notorious ‘Wolf of Badenoch’ and excellent views of Thomas Telford’s Dunkeld Bridge on the river Tay.
Moving from there we headed to Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park. It’s known for its close proximity to the secluded lochs, ancient forest, mountain trails and ski runs of the surrounding parkland.
This was our base for Loch Morlich– Scotland’s only fresh water loch. And what I saw was mesmerizing. Surrounded by forests and fringed by beaches, with the stunning backdrop of the snow-clad peaks of the northern Cairngorms, Loch Morlich was like a dream. The circuit of the loch is a very popular walk. Since I was here in winters, couldn’t enjoy the snow-laden beachside, but can imagine how beautiful it will be in summers.
No Scotland trip can be complete without experiencing the famous Scottish whiskey and visiting the distillery. On our way from Aviemore we stopped at the famous Tomatin distillery. Tomatin distillery is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery in the village of Tomatin. Its whisky is classified as being from the Highland region, as it is 25 minutes south of Inverness. Our friendly guide took us through the whole production process, from mashing and distilling to maturation. Following the tour you will return to the Visitor Centre where you will be offered the opportunity to sample different expressions of Tomatin.
Our base for the 3 day trip was at Morags Lodge at Fort Augustus. Situated on the most southern tip of Loch Ness on the Great Glen Way, this historic and scenic hamlet is a popular tourist destination to visit Loch Ness. We stayed at Morag’s lodge spending the night listening to some Scottish folk and tasting some local ales getting ready for the next day.
This blog is a part of a 3 part Scotland Road trip series. You can read the second tart here- Scotland Road Trip 2- Isle of Skye, Eileen Donan Castle and Around