And whilst we were looking we fell in love…….with the Scottish Highlands!
I would describe my recent trip to the Scottish Highlands as probably the icing on the cake of all the places I have visited in the past two years! Hand on my heart I have never felt so connected to a place ever before!
I have always wanted to visit Scotland so I was eager for the day to arrive that we headed off to Gatwick Airport, I knew that the Scottish Highlands were renowned for being beautiful but I also had the idea of it being remote, cold, and somewhat haunting! I was not disappointed, however the remoteness turned out to be peace and tranquility and it wasn’t as cold as I had anticipated but there was definitely a kind of haunting feel at times, particularly at Loch Ness!
This beautiful Loch stretches for 23 miles and as we drove from the airport to the cottage that we had rented for a few days, the waters of Loch Ness beckoned to us along the roadside of this majestic place and I felt a rush of joy, I knew instantly that the next few days were going to stay with me forever!
After stopping along the way for a few must have selfies we arrived at our cottage which was located in a small village called Foyers, a little tired from travelling we were keen to see what would be our home for the next few days and although we had seen photos on the website nothing prepared us for what we were greeted with, it was absolutely beautiful and I can honestly say we were taken aback by it, https://www.facebook.com/foyersbolthole/
The Bolt Hole as it was named was perfect!
Having only been here for a couple of hours we already felt like we belonged here!
Not wanting to waste a single second of the time we would spend here we headed out to get our bearings and a feel for our surroundings! As with most villages there wasn’t a huge amount to see especially in the dark, however we did quickly stumble upon the local watering hole The Foyers House Hotel, https://www.facebook.com/Foyers-House-Hotel-297718363764304/ after a very warm welcome from the landlord and discovering that this place is famous for their Whisky Wall we thought it would be rude not to sample a tipple or two! Well just the one actually! Ever heard the saying “It’ll put hairs on your chest”? Well this stuff could probably put hairs on places you never knew you had it was that strong, it certainly made me feel all warm and fuzzy put it that way! So with an early start planned for the morning we decided now was a good time to settle down for the evening and we made our way back to the cottage!
Day one of Hiking, The Falls of Foyers!
The 7am alarm wasn’t welcomed quite as much as the cooked breakfast but we wanted to make the most of the day!
Within 5 minutes walking distance from the Bolt Hole, a beautiful woodland was hiding a secret waiting to be discovered and as we headed down the track the sound of the waterfall became louder!
Now whilst this picture doesn’t quite do it justice it really was quite stunning and as the water cascaded down over the rocks to join the meandering river below we took a few moments to take in the amazing views around us! It was just breath-taking!!
We moved on and further down through the woodland until we came to the edge of Loch Ness, with the water gently lapping at the pebbles on the stony beach, I began to fall in love with this beautiful place!
Shortly after we headed back up through the woodland to continue our hike and explore more of our surroundings. 7 miles later the afternoon was approaching fast so we decided to head back to The Bolt Hole, pick up the car and head to the other side of the Loch for a visit to Urqhart castle! https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/urquhart-castle/ Boldly perched upon the Loch side this enchanting castle offers you a step back in time and a real feel of Scottish history!
My love of all things mythical made our final stop of the day to The Loch Ness Exhibition Centre and a look into the legend of the “Loch Ness Monster” an absolute must!
So is there really such a beast at the bottom of the Loch?? Now that would be telling!!!
Our first day in the Highlands had been full of adventure but it was time to get some rest and the open fire and at The Bolt Hole was calling!
Day two of hiking!
Not quite such early start today and the weather wasn’t looking that great, not to be deterred however, we got ready and made our way to a village called Dores which was the starting point for today’s hike. We set off from the The Dores Inn and headed across the countryside into the woodlands that ran parallel to the southern shoreline of the Loch, this trail would lead us to Aldourie Castle the only habitable castle on Loch Ness, which also somewhat resembles something from a Disney film as a friend of mine pointed out, complete with a fairy-tale rainbow!
This walk circled back through the woodlands and eventually we had returned to the Lochside, by this point the weather had become windy and it was trying to rain, but, the feeling I had as I sat and looked out onto the water was of complete calm and peace, the connection I felt with this place was so strong at that moment it was quite surreal! I knew that we would have return here!
Day Three our final day of hiking!
The 6.30 alarm signified our last day of hiking and although I was excited to be heading to Ben Nevis I couldn’t ignore the fact that we would be going home tomorrow, so not to allow those thoughts and feelings of sadness spoil our day we were determined to make this one count!
The early start was due to the fact we had an hour’s drive ahead of us before we would be confronted with our biggest challenge of the whole trip, having already covered around 20 miles of hiking Ben Nevis was to be the highlight of the last few days!
My previous post gives a more detailed account of this part of our trip!
The rest of the day was spent taking in the amazing views close to the Cairngorms National Park, no words can describe how beautiful it was and that evening as we enjoyed the cosy fire at The Bolt Hole for the last time we raised a glass to the Scottish Highlands!
And booked to return in September!