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Through the Highlands

Durch die Highlands
Durch die Highlands
Through the Highlands

The plan for today is to cruise through the Highlands and discover some beautiful corners of this unique landscape. After yesterday’s unusually beautiful weather during our visit to the Royal Mile and some other beautiful corners of Edinburgh, we are naturally hoping for the same on today’s journey through the Highlands.

But even during the night, we heard noises that went far beyond the lapping of the water in which the boat floats. In fact, it was clearly splashing on the tin roof from above. And when we get up this morning, the water is already standing where we were playing cards yesterday. So breakfast is moved inside the boat.

But even after washing up, giving the boat a cursory clean and packing our seven things, the weather hasn’t improved one bit. So we try to reach our car as dry as possible, but of course we still get dripping wet. No matter! Now it’s off to the north through the Highlands!

The rain and fog are so thick that we see almost nothing of the first highlight of the journey. The bridges over the Firth of Forth can only be glimpsed, even the tops of the pillars of this cable-stayed bridge are hidden in the mist. Perhaps we’ll see more in a week’s time when we return to Edinburgh.

We also save ourselves a good stretch of country road and stay on the motorway until Perth, contrary to our plans, because it continues to pour like buckets. At least the visibility is slowly clearing despite the rain and we get a faint idea of the beauty of the landscape.

And because we’re not made of sugar, we brave the torrents from above and take a closer look at the torrents of the Reekie Lynn waterfall. We parked at a beautiful stone bridge and walked downhill along the river for about 200 metres. There, the River Isla plunges into a gorge a good 50 metres deep. We have to be careful not to fall after it because the ground is quite slippery due to the constant rain.

The next waypoint is Braemar, the site of Scotland’s most famous Highland Games. The royals even come here regularly, presumably because their Scottish residence, Belmoral Castle, is only a kilometre downstream and it’s royally easy to get there.

The road along the River Dee towards Belmoral Castle runs romantically through a wonderful, sparse deciduous forest. The ground is covered in ferns and, as in a fairy tale, there are huge stones covered in moss in between. At some point, we hope, the fairy will appear and immediately fulfil our wish for sun and warmth.

But of course, as in real life, nothing comes of it and we leave the fairytale forest shortly before Belmoral and turn off onto the A939, the Old Military Road. The next highlight, the Ringing Stone, is not worth a visit due to heavy rain and we drive straight on to the A939, which takes us to the Lecht Ski Centre after a few kilometres.

Unfortunately, the café there is closed. So we stop at a small pub in Tomintoul, a small town on the border between Speyside and the Cairngorms, to grab a bite to eat.

The remaining few kilometres are spent on the famous left-hand side of the seat and we arrive at the hotel of the same name in Nethybridge after an extremely varied scenic drive through the Highlands, or rather through the Cairngorms. It’s an ancient building that looks like one of Scotland’s castles when photographed from the park.

However, as you get closer to the building, you notice clear evidence of a heavy renovation backlog at almost every corner. Somehow, the hotel has a ramshackle charm, but on the other hand, it would certainly provide all the craftsmen in the neighbourhood with more than a year’s work.

Never mind. Dinner, like breakfast, is not really bad and now let’s see what the beds are like. So good night!

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