Scotland Tour: Loch Ness, Foyers, Urquhart Castle and Nairn

Our first full day in Scotland, early April 2019. We spend the morning in Aviemore, enjoying a hearty cooked breakfast of veggie sausages, mushrooms and potato scones before browsing the outdoor pursuits stores. With newly purchased OS maps of the North West Coastal footpaths and a lovely waterproof map holder for all-weather hiking, we are back on the road.

Ever since our decision to tour Scotland we have spent years collecting guide books and more recently we have acquired “Black’s Guide to Scotland: Picturesque Tourist Guide 1840“, a romanticised traveller’s view of the Highlands, which we have brought along with us to see how modern day Scotland compares.  The drawing of Foyers Falls below is my favourite in the book, and I can barely believe we will finally be there today.

The landscape drastically changes as we travel downwards from the high Cairngorms, from rugged mountains to ethereal forests – startling white bark and bare winter branches, shrouded by dense fog.

From the rush of Foyer’s Falls, and a glimpse through the trees of the old bridge …

… the water calmly flows into Loch Ness.  The trees are on the verge of spring, with just the faintest hint of new greens and reds.

Our journey then takes us back towards the peaks that shadow Loch Ness and the gently winding roads of Whitebridge.  We can see wisps of smoke in the hills.

Later in our travels, on the north west coast, these heather burnings are to become a very familiar sight, but this is our first glimpse. 

We complete the southern circuit at Fort Augustus, then drive along the northern shore of Loch Ness. 

The northern side is carpeted in evergreens and views of the Loch come in sudden bursts as we weave around corners.  The road is closer to the water, and there is a real sense of the looming height of the vast crags around us.

We make a stop at Castle Urquhart.  Our (profoundly autistic) third son had picked out a new rucksack at Aviemore and proudly sported it for the very first time as we took a scenic walk.  It has a little loop for his safety reign, but in uncrowded, quiet places such as here, we can tuck it away and he feels very grown up.

At the perfect moment, the clouds that have been lurking above all day part and the sun shines down.  We stand at the viewing point and gaze out at the stunning blue layers of the panoramic before us.  Loch Ness.  Today is my birthday too, what better place to be?

There is still an hour before sunset when we head off eastwards towards Inverness.  I have my little book open again, as we follow the route towards the Moray Firth.

We want the children to see the coast from the East, West and North during this trip, so we finish the day at Nairn, just in time for dusk.  It is so much colder here, and our little baby daughter is just a tiny pair of eyes peeking up at me out of the triple wrapped bundle of her baby carrier.  She has never experienced these kinds of coastal breezes before and is utterly bewildered.  Her four older brothers enjoy searching out ships on the horizon.

We watch the sun setting.  A “red sky at night” is wonderful news, as we leave for remote areas tomorrow and are hoping for spectacular views along the journey up to Scourie.

24 Comments

  1. I visited Inverness with my mum a few years ago, if you have the time I’d recommend a visit to Leakey’s bookshop. I loved exploring the sprawling ruins of Urquhart Castle and learning a bit about Nessie too. ๐Ÿ˜Š Happy birthday!

    1. Hello ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so late in my posts, which I write in a complete jumble of dates, that my birthday is almost back round again – but thank you very much ๐Ÿฅณ Iโ€™ve written Leakyโ€™s in my travel notes (I really like recommendations!) because I really am hoping we can spend longer in Inverness when we go back – Iโ€™d love to walk through the city.

  2. Loved my walk again here Mrs TP.. ๐Ÿ™‚ and have gained a lot more knowledge too from your narration and those inserts of chapters from the guide book.. And you have a wonderful family.. I was the eldest of five.. ๐Ÿ™‚ and have gained a little more understanding now why your youngest Son enjoys splashing about in water so much.. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I could almost feel that cool breeze that affected your baby daughter… Kudos to you for carrying her along your hike…
    Have a wonderful rest of the week..
    Take care.. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hello Sue ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so pleased you enjoyed the post. I carry my daughter because I cannot bear to use a pushchair and be trapped on the tarmac or foiled by stairs ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Iโ€™ve got a proper hiking carrier for her to go on my back now – much easier as I can see my feet!

    1. Thanks Derrick … due to the completely jumbled manner of my posting itโ€™s no longer my birthday but thank you very much ๐Ÿฅณ

      Re the children – I hope so! I started up the website so they could look at all of their adventures together โ˜บ๏ธ

  3. My husband and I were just talking a couple days ago about making sure we go to the Falls on our upcoming trip. Last year, we drove the whole perimeter of Loch Ness but never went to see them. I’m actually hoping for a day of heavy rain while we’re there so the falls will be bigger!

    1. We found a little carpark just halfway down to the shore, and a lovely wooded footpath leading to the falls – I really would like to go back and do the full walk! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I would love to visit Scotland one day. Thanks for sharing your experience and photos. How perfect that you could be there for your birthday!

    1. Thank you Christie ๐Ÿ™‚ We loved it so much that we went back in the autumn, the moment we had a gap in work, and got there just in time for the leaves turning. Iโ€™d go back again in a heartbeat ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. What a beautiful view of the castle ruins. I have a lovely view from 1976 but mine doesn’t have your soft cool light.

    (I still don’t receive an email notifying me of your new posts and still can’t click on your like button, but am following you on Facebook, so I might be able to LIKE your images there).

    1. We were very lucky with the light that day! ๐Ÿ™‚ … I know a lot of people, myself included, cannot follow or like posts outside of the WP reader … thanks so much for letting me know, I’ll make sure any new posts get a link on Facebook & Twitter – I’m active on Instagram and forget to log into the others!

      1. What I find disappointing is that I can’t LIKE older posts. I read quite a few of yours and enjoyed them very much. This inability doesn’t include every WordPress blog though. I have 6 (that I’ve written down) so far that I can like or comment freely. Weird that it only started since around Christmas too. I wondered if WordPress had done a software update around that time and forgot to include people like me who use ’email notifications of new posts’, not the Reader.

        1. Itโ€™s the same for me – I only use reader now because my email wonโ€™t work. I think youโ€™re right about the software update.

          Itโ€™s really nice to hear you read earlier posts and enjoyed them! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you ๐ŸŒฟ

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