When we woke up this morning we were relieved to see that it had finally stopped raining! Today we would be leaving Dundee behind and driving towards our final destination of Culloden, near Inverness. In total the journey would be around 137 miles and we were hoping that it was going to be a scenic one, taking us through part of the Cairngorms National Park.
The first part of the journey wasn't terribly exciting, as we left Dundee behind us and headed in the direction of Perth. But from there things began to look more scenic. We had planned to make our first stop in Pitlochry and it wasn't long before we were driving alongside the river Tummel, which flows through the town.
We found a place to park outside the town's tourist information office and set off to explore.
It seemed like a pretty town, with lots of large hotels and guesthouses.
Having consulted an information board, we began following signs towards a nearby dam. The signs led us to a bridge across the river Tummel.
It was a rather strange bridge, which shook slightly as we walked across it. From the middle of the bridge, we could see how large the river is. There was definitely plenty of water in it after all yesterday's rain!
In the opposite direction we could also just make out the dam in the distance.
The bank on the far side of the river was lined with pretty little cottages.
There were lots of beautiful flowers.
Once we reached the dam we climbed up a staircase and got our first view of Loch Faskally.
This is an artificial lake which was created in 1947 when the river was dammed.
You wouldn't know it was artificial to look at it, though.
We followed a trail along the side of the lake.
When we got to the far end, a little footbridge took us back across the river.
As you can see from the photos, it was cloudy on this walk but after the persistent rain yesterday it was just great to be able to go for a walk and not get soaked
Once we'd crossed the bridge, we came to a little settlement where there were tonnes of ducks
From there we had a slightly rushed walk back into Pitlochry, in an attempt to get back to the car park before our parking expired.
We just about made it and soon we were back in the car again, driving towards our second stop of Aviemore.
It was lunchtime when we arrived, so we parked the car and set off to find somewhere to get food.
We soon found this nice pub, where we were able to sit outside...
...and I had one of the nicest macaroni cheeses I've had in ages The bill came to much less than we were expecting which was slightly confusing, until we realised we'd had an "Eat out to help out" discount applied.
After lunch we had a stroll along the main street of the town.
We were heading towards a nature reserve just on the outskirts.
It didn't take long to find it, and soon we were strolling through the woods.
The first attraction marked on the map was a lake, but when we found it it looked more like a puddle
There was a marked trail around the edge of the water but it didn't look like it would be worth the effort. Instead, we started following a path which led slightly upwards. Soon we had views back down towards the town.
As we climbed higher, we also began to get views of the Cairngorm mountains.
The path continued to lead uphill...
...and the views got even better
At this point the path started to get steeper and we had to make a decision about whether we wanted to continue to the signposted viewpoint. It wasn't clear how much more uphill there was going to be, but we'd come far enough by this stage that I thought it would be a shame to turn around without making it to the top.
We carried on and the path levelled off a bit for a while, leading us over some flatter ground.
There was so much beautiful heather
The flatness of the path was short-lived and we were soon climbing higher again.
The last part of the route was very steep indeed!
Finally we made it to the viewpoint at the top
The views were definitely worth the climb We could see down towards Aviemore and out towards the Cairngorm National Park.
We enjoyed the scenery for a while...
...and then it was time to start thinking about heading back down.
There were some great views on the way down too.
Almost as good as the views at Bridge of Orchy
When we got to the bottom of the path we found a lake. It looked larger than the one we'd passed on the way up.
It turned out to be a completely different one and we passed the small one again a bit later.
I think the viewpoint we'd been to was somewhere up there on the hill above us.
By the time we got back to the centre of town, where we'd been looked rather high. We felt justified in being a bit tired!
Luckily all we had to do now was find the car and drive the remaining 30 miles to Culloden. Even the car park in Aviemore was quite scenic!
We found our accommodation in Culloden without any difficulties and were able to retrieve the keys from a keysafe. We've got a spacious living/dining area...
...plus a cosy little bedroom.
And outside the front door we have a view of sheep!
It's a bit in the middle of nowhere, but the phone and internet signals both seem good. And tomorrow looks like it's going to be a rain-free day