Scottish Highlands: so loch-y (lucky) to visit this place for the third time

You can never visit the same place twice. Each time, it’s a different story. By the very act of coming back, you wipe out what came before.”

— Maureen Johnson ( The last little blue envelope)
Winter scene in Cairngorm National Park

Scotland is one of those countries that I will never get tired of visiting countless of times especially in the Highlands. Every time we visit this place the scenery always looks different and gorgeous no matter what the season, even those rainy days when the horizon cast a dreary shade of grey and dense clouds; for me this overcast sky just adds more drama to this beautiful landscape.

Amazing waterfalls we saw at Glencoe Mountain

For nature lovers it would be a dream destination to go since most parts of Scotland still looks wild and unspoiled; a long 10 hours’ drive away from the hustle and bustle streets of London. The snow-capped mountains and lush hills in the summer time look dreamy from a distance as it towers over calm lochs and quiet glen. I remembered the first time we drove across Cairngorm National Park and I took a first glimpse of Scotland’s rugged beauty, I recalled telling the children at the backseat that I only needed one more stop to take photos but it turned out that every 15 minutes we had to pull over because the scenery was just so captivating to miss! We saw few hikers on the way as we reached Glencoe mountains and I always wonder how wonderful would it be to be out there with them breathing in this beautiful landscape.

Why is that my heart stirs
When I hear a bagpipes play?

The first time my family and I visited Scotland was during the months of August which is a summer time, I thought we would be doing loads of walking in nature, a relaxing boat ride in the lakes, feeding the ducks, kids running around in the wide open space and evening spent outside the tent chatting or silently gazing up the glittering sky. But it turned out it was raining most of the time we were there; we still got the opportunity to do lots of walking but it was in a puddled country lane with a dirty hiking boots. But I still considered that time spent still an awesome adventure although most nights instead of a clear sky I remembered the soothing sound of the pattering rain outside our tent that easily put us to sleep, totally resetting the body clock then waking up feeling restored and fresh in the morning. We hardly do any exciting outdoor activities as we had planned for the duration of our stay because of the rain but we decided instead to make the most of our stay by visiting castles (and there are plenty in Scotland) and museums in Inverness.

The famous Glenfinnan Viaduct and steam train ( otherwise known as Harry Potter Bridge)

Part of the reason why we visited Scotland was to see the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The viaduct overlooks the Glenfinnan monument and the waters of Loch Shiel. The viaduct looks really stunning against the backdrop of the mountains and lake especially if you wait for the passing of the steam train (I suggest you should checked online the exact schedule when the train pass this viaduct). It was so magical the first time I heard the puffing sound as steam is blown through the stack, the hissing noise of the air pump, and the delightful sounds of the wheels clanking on tracks and that beautiful stunning surrounding of the Scottish Highlands. And that moment I felt being transported to one of the scene in the Harry Potter movies. (The place is otherwise known as the Harry Potter Bridge).

The road leading to Glenshee ski resort

And just recently, we visited this amazing place once again last February so that we can take the children skiing in the mountains. This time the weather was wonderful and I thought we finally got it right. The sky was clear and sunlight cast over the snowy hills. Scotland is so different in winter as most of the mountains were covered in snow. I thought I would always adore the dramatic overcast sky of Scotland in the summertime against the rugged mountains and ruined castles but the place looks just as stunning in winter.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
— (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)

The children were as excited as we drove through the quiet road and saw fresh flurries of snow gently falling on the front car window. My youngest stared musingly outside mesmerised by the vast whiteness of the open space as more fresh snows falls on the ground, covering the bare trees and houses in thick blanket of white, even the red telephone box by the side of the road is blanketed in white, the whole place transformed into a winter wonderland.

Beaver Pond ( the very
scenic pond near our accomodation at Bamff Ecotourism)

That morning we headed into Glenshee ski centre which is located near Braemar, one of the ski resorts in Scotland. The three of us don’t have any ski experience at all bar my husband who’s been skiing for years. The place got an amazing slopes catered for different skiing abilities, for the more advance skiers or novices and beginners like us. We rent our ski equipment at the resort and prior to hitting the slope we decided to book for a couple of hours ski lessons with the ski instructor where the adults and children were having a separate lessons.

Lone shelter near Glenshee

After that exhausting morning we decided to have a short break and had our lunch in the restaurant which is only a short distance walk from the chairlift. Since it was a busy time we had to wait in the queue to order our food and then wait for other diner to finish so we can have a table, luckily though we don’t have to wait that long.

Glenshee ski resort

The rest of the afternoon were spent practicing and honing our newfound skills on the nursery slope; my oldest son who is very sporty was quick to grip with skiing and is more keen than the rest of us; but the youngest was a bit reluctant on the slope and needed more encouragement and support. He was more than happy and contented watching the snowboarders and skiers showcasing their skills on the slope. One good thing about this resort is that on a nice perfect day one can enjoy the stunning mountain views across Cairngorms National Park.

“Wherever I wander,
Wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands,
Forever I love.”

— Robert Burns

It’s funny though that before I travelled to Scotland I use to have this very narrow view about travels such as, I don’t want to visit the same place twice. I would rather spend more time exploring another country and discover different culture. But Scotland completely transforms me; the more I visit this place the more I want to uncover this place other hidden gems, exploring the other islands and coastal villages in a slow and gentle pace, stopping as frequently as I could with a camera on my hand, breathing in the surrounding beauty, marvelling the night sky and maybe one day I will be lucky to finally experience the Northern Lights dancing in the sky.

Sincerely,

The Gallivanting Family x