Thursday, July 05, 2012

Scotland Day 5 - Cairngorms

Out of the places we stayed, The Boat Hotel was my favorite. The dark wood-paneled bar with big squashy sofas was a delightful place to have a glass of wine (or a whisky) after dinner, and it was ideally located for walking and taking a trip on a steam railway. The breakfasts were also top notch - we tried Arbroath smokies and Scottish smoked salmon, and you could order warm croissants.

In the morning we walked to Loch Garten and the osprey centre (ospreys disappeared from Scotland for a while but when they returned, the first pair were spotted here).

Alone, again

Then we hopped on the Strathspey Steam Railway for a very slow but peaceful journey.

Choo choo!

In the afternoon, A and his mom dashed off to Glenfarclas for another whisky distillery tour, while my parents and I did almost all of the walks on this map. We saw a hell of a lot of sheep, and one bunny.

One of what seemed like a million sheep

All that hiking (or in A's case, drinking) meant that we were up for a hearty dinner. We were looking for something a little less fancy that our previous dinners, and The Craig Bar (Woodside Avenue Grantown-on-Spey, Highland PH26 3JN) seemed like just the right thing. What really sealed the deal was the note on their website that while they served pies of all ilks, they were also happy for people to bring in food from the local Chinese takeaway. They even give you plates and cutlery for it so you can dine in style! My parents are very easy to accommodate, but they really miss Chinese food after a few days, so this seemed perfect. They would go order Chinese, while A, A's mom and me would have pies and chips. And so it was.

Mmm, pie.

Side note - the Chinese takeaway, Chinatown (47 High Street, Grantown-On-Spey PH26) was actually good - Yangzhou fried rice, chow mein, and roast duck were prepared quickly and made my parents go completely silent as they ate (seeing my dad clear two enormous plates made me realise how much they were craving Chinese food).

Again, everyone was so full after dinner that we stopped in Nethy Bridge for a little walk (and to see the bridge for which it is named). 

A Thomas Telford bridge (which was exciting until we saw them everywhere)
And another evening was capped off in the bar of The Boat Hotel.

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