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UK Tourist & Leisure Attractions - Highlands

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

Scottish Highland Holiday, Cairn Gorm & Loch Ness July 2004 - page 2

Continuing our Scottish holiday in the Highlands we travelled to the heart of the Cairngorms National Park and took a ride on the Cairn Gorm Mountain Railway, had lunch in the Ptarmigan Restaurant on top of the mountain, and visited Drumnadrochit to find Scotland's Loch Ness Monster with an exciting cruise on the Loch for a spot of Nessie spotting.
This is page two of three.
Scottish Highlands 1 | Scottish Highlands 2 | Scottish Highlands 3

Relaxing after a hard day touring in Scotland
This shot shows us relaxing in the comfortable conservatory back at the holiday cottage in Piperhill after another exciting day of Highland touring.  Well, Belinda relaxed while Mike checked the brochures to plan our next day's tourist activities!

Trying to light the log burning stove
Another task that seemed to fall to Mike was to get the wee log burning fire going.  Even in mid-summer we found the evenings chilly in the Scottish Highlands, maybe because us southerners are used to warmer climes!  Ock aye the noo.  The following...

Cairn Gorm Mountain visitor area in the Scottish Highlands
...day in Scotland we visited the Cairn Gorm Mountain and took a breathtaking ride on the funicular railway to the top.  There's a huge car park here, no doubt to cater for all the sporty winter skiers.

Cairngorm Mountains picturesque scene with stream
Now how's this for a picturesque Cairngorm Mountain scene?  We suspect that little stream becomes a raging torrent during the Scottish winter snow melt though.  Also check out our Highland video clips.

A Cairn Gorm funicular railway train going up the mountain
A Cairn Gorm Mountain Railway car is arrowed (Belinda is not arrowed!) as it rises 462m over 1.8km towards the Top Station, the climatic equivalent of 1,200km towards the Arctic.  As one car rises, the...

Passing point on the Cairn Gorm Mountain Railway
...other descends, just as well there's a wee passing point then!  At the top there's an exhibition all about the Cairngorm Mountains, a viewing area and the Ptarmigan Restaurant (where we had lunch).

Viewing area at the top of Cairn Gorm Mountain in the Highlands
From the Cairn Gorm viewing area we were able to enjoy extensive views of the Highland peaks and glens, several Lochs, the ski lift - and lots of noisy Chinese students taking photos!  Then the mist, cloud and rain moved in.  Ock aye the noo.

Posing for a picture at the Cairn Gorm Top Station
Glen More and Loch Morlich were about to get covered by the mist in the background here on the Cairn Gorm Mountain in the Highlands.  Despite this, it sure was a breathtaking view, but couldn't always be guaranteed in the changeable Cairngorm Mountains.

'Shop at the Top' gift shop on the Cairn Gorm Mountain
No visitor attraction is complete without the inevitable gift shop, this one's called the 'Shop at the Top' on the Cairn Gorm Mountain.  Perhaps predictably, Belinda got lost for ages in there amongst the shoppers!

The Cairn Gorm Funicular at the Base Station
Back at the Base Station a Cairn Gorm Mountain railway car awaited more passengers.  The return trip cost 8 on our visit, please check our UK tourist resources for the Cairn Gorm Mountain website.

Cooking in the Scottish Highland holiday cottage
We like to cook in as well as eat out on our holidays, and after our adventures in the Cairngorm Mountains we knocked up a delicious Spag Bol back in our lovely spacious Scottish Highland cottage in Piperhill.

Enjoying a meal in the holiday cottage in Scotland
One thing we noticed being so far north was that it didn't get dark until after 11.00pm in the Highlands of Scotland, at that time back home in our native Sussex it would've been well dark well sooner.

On the way alongside Loch Ness
Another day and more Highland touring.  After a hearty breakfast for 1.49 at Tescos in Inverness, we headed south alongside Loch Ness to Drumnadrochit to find out about the Loch Ness Monster legend.

Loch Ness Monster model at Drumnadrochit
It's behind you!  In Drumnadrochit we visited the intriguing Loch Ness 2000 attraction (5.95) and learnt all about the amusing monster story, then headed off for a wee cruise on the loch with...

Ready to cruise Loch Ness from Drumnadrochit
...the Original Loch Ness Visitor Centre, which cost 8.  We enjoyed a good commentary all the way from the man driving the boat.  This day was the best weather-wise in Scotland, sunny and warm.

Enjoying the Loch Ness boat trip to spot the monster
With no sign of the monster yet, perhaps Mike's track record as a monster slayer went before him and he (or she) was hiding.  Still, the exquisite Loch Ness Scottish scenery was worth the boat trip alone.

Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland
From the boat we got an excellent view of the scenic Urquhart Castle and heard all about its history from our cruise guide man who had on display a wee blurry photo he took of the Loch Ness Monster!  Erm, yeah, right!  The boat was well equipped with...

Commentary on the Loch Ness tour boat
...underwater cameras, colour sonar, radar and GPS - and even with all that lot we still didn't find The Monster!  Ock aye the noo (again!).
On our final page in the Highlands of Scotland we visit the Strathspey Railway and Cawdor Castle >>>

Also 'up north' we've visited Beamish Open Air Museum. Another mountain: we've ascended Snowdon in North Wales.