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Published: April 9th 2015
The Cairngorms mountains viewed from the Green Lake walk.
I got up early again and went back to Urquhart Castle for the sunrise, this time hopefully without the mist. I was in luck and there was a stunning sunrise, but I'm not sure which will make the better photographs - although I'm open to views?
Our plan today was to visit the Cairngorms National Park, just to the south of Inverness. This was surprisingly quick to get to given that it is on the main road between Inverness and Perth. We were not quite sure what to do so we went to the village of Aviemore and spoke to a really helpful guy in the tourist information office and he recommended some walks to do.
His recommendations were spot on. First we drove to Loch Morlich and walked to a smaller loch which is just referred to as the Green Lake for obvious reasons. It was a nice gentle walk up to the loch, but the route we chose to go back was a lot harder. Despite being higher than where we started, most of the first half of the route back was actually steeply uphill, before eventually heading back down. It was a great walk however and
The small lake at the top of walk from Loch Morlich.
we were rewarded with some fantastic views of the nearby Cairngorms mountains.
Next we headed to the mountains themselves where, similarly to the gondolas in the Nevis Range, a funicular railway takes you up to the ski slops high in the mountains. For anyone who doesn't know (which included me), a funicular railway is where there are two trains pulled up and down by cable and balance each other out to minimise the energy needed. If you are not skiing (or I suppose snowboarding) then you are not allowed very far from the top of the railway. Walking is strictly controlled to minimise the damage to the environment. It was absolutely freezing up there; a really surprising difference from the base of the railway. The height difference is 400m, with the railway itself being about 2km long.
Unsurprisingly, many of the ski-runs are closed as most of the snow has now gone.
The view from the top was really interesting. In one direction it looked like the Yosemite and the Canadian Rockies; In another direction it looked like the English Chiltern Hills; and in another direction it looked like you would expect Scotland to look, with the
Loch en Eilein
The castle in the middle of Loch en Eilein.
traditional brown heather.
The other walk that had been recommended by our friendly man in the information office was around Loch en Eilein. This was a very gentle walk, although at times we could not see the loch itself as the path was some distance away from it. There are there ruins of a little castle on an island in the middle of the loch, which is very photogenic.
There is a stone circle in Aviemore. We had planned to go back and see it, but when we saw some pictures of it, we decided not to bother. I am very probably doing it a disservice, however it looked like something that some teenagers may have thrown together when they were board.
Given that the election is not far away, there were a lot of SNP and Liberal posters everywhere. In Aviemore we actually saw some UKIP posters for the first time. Seriously, is anyone in Scotland actually going to vote for UKIP?
We had hoped to see some highland cattle, which feature heavily in many of the postcards and books of the Cairngoms. We were completely out of luck however.
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