It already seems so long ago doesn’t it?!!
The kids are back at school, nights are drawing in and mornings have a cool chill that suddenly appeared overnight… yes it’s September and summer is soon to be a fleeting memory.
We’ve been pretty indulgent this summer (by usual standards!), taking quite a bit of time off and making the most of what little bit of sunshine we’ve seen – in between the thunderstorms! But hey – why not? Isn’t that the beauty of being self-employed… you can work how and when you choose.
Instead of leaping from one festival/market/show to the next we’ve actually had lots of free time and two short breaks away this summer… So I thought I’d share a few of the interesting places we’ve found on our travels.
First off we spent a few nights in Aviemore, but on the way up we stopped near Pitlochry in search of an abandoned castle that Dave had come across online. Dunalistair Castle is a ruined baronial mansion which dates back to the 19th century. It has been left in a pretty bad state of repair in the middle of a private estate – it’s not signposted and if we hadn’t been actively looking for it, would be unlikely to be found. There’s no roof and much of the interior walls have collapsed but the outer shell retains original stone carvings and balustrades. It was kind of eerie… and yet heartbreaking at the same time to see such beautiful architecture just left to crumble away.
I’ve since learnt that it was occupied until 1952 but the reasons for abandonment seem unclear… the lead roof being stolen in the sixties left the exposed interiors vulnerable to decay and I’m guessing the cost of repairs soon became too much. It looks a bit sorry for itself now but you can imagine it was quite something in its day! Anyone interested in checking out this remarkable piece of hidden history should note that the access track is privately owned however public footpaths pass through from the main road (B846).
A few other points of interest from our Scotland trip include ‘The Queen’s View’ – incredible scenery overlooking Loch Tummel and a nice coffee shop too; The Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay is free entry with coast and countryside to explore – we didn’t see any dolphins but did spot some otters in the river; Back in Aviemore there’s the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre – we were a little short on time so just visited the paddocks and exhibition, where I discovered just how little I knew about reindeer… it was fascinating! But for those with a few hours to spare you can trek up the mountains to feed and interact with the full reindeer herd.
The campsite we stayed at I wouldn’t recommend, however it backed onto Loch Morlich beach… yes a loch with a beach! We were puzzled too but it really is a sandy beach and stunningly beautiful. The first evening there we wandered from woodland trees out onto the shoreline and the view was absolutely breathtaking. My son said “it’s like a Bob Ross painting” and he wasn’t wrong! The following night we headed down a bit earlier and made a fire while we watched the sunset… soon followed by bats feasting on swarms of flies driven upwards from the fire. The peace and tranquility of that night is a memory that will last me a long time.
Until next time….