(A loch on the Glen Tanar estate)
I got married last October and for our Honeymoon we decided on five days in a little log cabin in the Cairngorms and a week at home in London afterwards. We’d been to the Cairngorms once before and absolutely fell in love with how ridiculously beautiful the place is.
The Cairngorms are a mountain range/National Park in the east highlands of Scotland – a two and a half hour drive north of Edinburgh or an hours drive west of Aberdeen. I am utterly in love with Scotland, it’s a country that feels magical and the Cairngorms are the jewel in the crown.
WHAT WE DID
On Day One we set off for a walk around Loch Kinord, which is a pretty big loch and the walk was around the two hour mark (including getting getting a bit lost).
We saw a couple of Whooper Swans, bunnies and three giant cows that I was so convinced were lions (they were pretty far away). We also bumped into a woman with her two kids, one of whom came straight up to Tom, took his hand and tried to walk off with him! It was the most adorable thing. Tom wasn’t quite sure what to do and froze on the spot!
(Play “spot my husband” in the picture above. We hadn’t seen anyone on our walk for miles but as soon as we started taking these pictures a large family came out of nowhere giving us all the side eye)
(We got matching white converse for the trip because we are the worst)
We visited Braemar where they were in the midst of a fantastic charity knitting event. The local knitting club – the Deeside Knitwits – had knitted decorations for the whole town and the bridges were covered in a rainbow assortment of bunting and caterpillars. There’s not much to do in Braemar but this was a really special, cheery addition to a wander around.
(The spectacular view on the road between Braemar and the Linn of Dee)
From Braemar we went on to the Linn of Dee, which is a beautiful spot where the River Dee rushes through a narrow channel into rock pools below and then into Braemar. The water here is crystal clear and calm as soon as it’s passed through the rocks; it’s a very serene place and home to lots of red squirrels.
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whisky is barely enough.” – Mark Twain
No visit to Scotland is complete without a trip to a Whisky Distillery. We went for a tour of the Royal Lochnagar Distillery in Ballater. It’s right next door to Balmoral Castle and Queen Victoria once visited (hence the Royal moniker).
The sheep in the field next door are a golden whisky colour and the tour guide joked that that’s because the field is sprinkled with a little of their whisky each night.
It was my 30th Birthday on the Saturday and we went for an early morning long walk through the Glen Tanar estate. We went here on our last visit and got to see a pair of hunting Golden Eagles and we were lucky enough to see one again this time – day made!
We set off at about 10am and it wasn’t until an hour into the walk before we saw another person!
NOW FOR THE FOOD
(The sunset over the River Dee from outside The Boat Inn)
We returned to The Boat Inn in Aboyne, a pub we visited and loved on our last trip and it was just as lovely and welcoming as we remembered it. We stopped in a couple of times for a bowl of chips and some fizzy pop.
You’ll find it pretty hard to eat out for every meal as a vegan in the Cairngorms, other than the odd bowl of chips here and there.
HOW TO EAT VEGAN IN THE CAIRNGORMS
We made use of the kitchen in our cabin and cooked every night, we made peanut butter sandwiches and bought bananas to take with us on walks. We also brought a massive bag of vegan chocolates/energy bars up with us from London to keep our snacking levels up.
You’re never very far away from a Co-Op supermarket in Scotland and we visited each one and bought them out of every Mexican food item they had!