Ballater to Gordons Bay: Sunday May 6

We were up bright and early to pack up. With all our shopping we are still underweight! Breakfast was a treat of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes. Dave checked out while I sorted out the bags. Our electricity cost us £21 for the week.

back to Edinburgh
back to Edinburgh

We then drove through Perth and stopped at the Powmill Milk Bar in Hook of Devon where we had an espresso each and shared a cream and jam scone (£5.70).

back to Edinburgh
back to Edinburgh

We the drove to the Falkirk Wheel and we were in time to see it work.

back to Edinburgh
back to Edinburgh

After that we drove to the airport and sat in the Servisair lounge while waiting for our flight. Our luggage has been checked straight through which is a blessing given how chaotic terminal 5 is. Edinburgh airport is a duty free zone even though we have not gone through border control. This is the same at terminal 5. Our penultimate whisky for the trip was a Talisker for Dave and a Cragganmore for me. Our flight to Heathrow was uneventful – but BA could learn a thing or two from SAA when it comes to snacks – we got a packet of chips! We tried to claim our VAT back at Heathrow but we did not have the right slip from Edradour as they do not have the slips, and Whisky Castle have not registered. After that we had a snack of sushi before heading to the correct gate for our departure. They can only tell you an hour beforehand which gate the flight is leaving from! The flight was empty so I had two seats to sleep on, and Dave had 4! What a pleasure. Sadly my diabetic meal was full of sugar – but I was given fruit from business class – real crockery and cutlery! We got through border control and collected our cases and we were out of customs within 15 minutes – another lesson for Heathrow. It was then home, after an amazingly wonderful holiday.

back to Edinburgh
back to Edinburgh
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Ballater: Saturday May 5

Breakfast this morning was scrambled eggs with bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms. We decided to go to Aberdeen as it is only 40 miles away.

day trip to Aberdeen
day trip to Aberdeen

Our first task was to find a parking garage. With that sorted we stopped in at Books and Beans for an espresso and machiato (£3.20).

day trip to Aberdeen
day trip to Aberdeen

We walked down Belmont street but there was no market.

day trip to Aberdeen
day trip to Aberdeen

The indoor market in Market street is not worth the detour.

day trip to Aberdeen
day trip to Aberdeen

We went to the Aberdeen Maritime Museum which was fantastic. The highlights include great information on the Aberdeen fishing industry history, the Titanic and the North Sea oil rigs.

day trip to Aberdeen
day trip to Aberdeen

We had lunch at the Old Blackfriars which is part of the same chain as The Advocate in Edinburgh. I chose Red Smiddy to drink and Dave had Bellhaven Best IPA. Dave had tempura battered king prawns (£4.96) and I had chicken and sweetcorn soup (£3.69). Our total bill came to £11.58.

day trip to Aberdeen
day trip to Aberdeen

We made our way back to Ballater to shop for dinner and stopped off for an espresso, machiato and a whisky truffle for Dave (£3.60).

day trip to Aberdeen
day trip to Aberdeen

After relaxing in our lodge we went up to The Study for a whisky – Dave chose The Balvenie and I had Glenkinchie (£6.95).

Back to Ballater
Back to Ballater

We walked back to the lodge and shared a bottle of Suffolk Cyder. We’ve still not found anything as good as Devon cider. We finished off the pate and then had Scottish lamb chops with leeks, mushrooms, bacon and cream. We finished our bottle of La Pradera which we started last night. Dessert was the rest of the strawberries with cream before we finished the Stilton.

Ballater
Ballater

Ballater: Friday May 4

We slept in late and had a mushroom, bacon and tomato omelette for breakfast.

around Ballater
around Ballater

We drove to Royal Lochnagar Distellery where we had a wee dram to take the chill off.

around Ballater
around Ballater

It got down to 2.5C and snowed! We drove passed Balmoral Castle and came back to Ballater for lunch.

around Ballater
around Ballater

We chose the Balmoral Pub which is a great gathering place for the locals. I had a Magners cider and Dave had the local Deeside Brewery IPA (£3.40).

around Ballater
around Ballater

For lunch I had tomato soup with bread which tasted like good old fashioned tinned soup! (£2.90). Dave had mince pie with beans and chips (£5.00).

around Ballater
around Ballater

We then did a bit of shopping before stopping at Rocksalt & Snails for an espresso and machiato (£3.05).

around Ballater
around Ballater

Dave went to gym while I read and then we went for a walk up to the hotel where we had a whisky each in The Study. I had Oban and Dave had Bowmore (£8.20).

around Ballater
around Ballater

Supper was pork sausages with leeks done with mushrooms, bacon and cream. Dessert was strawberries and double cream, which is like our whipping cream.

around Ballater
around Ballater

Isle of Skye to Ballater: Thursday May 3

Dave had a repeat of his breakfast but I chose smoked salmon and scrambled eggs as my cooked bit. I added lovely berries to my porridge and I could have that every morning.

Back to Ballater
Back to Ballater

We then went to collect our langoustines before leaving the Isle via Skye bridge.

Back to Ballater
Back to Ballater

We headed through Kyle of Lochalsh to Invegarry where we stopped at the Glengarry Castle Hotel for tea (for me) and coffee and shortbread (for Dave) = £7.50. This which was served in a lounge over 100 years old with an amazing view.

Back to Ballater
Back to Ballater

We then went over Spean bridge to Roy bridge where we made a wrong turn to Newtonmore.

Back to Ballater
Back to Ballater

We should have followed the road to Dalwhinnie but instead we went through Laggan where we stretched our legs, and then to Newtonmore where we bought sandwiches for lunch.

Back to Ballater
Back to Ballater

We headed back in the direction of Dalwhinnie, heading for Perth. We then drove through Pitlochry before doing a tour of Edradour. It was amazing and the cost of £7.50 each included two tastings and a glass plus an amazing tour that I can highly recommend and will blog about separately.

Back to Ballater
Back to Ballater

We drove back to Ballater via Braemar where we shopped for a few essentials. We got a bottle of Magners Irish cider to enjoy before dinner with partridge pate. Supper was 20 langoustines (£5.50) with carrots, mushrooms and a lemon garlic butter sauce.

Ballater
Ballater

Isle of Skye: Wednesday May 2

We had a cooked breakfast – I started with porridge and Dave had cereal and fruit. This was followed by a poached egg served with black pudding, bacon, a sausage, mushrooms and Dave had fried tomato. We each had half a slice of toast, Dave’s with jam and mine with heather creamed honey.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

Today we drove around the north end of the Isle. Stopping first at Loch Faden and then at Kilt Rock and Dantulm (Lub Score).

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We went in to The Skye Museum of Island Life which was a very interesting history of the crofter’s and the people of Skye.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

Our route then took us through Uig, a view of Eilean Dubh in Loch Dunvegan and on to The Three Chimney’s.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We had lunch at Jann’s Cakes in Dunvegan. I tried fermented dandelion and burdock with ginger extract to drink, which tasted like aniseed, and Dave had an espresso.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

I had vegetable, lentil and spinach soup with freshly made dumplings. Dave had a toasted cheese and ham and the total bill was £16.25.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We drove up to Dunvegan Castle which you cannot see from the road. We stopped to look at Dun Beag Broch which is a small fort used as an early warning system.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We stopped in at Talisker where I collected a flavour map.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We drove down to Portnalong where one of the salmon fish farms can be seen.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We then drove along stopping to get a photo of Loch Bracdale and Loch Harport before heading back to Portree.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We stopped at the fishing harbour shop to see if we could buy fresh fish tomorrow, but they open too late. We then went in to Relish and Cathryn told us she would open for us in the morning if we wanted to buy something now and leave it overnight in their fridge. She will also give us a cool box. We got £5.50 worth of langoustines which we will cook for dinner tomorrow night. We then got some ice cream, Dave chose cranacken and I had chocolate. We ate our ice creams while walking around the village and then came back to the B&B for coffee.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We went for a walk to the Isles Inn and had a half pint of Red Cuillin before walking to Marmalade, a lovely restaurant with a view of the bay.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

Dave had venison pate to start and his main course was chicken supreme with a haggis stuffing.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

I had salmon served with asparagus and a hollandaise sauce on a bed of taglietelle.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We shared a fudge cake and Dave had an espresso. Wine tonight was a merlot from Chile. The bill came to £53.10.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We then walked back to the B&B while it was still light outside.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

Ballater to Portree, Isle of Skye: Tuesday May 1

Breakfast this morning was fried eggs, Arbroath smokeys and black pudding. We left early as the Gairnshiel bridge is damaged and made our way via the detour to Tomintoul, which is the highest village in the Highlands.

From Ballater to the Isle of Skye
From Ballater to the Isle of Skye

On the way we went passed Corgarff Castle and the Lecht Ski Centre which is 2090ft above sea level.There was still snow on the roof!

From Ballater to the Isle of Skye
From Ballater to the Isle of Skye

At Tomintoul we went to The Whisky Castle where we did a tasting and bought ourselves a bottle to bring home with us.

From Ballater to the Isle of Skye
From Ballater to the Isle of Skye

We then crossed over the Caledonian Canal a few times, and drove along Loch Ness.

From Ballater to the Isle of Skye
From Ballater to the Isle of Skye

Urquhart Castle was along this route.

From Ballater to the Isle of Skye
From Ballater to the Isle of Skye

We stopped at Fort Augustus to take a look at the locks.

From Ballater to the Isle of Skye
From Ballater to the Isle of Skye

We were stopped at one of the swing bridges where I got a photo of the Bridge of Oich.

From Ballater to the Isle of Skye
From Ballater to the Isle of Skye

We spent a fair amount of time in Fort William due to road works! Ben Nevis distellery is alongside the road so I will assume the snow capped peak above Fort William was Ben Nevis (which it is).

From Ballater to the Isle of Skye
From Ballater to the Isle of Skye

We caught the ferry from Malaig to Armadale (cost £31) before driving in to Port Tree.

From Ballater to the Isle of Skye
From Ballater to the Isle of Skye

We are staying at Ben Tianavaig bed and breakfast in the room named Earlish. Quite ironic as Charlotte did not get our request to change the date and she has us arriving tomorrow. Luckily for us this was not a problem.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

Shortly we will be going for a walk before our dinner at Sea Breezes Restaurant.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We decided to have 2 starters each and we both started with Manhattan chowder which was a rich tomato base with mussels (£4).

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

Dave had crab claws and I had the mussel starter which was a generous portion cooked in a lemongrass broth (£5.95).

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

We drank a bottle of Fraser’s Bay pinotage (£14.50) and finished our meal with a rich chocolate tart (£5.25) and a selection of Scottish cheeses, the best one being the Orkney cheddar (£5.25)

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye

Ballater: Monday April 30

We slept in and then started our day with Arbroath smokeys and fried eggs before setting out for the day.

Around Ballater
Around Ballater

It was meant to snow but thankfully it didn’t. We went to Tomnaverie, a stone circle between Torphins and Aboyne.

Around Ballater
Around Ballater

We stopped off at the falls of Feugh before we had a late lunch. We ate at the Deeside Activity Park Restaurant and Farm Stall.

Around Ballater
Around Ballater

I had Cairnton Aberdeen Angus mince with tatties and veg, and Dave had Ingram’s pork sausages with mashed tatties and veg. Food alone cost was £13.50.

Around Ballater
Around Ballater

Lunch was bracketed by looking for a stone circle at Glassel which we could not find either from Banchory or the Bridge of Canny.

Around Ballater
Around Ballater

We also went looking for Cock o’ The North at Aboyne Castle but despite the signs, it was not there.

Around Ballater
Around Ballater

We came back to Ballater to buy pork chops and black pudding for supper before we had some time off to relax. Dave went to gym and I had a spa bath!

Around Ballater
Around Ballater

We then went to a whisky tasting of 8 whiskys where we learned a lot about all sorts of things.

Ballater
Ballater

Dinner was accompanied by an apple and ale sauce – we had a bottle of Cairngorm Wildcat which we used and drank.

Around Ballater
Around Ballater