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
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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

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

Edinburgh to Ballater: Sunday April 29

After breakfast of bacon and eggs we packed up and left Edinburgh.

on our way to Ballatar
on our way to Ballatar

We drove through Dundee to Arbroath where we bought smokies and scallops.

Arbroath
Arbroath

We took a scenic drive to Finzean Farm Stall. I had elderflower presse to drink and Dave had an espresso. For lunch I had slow roasted cherry tomato and goats cheese quiche and Dave had chicken pie.

Finzean
Finzean

The food and drinks were about £22 and we spent a total of £44.50 there as we did grocery shopping as well.

on our way to Ballatar
on our way to Ballatar

We stopped in Ballater before heading to our timeshare, and took a slow walk around, stopping for coffee before driving further up the road.

on our way to Ballatar
on our way to Ballatar

We are in the Craigendarroch mountains and snow is visable. Our unit is in the forrest and is huge. We have a two bedroom, two bathroom, 6 sleeper. It has a lounge with a fancy TV and sound system, an open plan dining room and a well kitted out kitchen. We have gadgets galore and a dishwasher. The upstairs bathroom includes a sauna and the washing machine. I’m using a drying cupboard for the first time ever. Our bedroom is downstairs and we have a dressing room and spa bath! I am in heaven. We went to take a look at the gym and spa. The swimming pool is tempting but I don’t have a costume with me. We had drinks in the bar, Guinness for Dave and Gaymers original cider for me. Supper started with scallops, pan fried in butter. Mains were pork sausages with a shallot and tomato mix and mushrooms and courgettes flavoured with garlic greens. Wine tonight is Minervois 2009.

Snow!
Snow!