Date: 1st July 2018
Travelled: 179 kilometres from Grantown-on-Spey to Perth, both in Scotland
Visited: Mostly just driving the Cairngorms National Park and Balmoral Castle £9.50pp
Stayed: Perth, Rodney Gardens car-park, free on sunday. N57.31481, W03.61661
After an evening of chatting and drinking with Jo and Ian we have a very quiet night wildcamping on the Spey. So we are up relatively early, coffee and fruit and getting the Hymer tidy for a long drive.
Our on and off travelling companions are heading east for Aberdeen, whilst we will continue south. Not sure, exactly where at this point, but somewhere.
It’s not unusual for a wildcamping spot to be near an old cemetery or church. Our overnight on the River Spey was the small car-park adjoining an old cemetery. So before we leave we have a 30 minute wander reading headstones.
We say goodbye to Jo and Ian again and wish them a safe journey, before heading off.
We follow the tourist route south (A939). It can be a little confusing as there is a separate ‘whisky trail’ route as well. Whilst I enjoy the odd single malt, once you have done a distillery or two, you have done them all.
The further south we drive the higher the road climbs. Pam took this photo at Tomintoul. The clouds are very unusual.
On the higher hills the trees disappear and the heather patterns the hillsides. The photo doesn’t do the flowering heather justice.
We occasionally drop down into the valleys through wooded glens. Perhaps a house or two and the road climbs again. We find this amazing single lane bridge at Corgarff.
Dropping into the valley again we turn into the car-park for Balmoral.
The Balmoral Estate was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1855. With her husband Prince Albert, the exist hunting lodge was replaced by the current Castle. Pam enjoys the sunshine on this old iron bridge crossing the River Dee into the estate.
The plantings of canadian and american conifers some 120 years old line the entry.
We see these everywhere in Scotland, but at Balmoral they are perfect. Foxgloves !
Like Sandringham, Balmoral has a carriage and vehicle museum.
Again Pam is at one with the local fauna. Part of the shoot it and stuff it, museum.
Our first glimpse of the castle…
A different view. It is a bit of a fairytale. The only area within the castle open for inspection is the ball-room, but no photos in there.
Looking directly onto Balmoral Castle from the green. The audio guide is very interesting and provides lost of history and personal insight.
The gardens are lovely particularly the rose and vegitable garden, but in parts not so much. But from listening to the commentary from the head gardener, the focus is on having everything at its best in August when the Queen will take her summer break here.
We lunch back in the Hymer before continuing south once more. Being Sunday afternoon, even in this remote part of the Scottish highlands there is a reasonable amount of traffic. Lots of motorcycles travelling in group are the biggest challenge.
An ambulance screams passed at some point, we have an ominous feeling. South of Breamar a helicopter lands on the road. Traffic is stopped, a group of motorcycles have collided with each other and gone of the road. Long story short after an hour and chatting to a local Policeman he gives us an escort around the accident on a narrow farm access road.
With the road blocked the traffic is very light for the next hour. We eventually leave the Cairngorms and drive on to Perth.
We find a nice parking place at Rodney Gardens in Perth. Free parking on Sunday, even better.