Roadtripping | Scotland Day 4

Loch an Eilein, Rothiemurchus, Scotland, Roadtrip, Scenery, Lake, Cairngorms National Park,
Loch an Eilein, Rothiemurchus, Scotland, Roadtrip, Scenery, Lake, Cairngorms National Park,
Inverness > Aberdeen

We left the city of Inverness for scenery and were blessed with the weather (for a while anyway!), as we arrived in Cairngorms National Park. After parking up and receiving a ticket for various discounts in the area, we went for a walk around Loch an Eilein, which will forever be memorable.

Alfie was drawn to the edge of the loch, where there were ducks and it wasn’t too long before Ash realised that TV chef James Martin was filming for one of his shows (we’re yet to see it!). The crew were literally packing up and getting ready to go, while we loitered like crazy fans, as Alfie pointed and shouted “duck” repeatedly. We moved on before they did, going for a walk into the forest. It was so peaceful and totally unspoilt – and we only bumped into two other couples during our time here. We could have so easily walked further, or spent longer – and it would be the perfect place for a picnic. Instead, it started to rain and we ate our picnic in the car.
Tractor, Rothiemurchus, Scotland, Roadtrip, Cairngorms National Park,
With our discount card, we were able to visit Rothiemurchus Fisheries and feed the fish for free. It seemed an ideal activity for Alfie, so we made our way a mile or two down the road (in the car). Unfortunately, we didn’t see any fish and as we threw the feed into the pond, it was the ducks that swam towards us and then battled it out for a meal. Alfie fed them, and then enjoyed running around the fields, chasing the ducks. He also loved the tractors that were at the entrance and was allowed to ride one to our designated point, taking it back afterwards. He was unable to reach the pedals so Ash and I had to take it turns to push him as he tried to steer. It was a lovely little excursion, which I don’t think we would have visited otherwise.
Balmoral Castle, Balmoral, Royalty,
Balmoral Castle, Balmoral, Royalty,
Balmoral Castle, Balmoral, Royalty, Gardens,
Next on the agenda was Balmoral Castle – and it’s well worth visiting, as there’s so much to see and do. The car park was a little walk away and you have to cross a bridge to get to the entrance and paying point. From there, you then have to take a trailer ride to the start of the tour – whether or not you are doing the audio tour (we didn’t bother, opting to self-tour). There are a few different rooms with different exhibits, but we weren’t able to spend long looking around, as Alfie wanted to touch everything and climb on all the old-fashioned vehicles. Instead, we made the most of the extensive grounds. There were rows of fruit and vegetables growing; while most of the plants and flowers were labelled, which I found really interesting... there were definitely some things I’d love to have in our garden. The highlight though, was the riverside walk, which we took after seeing the exterior of the castle – en route back to the car.

We arrived in Aberdeen quite late, particularly after some problems with parking and checking-in at the hotel. By the time we had got organised and freshened up, not many places in the city would allow us to eat. Eventually we found a pub that would let us stay until 9pm – I honestly didn’t realise that most places don’t allow children after 8pm, even if the whole table is eating!

Today we drove 136 miles
Today we walked 9.3km
Where we stayed
Sandman Signature Hotel – St Andrew Street, AB25 1AD
The Sandman Signature is up there with the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in. It was spacious, luxurious and all the extra touches had been thought of – including books, magazines and games in the lobby lounge area. Our room was huge, with a fridge, microwave (perfect for Alfie’s bedtime milk), quality tea & coffee facilities and we had two double beds so Alfie had his own. The en-suite was well-equipped with a walk-in rain shower and some gorgeous luxurious toiletries. We didn’t have dinner at the hotel restaurant, but were there for breakfast the following morning – it was pretty much like every other hotel buffet breakfast! We encountered a problem with parking on arrival and the hotel car park is quite tight to get in and out of, with limited spaces available. After parking in the road outside (maximum stay two hours), the reception team allowed us to park in the hotel overflow, which was expensive and less secure, but with more space. I also found the hotel too hot everywhere: in our room, the restaurant, lobby and mezzanine.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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