11 – 12 June 2009
Plane and Train Journey to Aviemore
On Wednesday (10 June) we left Orange County for a 3 hour, 15 minute flight to Chicago, where we changed planes to flight to Manchester, England. We arrived there on time, at 7:20am the next morning, after a 7 hour 11 minute flight. After clearing customs we walked a short distance from the airport terminal to the train station located within the airport. The train we planned to take did not leave until 9:29am but we found another one that left at 9:00am, so after having our train passes validated, we were off on the first leg of our journey north to Scotland.
After about a hour we reached Preston and had about 30 minutes until the next train, so we ate a snack at the station while we waited. The next train left at 10:41am with a destination of Glasgow. We passed adjacent to the Lake District and then through some beautiful countryside before crossing into Scotland a little after noon. About one hour later we arrived in Glasgow, where we had to walk about 10 minutes between two train stations in order to catch the next train to Perth.
The third train trip took a little less than an hour, and we arrived in Perth at 2:36pm. Our fourth and last train to Aviemore left at 2:54pm and we reached our destination at 4:26pm. The town was quite small, with one major street, which included a few stores, hotels, cafes and the train station. The hotel was a couple of miles out of town so we hailed a taxi to take us there. Our first night’s dinner was included at the hotel so we enjoyed that before going to sleep.
Hiking in Cairngorms National Park and River Strolling in Inverness
Cairngorms National Park is located within classic Scottish highland scenery. Established in 2003, it is the largest national park in Britain. On Friday (12 June) we ate breakfast and then proceeded to walk about a 1/2 mile from the hotel to the visitors center in the Rothiemurchus section of the park. After buying a map we began our hike to several lochs (lakes). We passed through some nice forest and highlands with great mountain views. After about two miles we reached Loch an Eilein. Here, in the middle of the lake, is a small 13th century castle.
From there we turned along a trail that took us back into the highlands. After passing several small lakes we then turned again toward Coylumbridge and our hotel, returning there in the early afternoon. The hike was about five miles in all.
We decided to visit Inverness in the late afternoon so we took a taxi to the train station and boarded one of the frequent trains to the city. It took about 40 minutes to get there and we spent some time walking around the city center and visiting a craft market taking place on the pedestrian streets.
Next, we walked to the top of the castle, which is currently a Sheriff’s Court. After a pub stop we then walked along the River Ness for about a mile to a series of islands, known as the Ness Islands, located in the middle of the stream and connected by a series of Victorian bridges. It was very pretty and peaceful. We had an early dinner at a pub back in town before taking the train back to Aviemore and returning to our hotel.
View the Aviemore Cairngorms National Park Hike video.
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