Saturday, June 06, 2009

Highlands of Scotland Holiday - day 6

We were planning a very early start to get back to Loch Ruthven for the Slavonian Grebes but settled instead for breakfast at the hotel and a more sedate start. We did pop in to Ruthven but it was very quiet, only the Bullfinches showed:



















So on to our next centre, though we weren't sure how Helen would cope with the drive. It turns out not well, so by the time we got to the Kyle of Lochalsh she was in a lot of pain. We decided to head to the Otter Reserve on Skye as it was only about another fifteen miles and see how she fared with a short walk (one mile each way). Here are some views from the walk and hide:










































Whilst in the hide we did spot an Otter which led to everyone piling down to the end we occupied, cue thoughts of the hide standing up on one end. We beat a hasty retreat and drove back to Kyle of Lochalsh but decided against staying there, so turned around and headed back on to Skye and up to Portree. The hoteliers we spoke to were surprised they were so busy - being mostly full, an unusual level of demand at this time of year apparently. In the end the lack of availability decided us - we took a double room for one night at the Portree Hotel on the village square and sat down to Pizza (comfort food time). The curtains in the room were woefully inadequate such that we were awake shortly after dawn and gave up trying to sleep instead getting up and out. We spent the first hour and three-quarters cruising around the top right end of Skye looking for eagles, and we did in fact get our first glimpse of a Golden Eagle, it's the dark smudge in this picture:


















I also took a number of snaps as we cruised around, the morning started with a few passing showers then cleared (the weather on the whole was excellent, which was a relief!):








































Helen was however very uncomfortable so we bit the bullet and headed for home, some 635 miles south, achieved in a little over nine-and-a-half more hours driving, with just a single stop!

We enjoyed the first half of our holiday, clearly the second half was substantially disrupted and in the end cancelled due to Helen's broken arm. We're glad we visited the Cairngorms but probably won't go back to Aviemore - the town strikes us as a seaside resort in the middle of the mountains, all stag and hen parties and drunken singing/shouting at 3am - what does appeal however is the West Coast and the very North of Scotland together with the Western Isles and of course we've yet to set foot on Shetland...

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