On the third section of The Speyside Way, we awoke early like little kids at Christmas, eager to start on the trail. It wasn’t so much the joy of hiking that gave us this skip in our step, as the promise of whisky in Craigellachie. Out of all the whisky distilleries in Scotland, more than half are situated in Speyside, and in particular, where we were staying.
The second day of the Speyside Way trail weaves along pebbly beaches, through woodland and pauses in the heritage town of Fochabers. Expect unspoilt nature, Scottish castles and hearty helpings of cake and whisky.
When it came to choosing a hiking destination in Scotland, we were spoilt for choice. With its rugged mountain scenery and beautiful coastline, it was difficult to choose. All we knew was that it needed beautiful scenery, culture and whisky. Lots of whisky.
So when we came across the Speyside Way, we knew we were on to a winner.
The long-distance hiking trail extends 65 miles across the northern coast of Scotland, through historic towns that have barely changed over the years, to its pine forests and whisky country. Ending in Cairngorm National Park, the Speyside Way highlights Scotland’s history, heritage and countryside in pockets that are not always visited by tourists.
After watching Far from the Madding Crowd recently, I’ve become slightly obsessed with all things quaint and English. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go frolicking in the Dorset countryside in pretty Victorian get-up? So when it came time to choose the next #take12trips challenge, it may have influenced my choice of the Malvern Hills. Pretty scenery? The Malverns is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Quaint housing? More like, can you get any quainter (or English?) than a shepherd’s hut. Victorian clothing? Well, you can’t get everything you want….
After arriving late in the night, I began to question choosing such a remote choice for our accommodation, but waking up the next morning to ducklings playing in the private pond by our hut at the Malvern Holiday Park quickly confirmed that this was an excellent decision.
I am sure everyone reaches a travel rut at some stage. Whether it is visiting the same country every year, taking the same beach holiday or even booking at the same time each year, we’ve all been there. For me, I found myself spending all year saving towards a spectacular (but expensive) couple of weeks away to some far-flung destination, with barely any time off to explore other destinations in-between. Not only that, but the guilt of the environmental cost of such extravagant trips had me questioning whether I could find similar excitement in my backyard.
Upon seeing Lake Bohinj (pronounced baw-heen), Agatha Christie once famously said that it was far too beautiful for a murder. This might not sound like high praise, but admittedly Agatha Christie was making a fair point.
Commonly known as the gateway to the Himalayas, the lakeside town of Pokhara is brimming with shops, amenities and attractions for tourists. Here’s a quick guide to make the most of Pokhara.
The trekking between Chomorong and Pokhara provides some of the best scenery Nepal has to offer. The mountainsides are a riot of colour, bearing flowers of every hue that are reflected in the skies above.
Nepal doesn't do anything by halves, and that includes sunrises. Watching the first rays of daylight cast the Himalayas aglow is an experience anyone trekking in Annapurna should see for themselves, as I discovered through bleary eyes early one morning.
Poon Hill - funny name, serious hike. After three days of trekking from Pokhara, this section of the Annapurna region offers panoramic views of the Himalayan range Nepal is famed for throughout the world.