Adventures in Northeastern Scotland
When planning a trip to Scotland, you must get out of the cities and into the Highlands. Here are some tips for a mini-roadtrip in Northeast Scotland.
To start our venture to The North, we decided to camp at Loch Morlich.
Loch Morlich is a lake in the Cairngorms National Park and it is stunning. The lake is nestled between highland mountains and trees - and it feels like a tranquil oasis away from the rest of the world. It's about an hour south of Inverness so it is a great stopping point if you're heading north from Edinburgh or Glasgow.
There's a nice campground right next to the lake or some people were wild camping on the beach. Our plan was to wild camp on the beach, however things don't always go according to plan. Once we arrived, we noticed there were signs that said that camping was not allowed on the beach. Being the rule follower that I am, we opted for the campground. There were some rebellious campers that had tents pitched on the beach though. So if you're not a goodie goodie like me, then you could probably get a way with it.
Loch Morlich also has rentals for watersports including kayaks, stand up paddle boards, canoes, sailing boats, and even windsurfing. Check out Loch Morlich Watersports for more info on rental pricing and hours.
Coffee Stop @ The Druie Cafe Restaurant in Aviemore!
The next Morning we hit the road and headed north to the Culloden Battlefield. Culloden was the final battle of the Jacobite rising of 1745. It was a brutal battle that resulted in the death of thousands of men, mostly from the Scotland side. Today, the battlefield has a visitor center, a massive memorial cairn, headstones for the mass graves of the clans, and a thatched-roof farmhouse from 1760. The visitor center has lots of information about the battle and the Jacobite rising. There are weapons and other artifacts from the time period on display.
If you like history, the Culloden Battlefield is well worth a visit.
One of the must see places in Northern Scotland has to be Duncansby Head. It's probably one of the most photographed locations too - and for good reason! It's a narrow and windy road to get up to the lighthouse and then a short hike to the cliffs. You could probably spend hours exploring and taking photo after photo here - if you get lucky with the weather! It as unbelievably windy when we were there. So windy that it was hard to hear each other speak when we were standing right next to one another. Besides the wind, this place was amazing and we were so glad we made the trip up to see it.
After Duncansby Head it was time to venture into the town of John O' Groats.
John O' Groats
John O' Groats is the northernmost point in the mainland UK. Standing on the coastline looking north feels like you're on the edge of the world. The town of John O' Groats is super cute and has some little cafes and shops. By the time we arrived, most things were closed though.
So we set up our tent and relaxed with a couple of Scottish ales, admired the incredible views, the setting sun, rainbows, and the quaint town of John O' Groats.
We were catching the early ferry from John O' Groats to Orkney. So we didn't have time to make breakfast or coffee at camp. Instead we hit up a little red shack right in front of the ferry called The Cabin @ John O'Groats.
At 6 am I will drink anything even resembling coffee and I'll probably be happy about it. This place, however, had really great coffee and the best bacon roll on the planet. For those of you that are not familiar with a "bacon roll," it is exactly what it sounds like. A soft roll with some bacon in it - a breakfast sandwich without eggs or cheese - but somehow it's even more delicious. But the bacon is different than American bacon. It's almost like a mix between Canadian bacon, ham, and American bacon. Whatever it is, it's heavenly.
I will forever dream about this bacon roll.
It sounds simple - but it was oh so delicious! The absolute perfect way to start our adventures on Orkney!
Check out my Ultimate U.K. RoadTrip Itinerary for an epic 17 day adventure through England & Scotland!