Loch an Eilein
We wake up 100metres from Loch an Eilein, located within the Cairngorm National Nature Reserve. The sun is already out. The weather forecast promises a sunny day, an exceptional good day for Scottish standards.
Tip: When driving to Loch Eilein from West to East, follow the far more scenic B970 (starting from Kingussie) instead of the larger A9.
After a slow breakfast, we pack our backpacks with water and snacks (and jacket, just in case the weather would change). With sunglasses on our noses we head out to explore the trails around Loch an Eilein and Loch Gamhna.
Three hours later we return from a very enjoyable hike. Reaching at least 10.000 steps a day is easy this way.
We decide to treat ourselves with a slice of cake from the tearoom further down the road (Potting Shed Tearoom). According to TripAdvisor they serve extremely good gluten-free cakes, which got me excited like a little kid unwrapping a present. We just had to visit this place; no room for discussion! Plus it’s also a good reason to take the bike for a ride.
The tearoom exceeds our expectations. Everything is just right. The scenery, the service, the cakes…There are around 10 cakes to choose from, including 2 gluten-free options (raspberry-rhubarb sponge cake & lemon cheese cake). Together with a 2 serving tea-pot and fresh press (coffee), we take seat on a table outside. The tearoom is located within a nursery; lavish flowers and plants surround us. Picture perfect! I decide to take second slice.
To no surprise the cakes of this tearoom are in the top 10 of the UK.
Note: Due to their increasing success they decided that from 2018 you have to make a reservation (online or by phone). This is their solution to maintain the quality of the cakes and the service, and to preserve the relaxed atmosphere of the place. Although making a reservation is a hassle, we think it is well worth it.
What’s for dinner?
With round tummies and a smile on our faces (and after complimenting the staff probably 3 times), we take the bike to the Rothiemurcus visitor center. We’ve read a farm shop is located inside the center, selling beef, venison and smoked fish from their own farm. Of course we have to try this as well. We return home (a.k.a. our truck) with minced beef, steak, venison burgers and smoked fish.
What’s for dinner? A blue cheese salad with venison burgers. And woooooowwwwwww did this taste well. We decide on the spot we have to get more the next day
This translates in us waiting in front of the visitor center the next morning for an hour until it opens up; that’s how much we liked these burgers. PS we should have bought more smoked fish as well. It was equal as good.
And since it seems too warm for the midges (i.e., the tiny flies that bite) we can enjoy a gin tonic on our terrace that evening. That is how we meet a very nice Scottish family of 5 on holiday. We chat for at least an hour. Very quickly the mom is ready to move in, the oldest son to pursue a similar dream and the youngest, who asks tons of good questions, is ready to build a truck like ours (but then a simpler version because otherwise it would take him too long – one day would not be enough).
The night we close with 2 Flemish travelers, who just arrived in Scotland and put up their tent a few meters away from us.
What a perfect day in Scotland!
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