Ballater

The Western Cairngorms

Today is the second entry in a new series of articles providing you with itinerary ideas for various regions around Scotland, and I will be unveiling more over the next few months. I have largely focused on specific topics throughout the life of Traveling Savage, as I’ve found that kind of specificity is often lacking in travel writing. However, just as the timing of my Best of Scotland series felt right for the past couple of months, the time is right for me to provide information at a higher level to help you in your trip-planning, idea-generation phase.

These Scotland Itinerary Ideas articles will collect many of my previous articles on the selected region into one place, along with my assessment of their criticality for the visitor and a bevy of tidbits that might’ve gotten lost along the way. Read more...

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Craigendarroch Hill Viewpoint

All the beer and whisky writing I’ve been doing lately has inclined me to write another post about my outdoorsy pursuits in Scotland. I’m not always in the pub draining pints of ale and sipping drams of whisky – before that happens I’m usually out in Scotland’s beautiful landscapes taking in the scenery and working up a sweat.

The Cairngorms National Park is full of such opportunities, and Craigendarroch Hill is the perfect half-day jaunt. The hill forms the northern edge of town and it’s surprisingly tall. The River Dee gives its name to this area of Scotland and the river hugs the pretty little town of Ballater against Craigendarroch Hill, which makes a gorgeous setting ripe for excellent views. Read more...

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Scotland’s northeast corner is a turbulence of tangible light and flitting weather. Thick bars of sunlight angle into the hills as heavy, gray clouds scud overhead, periodically emptying themselves in cold sprays of rain. Wind, that invisible puppet master, pulls strings in maddeningly contrary directions.

Here, in Ballater, a stone bridge arches over the River Dee. A man walks a cat on a leash below me as frigid shears peel off the Cairngorms and whistle through the valley. I feel I’ve bridged my own waters. Sarah walks next to me: jet-lagged, sleepy, running on fumes.

But with me, like two river banks finally touching where the earth has grown strong.
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