Finally a proper hiking trip to the Highlands!
We were heading north to explore the biggest Scottish national park – Cairngorms.
The Cairngorms National Park is accesible by train, bus or car from all major cities. We used a direct train from Edinburgh to Aviemore (about 3 hours). Aviemore is well-known tourist center of the Cairngorms National Park and offers wide rage of accommodation possibilities, as well as many cafes and restaurants en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviemore. We can recommend this particular cafe: http://mountaincafe-aviemore.co.uk/
We went on two day-long hikes:
Hike #1 – From Aviemore we took a bus to the Cairngorm ski areal. From there we hiked up to the ridge right of the Cairngorm and as the weather was good we went all the way up to the Ben MacDui, the second highest point of the UK. From there we walked along the ridge towards the Cairngorm and from there we descended back to the ski areal.
There is a possibility to reach the Cairngorm mountain by a cable car from the ski areal. But! If you use the cable car, you are not allowed to leave the upper cable car building and hike from there. You can just enjoy the views from behind the windows of the restaurant or a small terrace. Apparently, the reason is that many unskilled and unprepared tourists were willing to get lost up on the Cairngorm summit :). The good thing is though, that if you straggle to walk up as a hiker you can enter the cable car building, take advantage of the restaurant and cafe there and leave again, or you can even take a cable car on the way down if you wish.
After a good day of hiking you can take advantage of the beach at the shore of the Loch Morlich in the nearby Glenmore Forest and chill out :)
Hike #2 Second day we went exploring the old Rothiemurchus Forest and the Gleann Eanaich valley. What a wonderful place – amazing old trees, wild rivers, wide landscape with an African look, and a sunny, even hot weather (not guaranteed :) )!