I attended a conference in Europe, held in a former castle, converted into a hotel, in Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland. It was a wonderful location in the southern Scottish Highlands which called for some hiking and exploring afterwards.
After flying into Glasgow I rented a car to be flexible. It took a day of practice one gets accustomed to driving on the "wrong" side of the road. It takes much longer to understand the local language let alone to pronounce the gaelic names correctly. But everyone was kind to visitors.
Our group visited beautiful Blair Castle. The landscape of the gardens and nearby lochs is as pretty as the interior of the castle. There are also elegant mansions tastefully located along the River Tay in Perthshire.
My exploration first led me to Cairn Gorm in the Grampian Mountains of the Scottish Highlands. Although not particularly high (4084'), it was cold and windy on the summit even in mid-summer with some rain. It is a popular ski summit. But with ferocious winds in mid-winter, skiing must be quite an experience, at least for us whimpy Californians.
Another day I did a dayhike to remote Loch Einich. It was fine summer weather and the hike was through vast fields of blooming heather, along streams with waterfalls, past stands of old Caledonia pines. Finally I saw a blue lake, elongated like all lochs, between glaciated mountain walls at the end of a cirque. Unfortunately the wind gusted and I chickened out from a dip into the cold water.
The next day I toured along Loch Ness southwest of Inverness. Yes, there was Nessy poking out of the lake!
I toured along more lochs, firths and rivers on my way back to Glasgow. Wish I could have stayed longer.
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