Rainbow over Scotland
After climbing Ben Nevis, our next destination was the Cairngorms. We wanted time to dry out so we stayed Aviemore youth hostel for the first night. I shared with three other people in a dormitory. They were mostly fine to share with other than the one who thought it was acceptable to snooze his alarm twice between 6.30 and 7. Absolutely shocking hostel etiquette!
I also chatted to a guy here for the next four months looking at insects. He complained that he hadn’t seen many, probably due to them all drowning before having a chance to get started.
In the evening I went for a stroll around the local nature reserve. I spotted a sign for a viewpoint and decided to start walking up. About half way up I spotted a rainbow starting to form over the valley and so sprinted the rest of the way to the cairn at the top.
I made it in time to see both sides of the rainbow stretching over the valley. The Cairngorms are in the rain shadow of the mountains and so has better weather than Western and Northern Scotland. Despite seeing the rainbow it didn’t actually rain on me at all.
There was also a beautiful view of the mountains on the other side, with clouds covering the mountain tops and a scattering of lochs.
The following day we walked into the Caledonian forest. It’s all that’s left of the vast temperate rainforest that covered a huge swathe of Scotland, around 1.5 million hectares. Now you can see ancient Scots Pine and Silver Birch growing together in the areas that escaped destruction over the thousands of years.
Loch an Eilein
In the middle of Loch an Eilein there is a very small island, with a castle that looks like it is slowly sinking into the depths. It was originally constructed a hideaway for thieves and was besieged later on in 1690 by retreating Jacobites. It fell out of use in the late 18th century and is now a ruin.
We stopped for lunch on the edge of the loch and ate quickly to avoid being attacked by the ferocious Scottish midge. I spotted a friendly chaffinch nearby and lured it closer with a trail of biscuit crumbs until it was within reaching distance and I could take a photo.