When I envisaged a long weekend in Aberdeenshire I could never have imagined how utterly blown away I would be by the scenery. After our fishing fun on the Friday, we hit the local pub quiz and were feeling a little sore-headed the following day (celebrating coming third involves a lot of whisky), so we needed fresh air. We settled into our hire car with a decent stash of Mini Eggs and headed up, up, up into the mountains.
I remember the first time I saw a mountain. I was visiting my uni boyfriend while he was living in Chamonix and when he picked me up from Geneva airport and drove us into France my mind was blown. I’m no country bumpkin (although it’s rapidly getting that way), but natural wonders rock my world. From the fjords in Norway to the Blue Mountains in Australia, I’ve seen some gorgeous works of art by old Mother Nature, but the Cairngorms have totally stolen my heart.
I had no idea that you could drive way up into those snowy peaks and that at the top people would actually be skiing! I’m talking full blown snow lifts, salopettes and black slopes; and it was rammed. Families decked out in neon ski wear, people queueing for hot cups of tea and cocky teenagers showing off to their mates. I was glad to have packed my snow boots at the last minute so I could plod about excitedly and stomp over untouched powder.
And the mountains hide more. We swung past the Balmoral Estate which was sadly closed, but on our last day went up, up, up again, to Loch Lee. It was surprisingly warm and the muddy trail from the car park was a dog walker’s paradise. We stumbled across a ruined castle which made it feel like we’d stepped into a fairy tale.
But then we hit the loch. It is rare to render me speechless, but again I could not believe that we were in Scotland! If you’re truly wishing you could escape it all, you don’t have to plan a trip to another country. Just head north and get yourself to a land of minimal phone signal, eye-watering views and no need to change your currency. I am all about Aberdeenshire.