Helen Rose Hill Diary
Laggan is a hamlet lying in the centre of Scotland between the A9 to Inverness and the A82 to Fort William. It is reached travelling west from Dalwhinnie, a village famous for its malt whisky distillery. We stayed in a bunkhouse at Laggan but I would not recommend it due to the owner’s bullying and patronising attitude towards guests. However it was comfortable enough for the group and we were near the Monaliadh Hotel which served good hearty meals.
It was a Glasgow HF Outdoor Club www.glasgowhf.btck.co.uk weekend with a variety of walks available. I chose the easier walks as I was recovering from a cold. I have climbed all the mountains around this area and it is enjoyable doing lower level walks in areas I have not visited in the past.
The first day’s walk was fairly near Laggan and was a circular walk which Stephen had spotted in the Herald Newspaper. It started from the Spey Dam (the River Spey is here and gives its name to Speyside malt whiskies). At Sherrabeg we ascended a hill on rough ground to a deer fence then along the side of the forest to Loch na Lairige. There was a deer fence to cross without a stile which was quite challenging. It was then steep uphill to Creag Ruadh minor top and further on the Creag Ruadh proper where there were views over the loch to the castle in the glen known as Glen Ogle in the television series Monarch of the Glen. Now we were on a path down through the woods to Dun da Lamh, an ancient hill fort. The walk under the hill fort brought us back to the road where there were giant red mushrooms on the grassy verge. It was a very enjoyable day with only one short heavy burst of rain.
The next day we drove to Newtonmore, south of Aviemore, on the A9 where we left the cars at the Highland Folk Museum and walked to the next village of Kingussie. This walk was along the road so was not so interesting. From Kingussie we walked up the hill towards the Monaliadh Mountains and reached the top of Creag Bheag with lovely views over the loch to the gently rolling Monaliadh Mountains. Some people very disingenuous in referring to these mountains as upturned pudding bowls! We descended to the loch and followed a wooded path leading over moorland and back into Newtonmore.
We visited the gem known as the Highland Folk Museum www.highlandfolk.com at Newtonmore which is well worth a visit. Entry is free and it is an open air museum spread over several acres. There is a red squirrel colony here and I was lucky to see them running up the trees. They are indigenous to Scotland and much smaller than their imported American grey cousins. They are so sweet to watch in their activities. There are various parts to the museum that are indoors such as the seventeenth century township, the schoolmaster’s house and the sweetie shop. The staff were dressed in period costume. Add to this good parking and a nice tearoom making it a perfect place to visit for adults and children alike.
We dined at the Monaliath Hotel that evening and walked back to the bunkhouse under a carpet of stars in the clear sky. On the way home the following day we dropped in at Dunkeld at the Beatrix Potter museum in theCommunity Arts Centre. Beatrix spent holidays in the area and it is reflected in her writing. The Centre also has an excellent tearoom.
Coming attraction: Weekend in Newton Stewart
Contact me at [email protected]