This was our second trip to the wedding venue, this time we were scouting out local facilities, walks doable from the house, and possible locations for photography.
After an easy drive across through showery weather we had a quick stop outside the house before heading along to the parking for the Falls of Foyers. Unfortunately the car park was full and in attempting to find a place to turn around we ended up slightly outside the village at Camerons Farm Shop and Tea Room which provided a welcome spot for coffee and lunch.
After some delicious food we headed back up the road and got the last parking space at the Falls. We followed the path down to the upper viewing point and were pleased to find an impressive torrent crashing down the black rocks opposite.
We followed the path down to the lower viewpoint and then wound our way down through the woods, loosely following the squirrel trail which stuck to the edge of the gorge high above the dark waters of the Foyers river, eventually leading to fantastic overlook with a view down to Loch Ness..
We followed the narrow roads through the village, crossed the noisy road bridge and then found a hidden little track up alongside the southern bank of the river which brought us to a magical spot below the crumbling remains of the high road bridge.
Our exploration continued, back across the river and past the hydro station (formally an aluminium smelter) and down to the shore of Loch Ness where we happened upon the rusting remains of the North Star. The views out across the loch were grey as fresh rain clouds swept in.
In the damp and the drizzle we kept up our exploration until we could put off making the ascent up to the car no longer. As we wound our way back up the hill the sun finally made an appearance.
With just a brief stop at the high point on the road we made our way along to Fort Augustus where we were staying the night at the Three Bridges Bed & Breakfast, the same place I had stayed in when passing through Fort Augustus on the TGO Challenge back in May 2013.
After tea and cake and settling into our room we walked down into the village to have a pub dinner at The Bothy, accompanied by a couple of fine pints of Skye Red.
The next morning we headed south, aiming for a fairly relaxed drive around the Appin peninsula and onward to Aberdeen. We paused for a brief breath of fresh air at the Commando Memorial before passing through Fort William and then Ballachulhish where we took the coastal road south to arrive at Castle Stalker.
We parked the car near the old station at Appin and walked along the path/cycleway until we could cut down to the beach.
The castle, a classic image of the Highlands, is in a spectacular location and really only accessible by boat. As such we wandered along the beach, exploring rock pools and beach ceramics and watched as a group of sea kayakers arrived on the island.
The weather was beautiful, a welcome improvement on the day before and we finished up our stroll by following a boggy path back up the car to complete a pleasant loop.
We then continued on our way, across the end of Loch Etive and then driving through the Pass of Brander to reach Loch Awe where we stopped at the well-hidden car park for Kilchurn Castle. Here we were overwhelmed by the unpleasant smell of weeds growing up besides the railway line and were glad to reach the far side and the impressive walk up to the ruins of the castle which stands on a promontory close to the head of Loch Awe.
We followed a narrow path around the outside of the castle first and down to the loch shore. The ruin is impressive up close with extensive curtain walls and towers in tact. The backdrop of the Etive and Tyndrum hills is wonderful. We then went inside, climbing the towers and working our way around the interpretive boards - all very well done
We returned to the car and continued our journey, pausing at the Green Welly in Tyndrum and then on for afternoon tea and scones in the warm sunshine at Comrie Croft watching the mountain bikers return from the trails.
With the weather only getting back we took the scenic route across to the A90, passing through Highland Perthshire and stopping by the river in Glen Ogle where we had a sit to enjoy the end of a very pleasant weekend.