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Highland Hideout 6 – Rannoch Station and Highland Safari

Friday 28th October

So, our last day in Scotland. I will miss this beautiful, untouched paradise, where the nearest city is a hundred miles away and the only living creatures visible are those wonderful highland cows and the occasional red deer. I love the lochs, and how the mountains and lush evergreen forests reflect so clearly into their pools of water. I love the mist rising across them in the mornings, blanketing the tops of rugged mountains dotted with white drops of snow. I love the incredible wildlife, seeing a glimpse of a peregrine falcon in the horizon or a flash of a red squirrel’s tail, hearing the nest of sparrows in the morning, watching the pheasants running round the house. It’s such a wonderful place! The weather suits the landscape, I think. England can become so plain at times that the constant rain becomes a nuisance rather than a blessing.

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Queensview.

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Sad nostalgic requiem over, today we visited some local sights: the farthest we went out was Rannoch Station, which was only 30 miles away, but since we were constantly either stuck behind a caravan or driving on unnamed, winding roads, it took us about an hour to get there. Rannoch Station itself is rather quiet (even if we were all singing Hey Jude at the top of our lungs for most of the journey), with perhaps only about five buildings-hardly even a village-but the surrounding scenery is magnificent, with the Loch in the background. The station is basically empty, but the tea room was open, offering some tasty respite for our sore throats.

Rannoch Station.

Before this, we visited the Dunfallandy Stone; a small rock located on a small hill on private land, with some history about the Picts and Scots during the 1st century AD. We also went to the thriving Pitlochry Theatre and Fish Ladder, which was very sadly not in season then so not operating. The theatre seemed to be doing very well however; even though it had just opened at ten, it was already a hive of activity, and overlooked the river itself as it flowed through Pitlochry.

 

On the way over, we also went past Queensview, which offers a first-grade view of the Loch, on a high ledge. The shop also sells lots of cuddly animals-much cheaper than they did at Balmoral (perhaps unsurprisingly now that I’ve written it). We also were lucky enough to spot a red squirrel-Scotland is one of the few places left in the UK which still has an abundance of red squirrels, due to the invasive American grey squirrel which both carries diseases that affect only the red squirrel and competes with them over territory and food (thank you A Level Biology). They always seem to be quite skittish, to say the least, and this one was no different, most likely stocking up on food for its winter hibernation.

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Back on track, we came home via the other side of Loch Rannoch, and reached the Highland Safari, where after lunch we met Rua and the group of red deer they keep, as well as Ossian, a baby barn owl. They looked pretty well looked after, although unfortunately we missed the encounters. We also visited Dower’s Scotch Distillery, a local distillery with pockets probably less well lined than Glenlivet’s but still quite beautifully built.

Lovely lunch at the Highland Safari!

Finally, before night approached, we went through the town of Pitlochry one last time, going through each of the local shops, and buying some lovely lambswool scarves. After (finally!) homemade pasta for dinner, it was time to pack up and get ready for the early start tomorrow. Although we’re not really preparing right now, we are playing Mini Jenga from this carton that says ‘those were the days!’. Those were the days, indeed.

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~MW

Note: Once again, I’m sorry for being MIA for the past few months-A Levels is really taking its toll on me, particularly since I’m still doing 5 subjects. I’ve been planning on getting out some Geography stuff alongside a Chinese film review but time is against me O_o

Also as a sidenote, this was written in November 2016-I already edited some rather awkward parts but keep in mind that this was written in a time when I was clearly much happier XD and younger.

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