The long, winding road to Dornie may seem never-ending, but when you finally turn round that last bend and you catch your first glimpse of the timeless beauty of Eilean Donan Castle sitting perfectly placed at the point where Loch Long, Loch Duich, and Loch Alsh meet, you know it was worth the journey.
On Tuesday the 19th of February, we sent our reporter Lori McFarlane and her husband S. (and their baby son) to the Cairngorms of Scotland to feature the area. She stayed in Kingussie and made a point of visiting the Highland Wildlife Park, the CairnGorm Mountain and ate out at 2 local establishments; the Silverfjord Hotel and the Auld Alliance Hotel and Restaurant.
When I heard there were actual, real-life polar bears at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig (near Aviemore), my inner six-year-old sort of burst out in squeal of glee. I must see these polar bears. Now.
This Halloween event is organised by the Highland Council, especially by Gerry Reynolds, and delivered by Eden Court Theatre, Arts in Motion and Fireworx Scotland.
Mar Lodge Estate occupies nearly 7% of the Cairngorms National Park, covering in total 29,380 hectares of some of the most remote and scenic wild land in Scotland, including four of the five highest mountains in the UK.
A magnificent stretch of West Highland scenery - the estate includes the Falls of Glomach and the Five Sisters of Kintail. There is a countryside centre at Morvich Farm, off the A87, which is the best access point to the mountains. Red deer, eagles and other wildlife can be seen in abundance.
Until the early 18th century the settlement was called Kiliwhimin, and the Gaelic name for the modern village is still Cill Chuimein. It was renamed 'Fort Augustus' after the unsuccessful Jacobite Rising of 1715. The accepted etymology is that the settlement was originally named after Saint Cummein of Iona who built a church there. Other suggestions are that it was originally called Ku Chuimein after one of two abbots of Iona of the Comyn clan, whose badge Lus mhic Chuimein refers to the cumin plant, or that it was called Cill a' Chuimein ("Comyn's Burialplace") after the last Comyn in Lochaber.
Scotland offers a wide variety of ascents, from gentle rolling lowland hills to some very exposed routes in the moorlands and mountains. The term climbing is used for the activity of tackling the more technically difficult ways of getting up hills involving rock climbing while "hillwalking" refers to the easier routes.