Crossing the Highlands

The Scottish countryside is nothing short of enchanting. In autumn, Andrew and I left from Edinburgh for a sun-filled journey through green meadows and wide wheat landscapes to explore the Scottish Highlands. The first stop after an early morning departure from the medieval capital was Kildrummy castle in Aberdeenshire.

It’s a three or so hour harrowing drive on narrow streets carved across hills with little sign of life between the occasional marked sheep, plenty of blind turns with “passing places” (the subtle British street sign for — now there is room for two cars on this two lane road) and the further north we get the steeper the terrain climbs. Golden sunlight brightens stone farmhouses and gives a red glow to the endless praire.

To plan our route, we used atlases because (1) we were hoping to stay off the beaten path and take the back roads and (2) the last time we had used an atlas, I led us to the wrong country… will never live that one down… and so it was time to delve into the ancient, pre-smartphone art of using a map.



The most wonderful thing about using a hard atlas is that you can trace your routes, every road you turned down on purpose or by chance, any quaint little village where you had that pint — it’s all on record with a pen.

Scoping out the back roads in the Scottish highlands we quickly learned that the some of the very main roads according to the atlas felt like remote pathways that seemed to go yonder forever without a soul or a town in sight. At times, we just felt grateful we had enough gas in the tank and gunned the pedals to get to our destination before dark, but the beauty is endearing.

Just afore sundown, we arrived to Kildrummy Castle. November is low tourism season in the Scottish highlands so alas, there were only two other guests in the entire place.


Hallway on main floor

The staff were bubbly and warm. We got all decked out and dressed up for our candlelight dinner, and afterward polished off the rest of our bottle of red in the drawing room, not another soul to be seen. There were so many corridors and tucked away libraries and reading rooms and yet so quiet, it was like having the entire castle for ourselves. Definitely a romantic getaway for those of you coupled up out there.


Wine in the drawing room

In the morning, we watched the morning fog lift from our bedroom window, the birds sang and ducks roamed. It was time for breakfast and for the next leg of the journey. Onward to the area that brews Glenlivet.


Castle breakfast

Note: Check the dates of your preferred Whisky breweries before you go. We were traveling the week leading up to Thanksgiving but some of the tasting rooms were already closed for the season.

If you like, you may book your stay directly by clicking here.