And then we stayed in Edinburgh. And it snowed.
And then it snowed again.
I took some photos.
This is them. (Part 1, I've split this into bits because of the number of photos.)
We went to Atholl Palace Hotel on Valentine's Day itself, stayed overnight, and came back the next day. Apparently, even for Valentine's Day most people don't want to travel to the Highlands on a weekday, so Jane managed to find us a great deal.
On the way up there was a great view of dark clouds forming over Edinburgh. We live in front of Arthur's Seat (the pointy bit on the far left), and the Pentland Hills are on the right. The photo was taken from somewhere near Burntisland, on the other side of the Firth of Forth*.
I couldn't decide which of these two I liked more, so you get both:
It started snowing on our way up, as we were passing through Perth. It was very pretty, albeit slightly worrying as we hadn't really expected it. By the time we got to Pitlochry it looked very scenic, and I got this shot of our train as it headed northwards towards The Cairngorms.
and this one of the station looking delightfully scenic:
Leaving the station, Jane started giggling a lot. Because of this:
We then walked through the snow for about 20 minutes, Jane reassuring me that we were definitely going the right way (as she'd been there before on a spa weekend with two of her friends). She was, of course, entirely correct, and there was a lovely walk up the hill to the hotel, past this little waterfall:
A little further along was this fountain:
The hotel was on a bit more hill, above this fountain, and I got this photo looking back down on it:
At the top of the steps, we were greeted by a lion:
(other than this, and the snow, the hotel bore no resemblance to the Overlook Hotel)
This was the steps up. You can imagine how much fun that climb was for a six-month pregnant Jane
Fortunately, she survived the climb, they let us in to our room two hours early (the original plan of wandering around Pitlochry having been cancelled. Due to snow.) And then she got to pose in front of the snowy vista. (You'll have to excuse the lighting. There are limits to what my phone can do when sitting in the dark in front of a blinding white window)
The view from the bedroom window wasn't bad:
Having settled in and warmed up we then pulled out coats and boots back on and headed out to take a look at the area. This is the local dam, which is part of a whole series of hydro-electric plants had a salmon ladder, although that was sadly not in use. You can see it in the distance here
The romantic tradition of attaching locks to bridges with names on had clearly taken hold, and I was terribly amused by the third one here
Coming up a dam, with the water a long way beneath you, and suddenly seeing water at the same level is a very odd experience
We then retreated to the hotel to warm up again (after taking in the visitors centre), and had a lovely meal. The curtains were shut at that point (huge thick curtains they were too, thick enough to be used as carpets). But the following day at breakfast we had a lovely view down the valley from our table:
The next day we wandered up the road to Blair Atholl itself, went for a lovely walk around the surrounding area, had a delicious lunch in a pub next to the train station, and then got the train home again
*Which I just discovered is a fjord.
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