Falling Freely In The Heart Of Scotland

I have always been thrilled by ‘The Science of Risk’, so I seek out ways for that adventure hormone to rush in my adrenal glands. Although I have enjoyed many daring activities in past like bungee jump, flying fox, white water rafting, camping in jungles, trekking on Himalayas, para sailing, para gliding and the biggest adventure of my life – quasi-arranged marriage (a marriage concept prevalent in  parts of Asia when one decides to marry  the individual selected by her/his parents) which turned out to be one best risk I took as I found an amazing partner. Haha! Yet life throws some challenging circumstances to keep the primal fear stored deep inside us as an evolutionary requisite to safety from dangers; it is our duty to jiggle it off and cleanse every cell of our body, like an elephant shakes off excess dust after a dirt bath.

And here I was dangled from an iron cliff again with rubber cords tied on my ankles after six years of my first bungee jump but this time with my partner sharing the adrenaline rush and our toddler encouragingly clapping & waving at his crazy parents, in the heart of Scotland.  An experience to live for sure. Later on, however, he cried his lungs out for not finding us close by and threw away his shoes creating havoc for the lady of the Killicrankie bungee team who offered kid care for the time we could finish the jumps. We chose Pitlochry mainly for bungee jump but found ourselves enveloped in the lap of surreal beauty and 360 degrees of landscapes and activities waiting to please any explorer.

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Pitlochry, famous as the heart of Scotland, is a perfect retreat to enliven your soul over weekend or a few days freedom from the monotone of life. It is located on the river Tummel in Scottish Highlands of Perth & Kinross council.

REACHING – Distance from Edinburgh – 70 miles (Via M90 & A9), from Glasgow – 83 miles (Via M80 & A9) and from Aberdeen – 97 miles (Via A90).

              Train – Approx. one way fares from Edinburgh (£11 – £25), from Glasgow (£11 – £23) and from Aberdeen (£18 – £45). Fares are cheap under discount deals or advance booking. More info – https://www.thetrainline.com/

              Bus – Approx. one way fares from Edinburgh by Scottish Citylink (£11 – £15) or Stagecoach UK (£7 – £12), from Glasgow by National Express (£7 – £11) and from Aberdeen by Scottish Citylink (£16 – £30) or Stagecoach UK (£13 – £18). More info – http://www.citylink.co.uk/ or https://uk.megabus.com/

              Car – Approx. cost of a round trip from Edinburgh (£10 – £18), from Glasgow (£15 – £23) and from Aberdeen (£18 – £25). Travelling by car is the most economical for families and groups however tourists can also consider driving in Scottish highlands for better experience of the place. Non-UK driving license is valid for driving in UK for a year. More info – https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence

STAYING – We booked a B&B through Airbnb. Get a good deal on any hotel booking site or explore the enchanting forests to kill that adventure bug inside you by camping/caravanning at Caravan Parks. Tummel Valley Holiday park, Faskally, Milton of Fonab are some camp & caravan sites in the area. Many cheaper options are available within 20-30 miles from Pitlochry.

Hotels – £80 – £175 average costs per night

B&B – £60 – £150 average costs per night

Camps & Caravans – £45 – £50 for 2 nights

EATING – We enjoyed delicious breakfast prepared by our host. The Pitlochry visitor centre guide-book recommends few destinations like the Old Mill Inn or Mckays Pitlochry for their real ales, draft beers, cocktails, traditional Scottish taste with live music over weekend or Price of India Tandoori restaurant for its authentic Balti dishes and also European dishes to gratify hunger of all. Delightful children’s menu is offered by Café Biba, Drummonds or Mckays. The main street is packed by eateries tempting the good food seekers and offering special delicacies. So you can indulge yourself in all the tastes Pitlochry restaurants have to offer as per your hunger and mood for particular taste.

Average Cost of one meal per person is £10 – £20 and average cost of a kid’s meal is £10.

DOING –

Adrenaline kick seekers – A free-fall from the river Garry bridge in Killicrankie, 3 miles from Pitlochry is a thrill. Do a spiderman jump (one can wear her favourite character’s costume for the jump), or tandem jump with a partner to share the adrenaline rush, or jump in the night. For single parents travelling with kid, the bungee team can provide childcare (on request) till the time your jump is over. It costs £75 per person per jump and a discounted second jump by the same person on the same day at £30 or a package of multiple activities. The jump photos, videos cost additionally. Quad biking, rafting on river Tay and river Tummel, clay pigeon shooting, Bungee Swing,(Planned to start in June 2017), etc. The other location is popular Titan Crane bungeejump in Clydebank, Glasgow.  More info –https://www.bungeejumpscotland.co.uk/

Beauty, Love & Luck Seekers Pitlochry is strikingly exquisite.  Enjoy being an ogler to spectacular panoramas all around. We got a colourful lock from hardware shop near Pitlochry visitor centre, engraved our names and wish with engraving machine, locked it on the bridge near Recreation ground and tossed away the key in the river Tummel. Looking at the bridge view, it can be called “Lovelock Bridge”. Or get entranced by the splendid landscapes while cruising on river with Loch Tay Safaris at a cost of £30 per person and £20 for child. Families get a discounted rate.

Scotch Whisky Seekers Blair Athol Distillery & Edradour Distillery can be captivating for whisky lovers. Blair Athol Distillery is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland working since 1798. Edradour Distillery is Scotland’s last distillery to produce a hand-crafted malt by methods used in long past. A whisky tasting tour is what one need to enjoy and describe the aromas or flavours. I don’t drink hard but have heard other visitors relishing the taste.

History, Heritage & Art Seekers – Blair castle is a treat to history lovers. And Pitlochry Festival Theatre has many wonderful comedy, tragedy play shows, and concerts every day. Pitlochry Dam, Loch Faskally and a fish ladder for thousands of salmons are there to visit.

Highland dance & music Seekers – Visitors can join Scottish country dancing at venues Pitlochry Town Hall or Recreation Ground after 7 pm in summer months of May to September. We went in April so it was a miss. sobs!!

Shop/Souvenir-aholics – Melt Jewellery & Gallery offers a range of jewellery, arts & crafts. Amor Cashmere & Tweed, The Scottish Shop are stockists of scarves, jackets, where you can try to kill your shopping bug with some souvenirs. Scottish handmade soaps or a range of authentic organic skincare products by The Highland Soap Company are good to try. We liked their handmade whisky & honey soap.

Nearby places to Explore – Climbing Schiehallion, the centre of Scotland (also known as Fairy Mountain) is more like a winning experience. 20 miles from Pitlochry, this is the area used by Maskelyne in an experiment to help calculate the mass of the Earth in 1774. We could not go there but it is in our to-do list.

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