In just a few days, I’ve fallen for a small town in Northern Scotland. There’s not much here – no taxis, one bus on Sundays, 2 coffee shops, 1 coop that serves as a supermarket, and they don’t even have a bank or ATM machine!
What they do have, however, is character, and cows. Yep, there’s a small herd of Highland cows that graze in a nearby field. The people here are lovely – one night at the pub on a Saturday and I feel like I’ve met people that could be longtime friends. Amy works at the rail station and I waived hello on my way back from Inverness and said a quick hello. Lindsay manages The Tipsy Laird, the neighborhood pub that stays open longer than anyone else. On Monday night, since they don’t serve food (the cook has the night off) she told me to eat at another local restaurant and tell them she sent me! (They were extra nice.) Ian (I think his name was Ian) proposed to me at the pub where I eloquently turned him down. Even the local town drunks are friendly and want to know about you!
On a Monday night, there’s only one place serving food after 8pm so it’s rather busy – busy means there are still two tables open. You can walk down a local path into a local forest, or travel a few kilometers to Cairngorm National Park and hike the tallest mountain in Scotland and find yourself on hills covered with Heather and views that will take away so much of your breath you’ll need to sit down.
The food is not exceptional but the whiskey is abundant. I’ve met so many wonderful people by just walking over to them and starting a conversation – including asking if I could share a table with a couple at a local restaurant since it was the only one outside.
Dogs are welcome in pubs and restaurants and mostly quite friendly and love being pet and getting attention. (My kind of town!) My Bed and Breakfast owners are absolutely lovely and I’ve met tons of people in the common rooms. One morning I even gave an adorable little girl a stuffed animal I had bought and didn’t have room for. She hugged it tight, and I felt warmed through to know it went to a good home. (It was a cow, of course!)
This glorious town is Kingussie. I don’t think it’s known for anything in particular, though it’s nearby other towns that are. You could easily miss it on the map, and possibly come here and wonder why. But when you’re looking for a tiny town with lovely people, so little to do that you can just enjoy nature, or quiet, or reading, then what a perfect place to be. I’m so glad I was!