After a few nights in Edinburgh we decided to hire a car and see as much of the high country as we could in a few days. It’s an absolute pleasure to be back driving on the left and amongst motorists who obey most of the road rules. Our Vauxhall Corsa has been pretty faithful too, even though I got it airborn at one point, but that’s another story… suffice to say you should slow down for cattle grids.
We set out on Monday morning and the first stop was Stirling, home to a castle that you’ve probably heard about and a 220ft monument to William Wallace. We had a good time in the castle, a middle aged man pretended to fire arrows at me from the parapets when we were in the garden, that was amusing. The Highland divisions of the British army have a museum in the castle as well with lots to see.
We continued driving north & west as the landscape grew mountainous and grander. We passed through the most amazing terrain of brilliant greens, jagged rocks, moss and lakes. I was lost for words most of time, hopefully we’ve captured some of it in the pictures but I’m sure they’re nothing like being there. The most impressive section of the drive is through Glencoe, with massive mountains on both sides, such grandeur! Also some interesting history there as it was the location of the massacre of the MacDonald clan, a dark day for Scotland. It was getting towards dinner time when we arrived at Fort William and found a nice B&B on the shore of the loch.
The Isle of Skye was our target for the next day but we stopped off at a few places along the way. First stop was to take a look at Britain’s tallest peak, Ben Nevis. It’d be nice to climb as there’s still a little snow on top even at this time of the year. The next stop was Eilean Donan castle from the Highlander Movies! There can only be one!!!
In a few hours we were across the bridge and on the Isle of Skye. It’s a rather large island, took us the rest of the day to drive around it! It’s basically some huge hills in the middle that spread out and then drop off in cliffs to the sea. I’d heard that they’d shot some of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus out there so I was pretty excited and it didn’t disappoint.
We found a B&B without too much trouble in Portree (one of the larger villages) and grabbed some fish and chips for dinner. We ate it outside in the sun despite the bitterly cold wind. I’ve been trying to find a deep fried mars bar but haven’t had any luck, maybe you need to go to Glasgow for that?
In the morning we headed straight for the island’s only single malt distillery, Talisker, for a tour of the facilities and a little early morning tasting. Nothing warms you up and gets you started for the day like a dram of scotch whiskey 😉 We even saw some barrels they’ve got in storage from 1979 and are holding for some secret special occasion. No one knows what the occasion is though… apart from the boss and he’s not telling.
It was then on to Loch Ness via the Commando monument, we had to cut Inverness from our plans as the drive down to Yorkshire tomorrow would have been too long 😦 We had lunch at Fort Augustus, a nice little village at the south end of the famous Loch Ness, with a fantastic view. The food was pretty average but luckily my expectations for Scottish cuisine were suitably low and I wasn’t terribly disappointed (we only had burgers anyway, I’m not sure how they stuffed those up).
Right now were a few hours south on Loch Lomond in a great B&B. It’s a lot of a fun driving around and stopping in at whichever B&B’s look quaint and comfortable. This one is a real winner, it’s got a great view over the water and there’s a complementary decanter of whiskey in the sitting room 😉
Next stop Yorkshire.