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September 30th 2006
Published: September 30th 2006
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Well chaps we finally made it the land of haggis, bagpipes and the most colourful accent (well thats what we think) . And it didn't dissapoint, with mountainous, barren scenery and lush valleys that we'd always imagined.

It all started when Stacey scored a rearrangement with her work schedule, giving us a long weekend that we could take advantage of - and it was definately needed for such a trip; It took about 6 hours to drive from Manchester to Fort William near Ben Nevis, then about 2-3 hours further to Inverness.

We didn't do it all in one go, but decided to walk up Ben Nevis on the friday after a late night drive on thursday, and continue on to Loch Ness and Inverness on Saturday. On our late night drive on thursday, we ran out of CDs to listen to on passing Glasgow - and on turning on the radio, without changing the dial, we were serenaded to piping hot bagpipe music, complete with incidental fiddle and drums. A Scottish welcome indeed.

Ben Nevis was a tough walk. It's the highest mountain in the UK and it was about an 8 hour return trip to the summit. The views from along the trail were fanastic, but what we really noticed was the stark contrast as we ascended. We started in the Glen Nevis valley, unable to see the top of the mountain through the cloud. The beginning of the trail was surrounded by plenty of trees and wildlife, with animals grazing on the slopes. As we continued the landscape seemed to suddenly change to rocky and treeless -boulders covered the mountainside as we approached the top.

At the top of the mountain there were the ruins of an old observatory, as well as an emergency shelter. We were lucky that we were on the leeward side of the mounain (Is that the right term for on the calmer side?) so it was relatively still on the way up. There were plenty of other walkers we met on the way, politely acknowledging each other on passing and occasionaly providing advice as to the amount of time left to the top. The mix of accents we found were mostly german and english, with a few scottish people out for their morning jog.

We stayed at the Glen Nevis caravan park in the valley below the mountain,
Ben with Scottish CapBen with Scottish CapBen with Scottish Cap

Bought from Salvation Army Shop, Inverness
with good views to the surrounding hills. They had all the usual facilities, including showers with bagpipe music in the morning. A lovely way to wake up, and to keep people from staying in for too long!

On saturday we continued north to Inverness on some of the backroads, passing lochs and little towns. It seemed much more spread out than England, with the distance between the villages quite long. It's also very barren and harsh countryside, which I can imagine would have made hard work for settling people.

We wondered around the northern town of Inverness and had some lunch, where ben tried some Haggis which turned out to be quite nice. After some more looking around and some highland shopping it was time to turn southward and check out Loch Ness on our way back to Fort William for the night.

Well it was a beautiful wide open loch (the biggest body of water in the UK) with hills sloping down to its shore line. The mysterous Loch Ness monter was sighted at the Loch Ness 2000 visitors centre which we checked out, complete with an audio-visual guide to the myth surrounding the legend about the myth. Very mythical.

It delved into the sightings of the creature, and how sonar technology was used to 'drag' the lake for any mysterious water beasts. Many theories of ancient fish and larger varieties entering the loch were investigated, with most of them brought to rest. There were 578 stuffed monsters in the shop which you pass through on the way out, each of them green. I mean what if the monster was actually purple?

On our way back home we stopped off at Loch Lomond in the south of Scotland - we hadn't seen anything from this area on the way up, and it proved to be just as beautiful as the rest.

It was a great trip and we are looking forward to getting back there soon for a wee bit longer.

Cheerio for now,

Ben and Stace




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Stace playing imaginary fiddleStace playing imaginary fiddle
Stace playing imaginary fiddle

Or giving her arm an imaginary dutch rub
KampingKamping
Kamping

The van in its natural environment at the foothils of Ben Nevis.
Slow ChildrenSlow Children
Slow Children

Uplifting the souls of the younger generation of this area.
Stacey at  the begining of Loch NessStacey at  the begining of Loch Ness
Stacey at the begining of Loch Ness

Near a little village, Fort something or other. Apologies to the people of Fort something or other for forgetting your town's name.


1st October 2006

biggest loch
sounds like a great trip, just wanted to point out Loch Lomond is the largest area of water in the UK, I live right beside it and your right it is beautiful. kind regards Jane
1st October 2006

loovely!
very printable shots almost looked sort of warm ish
4th October 2006

Wow, what awesome scenery! Fantastic...looks like scotland is going on my itinery.
9th October 2006

Hi dudes
Scottland looks lovely. Reminds me a bit of Tassie. Great photos! See you soon. Mum

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