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Published: September 8th 2019
The locals claim that May is the driest month in Scotland. Well August/September must be when the Sottish monsoons arrive as our 4 days on the West Coast and the Isle of Skye were quite wet. When in Gairloch, we managed to hike up Beinn Eighe (pronunced Ben A) which was a good work out. At an elevation of appx 750 meters, we started to show our age!! Beautiful scenery at the top and lots of fresh water streams rolling down the mountains. Gairloch, for a small town, has a very interesting museum that provided a great deal of information of past life in the community. We also had a nice dinner at Badachro Inn which looks over a remote harbour about 1/2 hour drive outside of town.
Off to the Isle of Skye for a couple days of touring and hiking. There are numerous coastal drives that provide superb scenery and the island has a certain charm, similar to PEI in Canada, although different characteristics. Isle of Skye is the 2nd most popular tourist destination in Scotland behind Edinburgh. The roads, restaurants and the main town of Portree were all very busy. Talisker Distillery is located on the Island
and it’s one of the oldest in Scotland. Also there is an excellent museum outside of Portree that depicts island life through a number of Croft buildings (Crofts are parcels of land that were worked by tenants who paid rent to the landowners). With the abundance of seafood, needless to say, we had a couple of excellent meals on the island.
After a short ferry ride, we journeyed back to the mainland towards Fort William. Along the way, there was a non planned stop in Glenfinnan the location of the rail viaduct that’s in one of the famous scenes from Harry Potter. We managed to spend most of the day in the area doing some hiking, having lunch on a converted train dining car and waiting to get pictures of the Jacobite Steam Train(aka Hogwort’s Express) that still runs from Fort William to Mallaig on the coast. You can book this train but it takes months to get a reservation. Fort William is a hiking center as it is closest to Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Great Britain. The weather was unpredictable so we settled for a very comfortable hike to one of the falls and a visit
Viaduct used by Hogwort’s Express
to Glencoe the sight the infamous MacDonald massacre. This is one of the most scenic areas of Scotland with wonderful vistas.
After a brief visit to Oban to visit the distillery, we finish off our Scotland adventure in Glasgow. We were quite impressed with the city‘s history and architecture. It’s the largest city in Scotland and has been transitioning as an industrial hub to an interesting tourist destination. As usual, the ”hop on hop off” bus provided a good overview and we did manage to spend some time at various museums which mostly have free admission. Our British friends will note that in our “drive by” of the Scotia Pub where Billy Connolly and Gerry Rafferty performed in the early days of the Humblebums.
This concludes are trip to Scotland and we very much enjoyed the experience. It has so much history and a strong/deep connection to Canada. Travelling about is fairly easy, although the roads are quite narrow with little or no shoulders, so driving requires a lot of concentration. There are plenty of good restaurants and the Scottish people are very friendly and helpful. The weather requires clothing for rapidly changing conditions, however, we did experience
Doesn’t seem to fit
Next door to Glasgow Central train Station
some nice comfortable days. With the British pound at 1.65 CDN$, it is a little expensive particularly in restaurants etc.
We plan to spend the Winter (Jan-March) in Florida so our next Travel Blog will likely cover our planned trip to Portugal/Spain in May/June 2020.
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