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Published: September 19th 2011
Greetings from the Scottish Highlands Thursday 8 September We picked up a little hire car, cute VW Polo and ventured up to the Highlands, with our first stop at Glencoe. Well the drive up was spectacular with lots of mountains, waterfalls and moors surrounding us. It is rather unique as you have access to beaches and sea lochs as well as freshwater lakes or lochs.
Where we are staying is where they filmed the Harry Potter films, specifically for the shots of the Hogwarts School of Magic against the Glennfinnan Viaduct.
We stayed at a lovely B&B, Scorrybreac Guest House.
This weekend we can see the Ben Nevis or Highland Warrior Triathlon which is regarded as UK’s toughest triathlon with a 1.9km sea loch swim (very chilly I’d imagine on the plums!@$#!), then a 90km mountain bike and concluded with a 21km hill run to the summit of Britain’s highest mountain ‘Ben Nevis’* and back (*Height is 1300m / 4406 feet).
UPDATE: actual triathlon was cancelled on Saturday for the original course due to rain and wind BUT held on Sunday in a modified format and there were still loads of troopers racing in the
rain for several hours. They breed them tough here in Scotland!!
If you like outdoors activities then this area is marketed as the Outdoor Capital of the UK. You can do sea kayaking, down hill mountain racing on the ski fields, stacks of hiking trails ranging from ‘easy to extreme’ in terms of terrain, technical and navigation skills, then there is skiing, fishing and triathlon.
Friday 9 September – pouring rain most of the day but we ventured up on the trail to Ben Nevis summit. Robbo was not very happy in the wet and lack of visibility “Dave I don’t mind walking but I’m a fair weather walker, golfer, blah blah blah…..”.
You’d think that solid rain would have been a deterrent but oh no, there were lots of other walkers up on this trail given its notoriety as the highest mountain in Britain.
We changed out of our wets and had visit to Fort William township for a spot of tea and scones to warm up.
We had dinner at the GlenCoe Hotel and enjoyed an amazing salmon fillet dish followed by cheese board of Scottish cheeses and oatcakes.
Saturday 10 September – same
weather as day before, pouring rain. We waited for a small break in the rain which lasted all of 3 minutes so off we went regardless to climb to the ‘Lost Valley’ that sits amongst the “The Three Sisters of Glen Coe” which are three prominent ridges of the Bidean range. From the road, lots of tour buses stop here for the ‘money shot’ of the waterfalls coming off the mountains. The Lost Valley has incredible waterfalls, a raging river, glacial rocks and native woodland. With the volume of rain that was falling both today as well over last few days, the walking trail was like a river itself and the rocks were nice and slippery. Lots of scrambling over the rocks and crags both on the ascent and the descent so technically a good trip out.
After our walk and soaking, we headed back for pot of tea & scone before little siesta at the B&B.
Sunday 11 September – even more torrential rain today. We didn’t even bother walking today as it was super solid. Lots of local events were cancelled so we simply took a drive around local area, grabbed a few photos and then arrived
at our next B&B, the Craghaig Inn. Little shaky start as our rooms along with other guests had no heat = freezing rooms (picture 5 degrees) due to a boiler failure, so we had to move into newly assigned rooms. All good though and we had cosy warm toasty room.
Monday 12 September – still continuous downpour of rain but now calling for gale force winds up to 70-miles/per hour at sea level. We just drove to our next B&B in Callander (situated in heart of the Southern Scottish Highlands) with small diversion to the Scottish Power hydro power plant visitor centre, built in 1968 totally underground so rather unique near the Lock Awe village. Over the BBC radio we heard that some ferry services were being cancelled, some rail services were in doubt, only cars were able to cross certain bridges, no high-sided vans etc and even some bridges had been submerged due to rising river and/or lake levels and emergency services were on standby to manage any damage and accidents etc.
We’re NOT enjoying this lack of let up from the rain and high winds. We are definitely over it and would love to be out there
hiking rather than sitting on our ‘Buttowski’s’ but unfortunately we can’t do much.
At time of writing we were looking up movies options in nearby larger town to fill in some time. Also the weather forecast is for much of the same right up until we depart Scotland when it clears to sunny days = Murphy’s Law!!
Tuesday 13 September
Well we finally got to climb a mountain today in the WET but good to get out after two days of sitting around. We climbed Ben Ledi (879m), a mountain on the edge of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. We had hoped to get views of the Stirling** Castle in the distance but we had no visibility with the rain and strong wind unfortunately so had to turn back before reaching summit.
Big hike followed by yummy vegetable lentil soup and chunky brown bread at the Mohr Tearooms. Just delicious!!
Given the weather was still ‘sh%te’, we drove to Stirling to go to the movies. We saw Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre”, Dave’s pick (not…..initially) and we both loved it!!
** This town used to be the capital of Scotland before Edinburgh and referred to
Aye...a bonny scottish day
getting ready to go climb some mountains
the ‘gateway to the Highlands’.
Also film trivia, if you saw Mel Gibson in ‘Braveheart’, this is the location historically where the battle scene took place where Mel famous cried to his fellow Scots ‘They may take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEDOM!!’
Wednesday 14 September
We are skipping for joy and dancing a little jig, well Robbo was literally. Why? The sun is back so we went off to climb a mountain. Today was Ben More standing at 1,179m. No real trail here just a faint goat like path weaving up to a false summit with a straightforward climb to top. Dave completed in record time & gale force winds, loving every minute of it. Robbo did not make this mountain climb as she slipped into creek during early crossing so boots soaked was not a cheery soul and headed back to car instead and escape chilly winds.
It was a great day to see with some sun. We had an amazing seafood meal at Mohr Seafood Fish Café. Started with grilled sardines (big ones too) followed by salt & pepper quid for Dave and Robbo had smoked mackerel beetroot pate on sour dough
One of the countless waterfalls
although we needed to cross the river to reach the top (robbo not to happy about it)
toast – so picture beetroot dip with tiny chunks of seafood. It was delicious and super quick entrée or picnic that you could substitute with smoked salmon, so on worth.
Thursday 15 September
Glorious sunshine again!! No choice but to do a ‘wee’ walk before we left for next destination. Dave climbed Ben Ledi and made it to the summit (we attempted two days earlier but rain, wind and poor visibility held us back reaching the top). After glorious 3 ½ walking we had bite of lunch in Callander before driving back to Edinburgh and catching a flight to Amsterdam. It was a good but short stay in Scotland with so much to explore another time.
Signing off for now. xx
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