Updated: Feb 12
I've always seen the beauty of Scotland from the comfort of my living room but it is somewhere that has appealed to me, the ruggedness and the intrigue of these massive lochs. So out came the map and the planning began, Scotland was very alien to me, uncharted waters so a lot of clever planning was needed if I wanted to get a taste of what I’d seen on the telly and of course some good landscape photography. Putting a week aside and mapping out the road trip I decided to let the train take the strain and pick up a hire car in Edinburgh so it made perfect sense to arrive in Edinburgh around lunchtime, which gave me the afternoon to take in the Castle and the other sites around the city with an overnight stay in a Premier Inn Hub which was like a little space-age capsule but it was only for a night so it was fine. Picking up the hire car, I had worked out that I did not want to be driving any more than two hours a day between stops so I roughly worked out each day was going to be about one and a half hours. So first stop was Lochearnhead a village on the edge of a Loch which nestles on the east side of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. This route from Edinburgh took us on the M9 then the A84, as soon as we hit Callender inside the National Park it was quite obvious that this whole trip was going to have the wow factor on every turn. The road ran along the side of Loch Lubnaig which was just stunning and of course, in the true British style, we needed a good cuppa and found a lovely place called The Cabin which sits on the side of the Loch. I hadn’t even stirred my sugar and the camera was already on the tripod and I took the early decision to leave the camera rigged up on the tripod on the back seat as I had a feeling I might stopping like an excited kid, this was going to be a road crawl rather than a trip.
Lochearnhead didn't disappoint with the B&B looking over the Loch what more could you want. The weather was so changeable with different skies and light moods spreading across hills and Lochs. After exploring the area it was time for tea (yes I did have haggis and it was actually quite nice), an evening walk to the top end of the Loch is where I had my first encounter with the famous Scottish midges.
Day two we were back on the A82 heading north-west the small ferry port at Corran it was this part of the journey that took us through the breathtaking scenery of Glencoe and I mean breathtaking. The very short ferry ride at Corran took us over to the Western Highlands to our next stop which was a beautiful village called Strontian, where again we had a lovely warm welcome, cream tea, pub dinner and of course great scenery. It was actually in Strontian where not only did we come across untouched Lochs and stunning views but what must have been the Scottish annual midge convention. I came across a rush of water cascading over rocks coming down from the hill and within minutes I was in the water with a camera and tripod like a little boy on his first fishing trip. With my head thinking this was great the midges only had one thing in mind, English blood well any blood really, in only a t-shirt and no midge spray, let's just say that night sleep was a little uncomfortable.
Day Three was an early start, armed with local knowledge from our lovely hosts we had a list of places to explore on route to our next destination. We set off on the B8007 to Kilchoan where we thought we would have a quick diversion leaving the car and jump on the ferry to Tobermory, the Scottish weather can be very changeable and the heavens opened making the trip around Tobermory a quick round one which was a shame as it looked very quaint with its different coloured buildings. Back on the ferry and back to Kilchoan, we headed north to a place called Sanna Sands, the roads are very narrow but the senary again was stunning. The route to at Sanna Sands was very rural, isolated and wild but that's why we choose to come to see Scotland and it didn't disappoint. The serenity of Sanna Sands was just awesome one of those moments where you leave the hustle and bustle of city life and find that peace and calmness. Watching the clouds starting to form again out at sea it was time to get back on the road, back on the B8007 to Salen then head further north on the A861 picking up the A830 to Fort William. This had probably been the longest day of driving around 3 hours in total but well worth it taking the coast road, there is just so much to see so you don't even notice the driving and we had many camera stops and a cuppa. We reached Glenfinnan which would be our last stop before Fort Willaim, most of the tourists had gone home (and the midges) so it was quite quiet. Glenfinnan, of course, made famous for being used in the Harry Potter films as well as the spectacular views we did see the train across the viaduct which was a lovely end to the day.
We had planned to use Fort William as a base and had booked to stay three days branching out in a different each day. Day four took us to Fort Augustus which sits at the most southern point of Loch Ness (more of a bucket list visit) and Day five was a bit of a day off from driving as we explored more locally climbing the Glenn Nevis trail which wraps around the bottom of Ben Nevis. The trail which in parts is quite tricky especially loaded with camera gear and in parts not for the faint-hearted (as the sign in the car park pointed out fatalities have occurred on this trail) but did conjure up some spectacular views on route and a beautiful setting of a stream and waterfall at the top.
As I mentioned Fort William was going to be a base for three days but having seen the serenity and peacefulness of the Strontian, Kilchoan and Sanna Sands being back into more commercial surroundings of Fort William and tourist attraction of Loch Ness we cut our losses on the third night and headed South on the A828 with another visit to the beautiful Glencoe, just driving the other way it all looks completely different the onwards south staying in little B & B in Barcaldine outside Oban near Loch Creran back in the wilderness. Day six started with a quick look at an old Scottish Castle and a trip around Oban before heading east on the A85 joining the A82 heading south to our final resting place staying in the popular village of Luss which is set in the east part of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and sits right on the bank of Loch Lomond itself. On route to Luss, we came across the Falls Of Falloch which is a beautiful setting of waterfalls and rushing water so the camera was out again but this time I was covered in Smidge (repellent) lesson learned. Luss is a pretty bustling village with its rows of cottages and gardens which also boasts great views at the end of the pier with the peak of Ben Lomond in the distance.
Scotland was everything and more, its beauty is really something to behold with stunning scenery at every turn, I can't wait to return to explore even more remote adventures.
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