My partner thinks I am crazy for always wanting to trek up to the Scottish Highlands. When I say “trek” I mean drive through the windy roads, viewing the dramatic scenery of epic mountains and waterfalls from the car, with the occasional stop for pictures. If you have never driven up through the Scottish Highlands – put it on your bucket list. The Highlands are one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever had the pleasure to witness. Forever changing with the seasons, and no matter what time of year you drive through you are always bound to be marvelled by drama on the mountains.
I’ll do my best to name all the places along the way – I don’t know the history, geography or statistics, all I know is that it felt free, open and complete. We drove all the way up to the Isle of Skye, which was a bucket list destination for me. And I will go again – this much I know, for sure.
Our journey starts off in Edinburgh along the A82, the scenic route, which takes a little longer but is worth the time. We travel up through Glasgow and Balloch. An hour and half in and we stop off at Loch Lomond; wee break and a spot of site seeing. One of the most beautiful fresh waters lochs on the fringes of Edinburgh far away enough from the city’s hustle and bustle. This day we’d set off early as it’s a 6 hour drive to Skye, longer with stops. The Loch is so still and the air is alpine, there is nothing to do but stop and breathe it with all your senses. We grab a coffee and continue our journey through the Trossachs National Park up through to Glencoe village – in the North Western part of Scotland. It is here where the atmosphere starts to change. The air feels fresher and the vast open space gives way to deep calm breathing within ones self. Your shoulders literally melt away from your ears and you can feel the spaces between every organism in your body.
The deep valley and towering mountains of Glen Coe were carved out centuries ago by icy glaciers and volcanic explosions. It’s remarkable to learn that most of the mountainous region of the Highlands were once volcano’s. It may seem obvious to everyone, but I am always so stunned by this bit of information. Perhaps because there aren’t many dormant volcano’s that we can get close to in the UK.
Glen Coe is STUNNING, full of gorgeous little streams with many spots to stop, breathe and take pictures. There is a visitor centre nearby and many a trekker, complete in their walking attire, can be seen meandering through the glens. On the way there is a little white hut; Lagangarbh Hut. It sits at the foot of Bauchaille Etive Mor, Glenco and you can see streams of water rushing down the mountain. The hut has always intrigued me; who lives there, what do they do for food/heating/hot water? Do they live like Vikings with wild boar cooking on great roaring fires? …and animal skins decked around the place to keep the hut warm! The very first time we drove passed I remember seeing a blue camper van parked outside the little white hut with the stream running in front of it. I was mesmerised by the vibrant colours pinging out against the stark and treacherous yet devastatingly beautiful landscape.
We pass the little white hut and drive on to the Three Sisters; Three individual mountains rising out of the earth, standing tall and proud with their heads far up in the clouds. They are captivating. They are EPIC. Water gushes down the mountains and the scenery is unlike anything else on this planet. We are not on the set of The Lord of the Rings. It. Is. All. Real and it STILL takes my breath away! Our drive continues up through the mountainous terrain passing more waterfalls, and a place where lovers leave locks in celebration of their love. It is romantic just like the vista. I too will leave a lock there, one day.
Our next stop is the Green Welly Stop, Crainlarich, about 50 mins from Loch Lomond. The Green Welly Stop is a third generation family owned business, priding itself on providing good food and fine shopping.
We sit outside, blessed with beautiful weather. We nod to the other travellers and bikers taking advantage of the good weather, and who also have the same idea as us; road trip! The food is substantial; hearty mushroom soup, with a tuna toastie. Sounds gross but it works! We bask in the sun a little more and listen to the light hubbub of conversation around us before playfully get back into the car. Onlookers witness the spark between us both – I love that. I am a fan of PDA – not snogging each others faces off but play fighting and messing about, being tactile – like we don’t have a care in the world. And in that moment… we don’t.
We pass through Fort William. There is no fort just blue skies and rainbows and then the long drive towards Skye begins. I am so excited as this is the first time we have driven this far up. It fills me with joy and adventure; a road trip with my best friend and partner in crime. We have The Battersea Poltergeist podcast on – it’s not dark enough yet to get scared. The sun is high and we make a few pit stops more; gushing streams of clear, cool fresh water in which we dip our feet and soak up the sun. It is bliss. It is perfect.
We drive for quite some time, the conversation switching between personal and professional; ideas for podcasts, shows and our own desires. There are bouts of comforting silence too, and we stop so that T can have a little nap. As he naps, I head out on to the hills. Miles and miles of deep purple heather decorate the mountains and in the distance I can hear a gentle trickling of water. It is so peaceful, the sun is beaming down. There is no danger, just us and nature.
There are hardly any cars on the road as we stop again to take it all in. There is not even a breeze – just warm pleasant sun that allows us to be lazy and relaxed. We step out of the car and explore, together. A little disused railway track, a village visible in the distance – its white huts popping out, the colours of this enchanted landscape bewitching. It is magical and what I notice is that in its enormity, the design is perfect. There is not a stem, cloud, waterfall, flower or stone out of place. Nature is perfect …and we are perfect in Nature.
Next time in our reviews section we talk about the Isle of Skye; Islands, Castles, Orange Moons, Fish Pie and more! Until then…