My adventures in the highlands of Scotland, 2017
If you know me well, then you’ll know I absolutely love Scotland.
There are so many things about it that I adore; the scenery, the history, the people, the accent, the food, the whisky! I can’t help but get the feeling that there is something magical about the Highlands… it is a place of myth and legend, of blood and honour, of family and clan. England (not to mention Ireland and Wales) definitely has its fair share of beautiful hillsides and amazing mountainous regions… but I can honestly say the Scottish Highlands are absolutely incomparable to anything else! I’m not ashamed to admit that I was brought to tears at least twice during our recent trip to Glencoe. Now, I’ve been to some far flung places on God’s green earth in my lifetime, but nothing has taken my breath away as the Highlands did.
As I said before, it’s definitely a land imbued with magical properties…
I have been to Scotland a few times now, but mostly just to the lowlands (Edinburgh, Glasgow, etc), never before had I ventured this deep into the mountains. We chose to drive to Glencoe, rather than catch a train, to ensure we were able to stop along the way at any particularly picturesque points, and I am so glad we did – I would recommend this to anyone planning to travel north of Loch Lomond. The views are utterly jaw-dropping and you wont want to miss a jot. One minute you are zooming through winding roads and thick pine tree forests, then all of a sudden, as you turn a corner – BANG! An astoundingly large loch opens up right before you, with an almost sheer drop down one side of the road. You can feel the mountains moving aside as you hurtle through the countryside, revealing unbelievably spectacular scenery. And then, in a flash, you turn another corner and the view is once again concealed – it’s like you were let in on a secret and for the briefest moment you felt enraptured to be included.
After spending a few days of wallowing in it’s magnificence, it succinctly started to feel as though the Highlands was boasting at us everywhere we want. “You want a loch? Ok, here’s Loch Lochy. Not big enough for you? Fine, here’s Loch Ness! Oh and look here’s a cloud covered mountain, with a tiny bothy nestled in some trees. You want more cloud covered mountains? Suuuure, why the hell not!”
We started to poke fun at the Highlands after a while, as if it were a good friend, mostly to calm our excitement. “Pfft, look at that, how ridiculous. As if you’d put THAT loch at the foot of THAT mountain, who came up with this terrible idea. Oh, put it away Scotland, you’re just showing off now!!”
I am also 99.9% sure I saw our hotel in a dream. Yep, an actual dream! A large house on the very edge of a loch with a valley of mountains looming in the distance. When I found the Ballachulish Hotel online, I couldn’t believe my eyes! I’d found the hotel I saw in a dream! It was a very creaky large house with inhabitants who liked to start their days at 5.45am, unfortunately, but it still had masses of charm (once we’d bought earplugs, anyway). The sitting room boasted 2 large real fires, so on our last night I tiptoed down from our room and curled up with a whisky and my latest Outlander book to flick through a few pages while warming myself. The only thing that could have made it more perfect was a bit of Gaelic folk music and swapping the logs for peat on the fire.
I was very determined to get a shot of our hotel with Loch Leven, and the valley in the distance, from a nearby bridge before we left Scotland, so when we were returning to the hotel on our final day we made sure that our route took us over the bridge. As we drove towards the bridge, the Highlands made one last ditch effort to impress us by providing us with one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen…
“Tut tut, Scotland, ya wee braw show off!”
I hope you enjoy my collection of photos from our Scottish getaway. They are mostly of the beautiful landscape that I captured on my Canon 6D, however my phone tells another story of drinking whiskies & reading books by the fire, of eating haggis, neeps and tatties in the Claichaig Inn (a hikers pub where they stack their soggy boots up around the roaring fire and walk around in socks), and of fan-girl moments in castles that were used for filming Game of Thrones or Outlander. Because as poetic as my photography may be, I’m still just a massive geek!