Scotland: first impressions
It’s been a dream of mine to head to the motherland since I was a little girl. This year, I got to realise that dream by travelling to London, Scotland (and Paris) and I am SO happy I waited until I was in my mid-twenties to go. Why? Maturity. A finer sense of sacrifice and, thus, a higher appreciation for what I was experiencing. I was in Scotland from 9-15 May.
Driving through Scotland for the first time ever: I felt it. I was home. I couldn’t keep the grin from my face. After flying in to Glasgow from London, we caught a bus from the airport to our Enterprise car pick-up location. This was 3 stops away from the airport, and about £50 cheaper than picking it up from the airport!
Travel tip for Scotland: there are a whole heap of car rental places just outside airports. Look up a bus route to get there and it’ll save you some dosh!
We’d had a horror of a morning – up at 5.30am, caught a cab to Stansted Airport in London, it took us TWO HOURS to get through security at Stansted (the flight was an hour and a half total) and we nearly missed out flight, when we got to the airport we found that our Airbnb for that night had cancelled our accommodation and I couldn’t find anything reasonably priced anywhere else. Oh well, I managed not to panic because we were in SCOTLAND!
Travel tip for Scotland: if anything goes wrong, just remember you are in Scotland and you’ll instantly feel better!
Anyway, we picked the car up and I was elated. Everywhere I looked I could see beautiful mountains, rolling fields, and something Scottish. I had been waiting more than 20 years for this trip. I was so happy!
Our Enterprise agent was great and recommended a beautiful place at Loch Lomond for lunch. It had a stunning view of the Loch and it was a nice way to start our trip! We then drove further and found a place called Firkin Point. It was at this point that I just had to sit and stare at the view.
My life is generally stressful. Four days in London and I started to unwind. An hour in Scotland and I had relaxed.
I penned this at Firkin Point:
This place is beautiful. I feel at home. I could look as this loch forever, live in the mountains with the greenery and the beautiful, blue lake. I have a grin that I can’t wipe off my face. Ross is taking beautiful photos; I am sitting with my notebook and pen. Dogs bound up to us, momentarily free from the leash. Their excitement is contagious and I feel the freedom and the ease of my sorrows, stresses and fears. Skimming rocks surround me, a breeze chills my ears and the tip of my nose, but the sun balances it out and warms my legs and hair. I wonder what it would be like to swim here in the summer? The water is freezing now, but it may still warm. A deep drop just past the shore is visible. Does Nessie have a friend here?
We continued driving, taking note that you could camp at Firkin Point. In fact…
Travel tip for Scotland: you can camp pretty much anywhere. Sometimes you will need to pay, and occasionally there are restrictions, but you’re actually allowed to just set up on the side of the road…
Ross was incredibly tired, so he had a sleep in the car while I drove. I saw a sign pointing to the Falls of Falloch and thought, “Why not?” So I pulled into the parking area, grabbed a camera, and went exploring. I found a large waterfall with a big pool at the bottom, and there were people jumping off the rocks and into the water. My type of place! I climbed and explored, exactly the way I like to do it back home. The similarities between Scotland and Australia were unexpected.
I got to the top of the waterfall and found a shallower pool where some locals had added a rope swing and some other recreational objects. There were a few people splashing around so I did my best to not be a total creep but also yearned to join them!
I trudged back to the car and Ross was still asleep, so I started driving toward Glencoe. I stopped a few times along the way to find some beautiful views and local spots. I highly recommend doing this: amble your way around.
The mountains around Glencoe are stunning. They are huge, and they are snowcapped – even in May. We spent some time taking photos of the mountains, but Ross wanted to take more photos so I decided to go for a little gallivant down the hill. The Great Glen Walk goes right through here, so I stumbled my way down to the track and then across it to a creek running along the base of the mountains. I stumbled into another slice of heaven (and nearly broke my neck falling down it a little bit). A creek was surrounded by beautiful trees with birdsong emanating from them.
It was getting quite late (we didn’t realise how late it was because it was so light!) so we drove on toward Fort William. We stopped in at the Glencoe Visitor Centre on the way to see if they were open. They weren’t.
Travel tip for Scotland: just because something isn’t open doesn’t mean that their wifi isn’t on!
We kept driving as it looked like there was no accommodation in Glencoe. Driving along Loch Linnhe, there were a whole heap of B&Bs on the way. But nowhere caught our attention like the little cabins we stayed in that had a massive sign saying, “Pub. Food. Rooms” on its roof. It was very to-the-point, just the way we like! We had dinner and stayed at the Inchree Centre, just off Loch Linnhe. There was a girl working there who was SO excited to meet some Australians and was really lovely to us. We had dinner, which was very low-key, and set off to the ferry crossing (Connor Ferry) to watch the sun set behind the mountains.
The light didn’t fade until 10pm.
My first day in Scotland: I wish I could experience it over and over again.