26. Scotland holidays in a nutshell

Siegen, Germany, 02.11.2016.

After three beautiful weeks in Scotland, I am now back in Germany to prepare for my upcoming Canada- adventure. However, this blog entry will not be about my preparations but about the holidays we had. Let’s review briefly what happened and lets see some pictures of the last part of the trip.

On October 10th, I drove from Gravesend to Aberdeen to pick up Glenn and then we went on to Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park. We spent a few days there before we headed up north to Achiltibuie for my half marathon and to Ullapool. Unfortunately, we then only spent two days in the spectacular area north of Ullapool (Assynth). In hindsight, we should have stayed there longer. But what can you do when you plan a trip? After Ullapool, we drove south to Portree, Isle of Skye. We stayed there for four days and drove into each direction of the Isle once to see its most important attractions. Our next stop was Duror, next to Loch Linhe, where we probably chilled the most during our trip. But that was also necessary and we enjoyed that as well. After that, we spent some time in Arrochar which is in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. There, we had our most memorable mountain climb at Ben Lui, which became known to us as the “Fog and Mud- Mountain”. Could have been more fun. 🙂 Finally, our last stop was Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. We spent another two days there before Glenn flew back home on October 30th and I drove down again to Gravesend.

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23.10.: The hot Seafood platter at the Seafood Café, including: Scallops, lobster, crab, langouste, oyster, mussels, clam and razor clam.
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24.10.: Dunstaffnage castle.
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24.10.: McCaig’s “Tower” at Oban.
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25.10.: Ben Lui (1130m, left) and Beinn a’Chleibh (916m, rechts), both in clouds.
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25.10.: Muddy way up to Ben Lui. Very uncomfortable way up to the pinnacle.
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25.10.: One of the very rare moments in which the pinnacle of Ben Lui was NOT in clouds.

 

Now, what was really nice and enjoyable about Scotland? Actually, very many things of which I will now only mention the most outstanding. We had truly amazing food at the scorrybreac restaurant in Portree and the Seafood Café at Loch Leven. Of the many mountains we climbed, the Sgurr na Banachdaich (Cuillin, Isle of Skye) was the one we enjoyed the most. The whole way up was already great but the view on top of the mountain was unbeatable.When it comes to the landscape, the Assynth area was outstanding with the Achmelvich beach being an absolutely amazing sight in the middle of the Scottish Highlands. And what castle was the best one? Probably the Eilean Donan Castle but Sterling Castle was also really nice. Finally, the city of Edinburgh was also really amazing and the Old Town as well as the many sights of the city (especially the Scottish National Museum) are absolutely worth seeing. But these were only the absolute highlights. Overall, we have seen very many beautiful things on the trip which cannot all be mentioned here.

Okay, and what was not so nice? First of all, my car trips up and down from Scotland were a nightmare. On each way, I lost between 2 and 3 hours in traffic jams, really bad. Then, our accomodations in Portree and Arrochar were far away from beeing great. Food- wise, we really tried to get a good apple-crumble but despite several attempts, we could not get one. The apple- crumbles we got were between 2 and 4 on a scale of 1 (very bad) to 10 (greatest ever). Also, we were a bit disappointed about the Isle of Skye. The Isle is always advertised as being especially beautiful, having the greatest landscape in Scotland, etc. Yes, there are very beautiful spots on the Isle, including the Sgurr na Banachdaich. But overall, we found that the Assynth- landscape was a bit rougher, diverse and more colorful. Overall, in our mind the Isle of Skye is not bad or anything but we felt that it its beauty is overrated in the public opinion. Thus, we should have spent less time on the Isle. But all in all, there were only very few negative aspects on our trips. Interestingly, the often chastised Scottish weather was not too bad during our trip. We only had 3 days of rain during our time while it was mainly at least dry if not sunny. So we were really lucky in this regard. 🙂

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25.10.: Ice buildups at the top of the Ben Lui.
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25.10.: Pinnacle of the Ben Lui in clouds. While we were there, it never cleared up.
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25.10.: While climbing Ben Lui, we could witness how new clouds formed continuously and moved towards the pinnacle.
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25.10.: Ridge between Ben Lui and Beinn a’Chleibh.
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27.10.: Wallace Monument at Sterling.
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29.10.: View from Calton Hill onto Edinburg City. Edinburg Castle is on the right.

 

And what did we miss on our trip? What else is there to see in Scotland? Well, first of all we neither saw the Orkney- nor the Shetland- Islands. Also, we were told that Harris- Island north of the Isle of Skye is really nice. Then, we had no chance to see the regions way up north and east of the Scottish mainland. There are no more bigger cities up there but for someone who loves nature, these regions may be worth seeing. When it comes to the major cities, we were not able to see Glasgow and Dundee. Glasgow is said to be less beautiful than Edinburg but as tastes are different, I would rather see the city for myself before judging here. In the Highlands, I would love to spend more time in the Cairngorms National Park and in the Assynth- area. Finally, we were also not able to see the Scottish Lowlands as we spend most of the time in the Highlands. So visiting the Lowlands could also be an option during another Scotland trip.

Our trip to Scotland was just beautiful and I am very grateful that I was able to do it. In Glenn, I had a great companion with whom I had a lot of fun during the whole time. Thanks for coming with me and being part of this magnificent trip, Glenn. Hope to see you next year in Canada as well. Wherever we will be there then, East Coast, West Coast, Yukon or somewhere else.:-)

Today’s musik advice is a piece of good old punk rock. I especially like their older albums. Here’s a classic, already caricatured by Weird al Yankovic.

Offspring – Come out and play

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Author: Ralf

Passionate Canada -Visitor and -Lover. Ex- Army Officer and Retail Manager. Long distance runner, climber, hiker, fan of all kinds of games and animal friend. Loves music but has a weird taste: British Metal, German Gangsta-Rap, some Dance-pieces (mostly 90s), non- lyric beats and most Rock/Punk- music.

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