UK Trip 2014 – Scotland Road Trip

travel-scotland-map
Scotland Road Trip Map

I booked a 3 Day Skye Experience tour with the Highland Experience (Adult Price from £140). The tour would take us from: Edinburgh -> Glasgow -> Stirling -> Glen Coe -> Eilean Donan Castle -> Skye -> Inverness -> Loch ness -> Pitlochry -> Glasgow -> Edinburgh.

I was pretty excited about this tour. Edinburgh impressed me so much that I had no doubt that the rest of the Scotland would too! 🙂

1. Scotland Road Trip Day 1

A Spectacular Route North route to Skye takes you past beautiful Stirling Castle, across the brooding expanse of Rannoch Moor and through Glen Coe. As the road nears the coast, it passes Eilean Donan Castle at Dornie – the castle that featured in the film Highlander. Then it’s time to cross the bridge to Skye.

scotlandHere we go, day 1 of my Scotland road trip and I’m not driving! Yay! I was ready to put up my feet, relax and enjoy the ride. We were a small group of 10 people so it did not take us long to get to know each other. First stop, Glasgow. Glasgow was much busier than Edinburgh. It’s a beautiful city by the river and is only an hour away from Edinburgh. We were told stories about Glasgow, how it had grown to be a financial and education centre for Scotland. Glasgow maintained its historical buildings but I still think that Edinburgh has more character.

I might sound like a broken record but Scotland is just so beautiful. Everyone was amazed and our cameras were overworked. Glen Coe has a 3 sister as well but nothing like the 3 sisters in Blue Mountains back home. Make sure that you look out for them when you are there. The mountains still had snow tops. It was drizzling but somehow, I felt that the mountains looked better in the rain. The low rainy clouds softened the mountain edges. The air was crisp clear as well. We made a few stops and everyone jumped out of the bus to enjoy the view.

We were often overtaken by motorbikes on the road. I was jealous. It must be so fun to ride on these winding mountain roads! There were hikers as well. Hiking in Glen Coe looked crazy and exciting! I would love to give it a go if I’m here again! It would be some experience! Don’t they say that if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger! 🙂

I stayed at Mrs McLeannan’s B&B at Kyleakin on Skye. Kyleakin is a small town by the river, quiet and full of clean air! 😮 Seafood platter with local warm beer at the pub was my dinner. I took a walk around the jetty before I went back to the B&B to give the Wifi a try.

Well, I was not too shocked that the Wifi here worked better than Vodafail AU back home. The Wifi device clearly had a limit on connection, so the tick was not to disconnect from it so you lose your spot to others. I was not sure how many were staying at this tiny B&B until the 2nd day morning.

2. Scotland Road Trip Day 2

A full day on Skye exploring the island such as the craggy Cuillin Mountains and outstanding beautiful Trotternish Peninsula then say goodbye to the Isle and head south to Loch Ness.

wishky
Whisky Lovers Menu

In the morning, a bowl of porridge landed in front of me right after I sat down at the breakfast table. The porridge was salty. I’m not sure how it was cooked but it was really nice and I loved it. There was a couple from Holland at the table. They put their car on the ferry and came over to tour around Scotland. Oh, how I wish that it was that easy for me to travel over. I flew more than 12 hours to be here! While we were chitchatting, Mrs McLeannan brought me a plate of the traditional Scottish breakfast. It was lovely to have someone looking after me like that and the food, oh, it was heavenly!

After London, I was not too bothered with confined spaces anymore. My room at the B&B was so tiny that there was hardly any space to turn around. I managed it. I was a bit shocked when I counted around 8 people at the breakfast table. How did we fit everyone in this place?! That was amazing! Space is clearly not an issue in Scotland but they still built everything so small here! 🙂

We drove around Skye. Everything was so lush on the island, mountains surrounded by the ocean, it reminded me of New Zealand but yet so different. It was sad to leave. Maybe one day, I will come back.

We were learning Gaelic on the road e.g. Loch means lake, Kyle = mouth of water, Eilean = island, etc. Now, the road signs started to make a lot more sense. 🙂

There was a German tour bus “stalking” us. We kept meeting them at different visitors’ lookouts. It was “annoying” to “bump” into them in the mornings for while we were eating a a pack of chips or drinking a cup of takeaway coffee, they would lay out the tables and have a fully cooked breakfast, with hot coffee and fruits, on the side of the road! Not only that, the food smelt so good too! 🙂 Everyone in my tour group would cry out, “Oh no, not them.” if we cross path with them at morning or afternoon tea time.

3. Scotland Road Trip Day 3

Explore Loch Ness. Why not take a boat tour over to Urquhart Castle, visit the Loch Ness 2000 Exhibition, or just monster hunt from the shore? You’ll then head south and have the chance to visit the battlefield of Culloden, the site of the defeat of the Jacobite forces. Then you’ll pass the stunning Cairngorm mountains, stopping en-route to visit a distillery and discover just how whisky is produced, then you will be able to explore the picturesque town of Pitlochry before arriving back in Edinburgh.

It was a bit wet this morning. Loch Ness was covered by a thin mist. It sat there like a big mirror. How would anyone miss the Loch Ness monster if it every existed? I asked Michael, our guide. “Because its deep.”, he said. I see, I see. A ferry came towards us and we could hear the music blasting from it. “Why was it totally empty? It was full when it left here.” “It just delivered breakfast for the Monster.” I answered with quick thinking. Some people laughed. Win!

I enjoyed hearing all the clan and warrior stories on this trip even though some of them were very sad. We heard the ancient (Bronze Age) clan stories when we stopped at Balnuaran of Clava (Invernes). Scotland’s last battle was fought at the battlefield of Culloden. Walking along the fields at Culloden, it was a very different feeling. The ground felt alive to me.

Pitlochry was such a pretty little town. A festival was taking place so its dressed up for celebration. We ate, drank and walked around with an ice-cream each in hand.

I actually learnt a few things about whisky at the distillery, had a few for tasting and bought a few bottles. In Scotland, people would buy a cask of whisky for their children and keep the cask at the distillery. years later, the child would be able to celebrate his/her 50th birthday with a 50+ yrs old whisky. Nice!

We drove along the Caledonian Canal. It’s definitely worth a visit if you are in the country!

I was back in Edinburgh again. Just being here brought a smile onto my face.

Highland-cattle
I just love the hairstyle!

We met this group of highland cattle at Culloden. Michael, our guide, had been telling us that he possess the magic skill to control the cattle. “The Scottish way”, he called it. He was very happy to do a demonstration for everyone. We all gathered around the fence to support him. Other tour groups saw us and followed suit. Before we know, we had a group of 20+ people around us, waiting for the show to start. Michael started calling the cattle out loud with the words “here cow, here cow”. It looked silly so I instantly started laughing. 🙂 The funnier thing was that the cattle turned around, after a short stare at us, they started to walk towards us. Everyone was so excited and started to praise Michael. A lady from the other tour group “taught” her late arriving guide what she just learnt. His response was simple, “that was a load of rubbish” (say it out loud in Scottish – it’s funnier that way). LOL. Before I knew, I was face to face with a group of highland cattle. They were very lovely! I wondered if they ever got frustrated with the long fringe on their faces! 🙂 Nice bangs guys!

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