We had grand plans leaving Stonehaven Castle of travelling through the beautiful scenery of the Scottish Highlands in the Cairngorms National Park, however light had left us long before we’d arrived anywhere interesting, leaving us with a lonely drive through the slow, twisty and dark country roads. It is almost what you could call a lose-lose situation.
We thought we’d visit a distillery in the Speyside area, however, as usual, our timing in this Festive period meant that most places were already shut (if they even opened that is).
We’d heard that the small town of Lossiemouth was beautiful, and worthy of a detour. It turned out that the cheapest accommodation that we could find for the night happened to be in Lossiemouth, so naturally we spent the night there. However, the sunshine we’d be spoilt with yesterday was long forgotten, replaced with wind that blew the sleet-like rain at us from the horizon. I’m not saying it was unpleasant. But it was. I could however imagine that on the right day, these long, golden sandy beaches could be beautiful.
We had a very brief detour through Inverness (mostly because it was on the way), stopping for a quick walk around the River Ness. It was not an ideal time to be a tourist.
We followed the River Ness until we eventually made it to the shores of the infamous Loch Ness! We followed the road on the Northern shore, which was in essence a highway. The road travelled right alongside the lake, with occasional areas we could stop to gaze out, searching for the elongated neck of Nessie. I’m genuinely curious how many truly believe that it is real – and how many locals go along with it because it’s good for business!
We made our way towards Fort Williams, having moments of torrential rain followed by brief lulls and sunshine. Watching the news, we would later learn that this rain was actually unusual, and there was widespread flooding taking place. As we were driving, we started to note that the rivers were getting fuller, and the puddles on the sides of the roads were getting deeper and larger.
Believe it or not, but Scotland has ski resorts, and we stopped for a quick visit at one of them – Ben Nevis. With the warm temperatures we’d had in UK this Christmas (yes, I know I’ve been complaining, but it has still been unseasonably warm), the ski resorts were most definitely shut. There were a few traces of snow left on the slopes, however the resort currently looked more suited for mountain biking, rather than skiing.
Being suckers for ruins of castles, we stopped to wander the grounds of the Inverlochy Castle, which was most certainly worth the time we spent there. It was completely open to the public, and it was free, too!
It was then off to Glencoe, which wasn’t somewhere I realised I wanted to visit – until I visited. The weather might have been abysmal, and the light was nearly gone, but even so, there was a magic about this place. This was the Scottish Highlands that I had wanted to see, with the glacier carved valleys, landscapes devoid of trees, and lumpy, rocky peaks. I hope to be able to visit again during summer (on the way to Isle of Skye) to give this area the time and attention that it deserves. However, this visit was cut short but the horizontal rains, drenching myself and my camera.
Another quick day-trip from Glasgow had us travel near Inverayray for lunch at a famous seafood restaurant, Loch Fyne. The weather still wasn’t idea, but at least it wasn’t raining, and we were able to see some of Loch Lomond.
And the restaurant? Risa loved it. I’m not a fan of seafood, and not wishing to waste money, I tried their lamb burger (which was fantastic, thanks for asking).