I’ve always been a huge fan of Scotland, and there aren’t many places that top the picturesque landscape IMO. Rolling hills, haunting glens, vast lochs and quaint villages- it’s no wonder many parts of the Highlands are used in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Kayle and I wanted to have a getaway that wasn’t a-typical of a pair of 20 somethings on their holibobs, while also taking a break that wasn’t going to break the bank. We settled on the Scottish Highlands and during our six days we set out to see a number of the area’s renowned attractions. Here’s what we got up to, from how we got there and where we went to where we stayed.
DAY ONE: LOCH LOMOND, BUTTER BRIDGE AND GROUSE LODGE
05:00– Up bright and early at the crack of dawn, we dragged ourselves out of bed, took a quick gulp of tea and headed to the train station. Next stop, London Euston!
07:40– After a brisk walk from St Pancras to Euston, we’ve made it! Onto the Virgin Train we go and thank goodness we have a flask of tea; there’s a five hour stretch before Glasgow. For the time we went, tickets are typically around £80, however at the time I booked, Virgin had a 55% off sale and I got a single ticket for £14 each!!
13:00– We’ve made it to Glasgow! It’s a beaut of a day and we can’t wait to grab our car and hit the road. We take a short walk to the Enterprise Rent-a-Car building and are faced with the rigmarole of questioning, and bombardment of add-ons. After several “No thank you”-s we pump the gas and head out of the city, yahoo!
14:00– 20 miles north of the city lies the stunning Loch Lomond, where we stop to visit the Aquarium. Posing with fish, cooing at otters and wondering at the resident sea turtle ensued. The gift shop raided, Kayle walks out with the soon-to-be mascot of our trip- a rubber shark.
15:30– After having a bitty lunch on the train, we’re now a little hungry. Luckily there are a number of cafes by the loch and we stop to grab a panini and a sweet treat (with a huge pot of tea on the side).
16:30– we’re on the road again, looking to head to our accommodation and we can’t get over the scenery- a stop at a landmark named Butter Bridge was a must and guess what? It was originally part of a Roman road. Mind. Blown.
18:00– 71 miles in and we’re at our accommodation in Rashfield. Grouse Lodge is super cosy and has everything we need!
18:30– It’s time to think about dinner, so we’re off to the supermarket to grab some supplies. I’m in it for the full Scottish experience, so I go for haggis, neeps and tatties, washed down with some Irn Bru.
20:00– Back at the lodge, we settle in for the night, sifting through the DVDs we stick on Austin Powers before bed- oh the nostalgia!
DAY TWO: BENMORE BOTANIC GARDENS, KILCHURN CASTLE, ST CONAN’S KIRK, BEN NEVIS AND BONNIE BOTHY
10:00– After a peaceful sleep and a much-needed rest, we pack up our things and tuck into a bit of breakfast before we depart the lodge. Tea in the flask and sandwiches made, we make our way just two miles down the road to arguably my highlight of the trip, Benmore Botanical Gardens.
13:30– A breathtaking few hours in the gardens saw us exploring avenues of Giant Redwoods, hillsides of Rhododendrons and an amazing Victorian fernery to name a few- time for a tea break before we hit the road again!
14:30– The best bit about a road trip? You can spontaneously stop when you see something cool! Catching our eye was St Conan’s Kirk, an old church dating back to several different periods.
15:30– On our way north, we stop at ruin Kilchurn Castle, at the edge of Loch Awe in Dalmally. Off the beaten path and a site you can’t drive to, there’s a wonderful, peaceful walk to the structure and it’s well worth a visit.
16:00– Climbing higher, our drive takes us right past Fort William and Ben Nevis’ snow-capped peaks.
18:40– A long ass drive later (and a trip to the shops) sees us arrive at Laggan Locks near Spean Bridge and OUR BOTHY! The sun is shining, my God it’s beautiful here. Bothies were traditionally basic shelters, and I chose this one for a glamping aspect of our trip. It had everything we needed, from hot plates and a kettle to a sink, pots and a mini fridge. The one-room dwelling had a super comfy double bed and a cute wood burner too.
19:30– After settling in and taking in the loch-side views, we took a walk over to Eagle Barge, a static boat-turned restaurant, where we went to sample some of the local IPA.
20:30– Feeling merry, we took a walk back to the bothy- it’s time to heat up our pasta and hotspot our phones. Netflix on, fire burning and face masks applied, we watched the sun go down in the picturesque Bonnie Bothy.
Have you been to Scotland? Let me know what you did there!