I know I say this every time I write a post about Scotland, but this one is (thankfully) proof that I’m trying to right the wrong: I really have not seen that much of our beautiful country in my twenty one years here. Yesterday, on what seemed an impossibly glorious day in terms of weather for Scotland, I decided to take a trip up North through the southernmost parts of the Highlands to Glencoe.
Although I have seen countless photographs and documentaries on the parts of Scotland further North, this was the first time I had ever passed the ‘Scottish Highlands’ sign. Having visited places tens of thousands of miles away, I still can’t quite believe what I’ve been missing out on – right on my doorstep.
Our drive took around three hours from start to finish, and most of my photographs are taken from the passenger seat. We stopped for an hour or so in Balloch, which I’ll write about in a different post, then headed out of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, through Argyll until we reached the Highlands.
The stark difference between city and mountains in Scotland is astounding, especially because they lie only fifty miles apart. As we began to climb higher on the winding roads further North, the landscape began to change from rolling hills and lochs to ever growing Munros and vast expanses of slate and granite. The peaks of the mountains were still drizzled with snow, which was so bizarre against the bright blue skies behind them. The few clouds that were in the sk cast magnificent shadows over the mountains, throwing the bright green of the grassy sides into deeper greens, greys and browns.
We took another pit stop while we were driving through the Glen, the sun beating through the valley and throwing a stunning golden light on everything it touched. Streams and waterfalls can be seen falling down the mountainsides into the valley, and our stopping point overlooked water in the valley which was glistening in the late afternoon sun.
Around five o’clock we arrived at the Glencoe Visitor’s Centre, a centre just a mile from Glencoe Village that is ran by the National Trust for Scotland. Hidden away at the foot of the Munros, the centre offers both vehicular and walking tours to various points in the Glen as well as offering information to visitors on the area’s history, such as the Glencoe Massacre of 1692.
As I was very appropriately dressed in a skirt, top and sandals we decided to embark on one of the less rigorous trails surrounding the centre. Starting from the observation deck and walking up further into the hills, we meandered through felled and standing trees, picnic areas and lush Scottish wildlife. The thirty minute walk took us in a circle back to the centre, from where we headed on to the village.
Glencoe Village is minuscule, and by the time we arrived it was around six o’clock. We visited the Crerar Hotel, just off the A82, for a portion of fresh fish and chips and took it down to picnic benches by one of the Glen’s lochs.
Peaceful, untouched and incredibly beautiful, I’ve only been away for two days and already there’s so much more I want to see, so much further I want to drive and so many more places I want to see for myself and write about. There is something so prideful about visiting such incredible locations in your home country, and Glencoe and its breathtaking drive is no exception. Even a few hours up in the a Highlands truly gave me a heightened appreciation for the exquisite country I live in, and really made me reconsider my list of priorities in terms of weekend breaks and places to visit when I have so much of Scotland still to explore.