Post 5- Weekend Road trips.
Here for you is the first big adventure and exploration of Scotland my three good friends and I made. I’m going to, in this post share the first half of the trip and then share the Isle of Skye adventure, part 2 separately because it needs a post all of its own.
Here we begin an epic adventure across Scotland, the first of two with this particular crew. The journey was long, the directions questionable, the scenery spectacular and the company unmatchable.
We started our long, incredibly busy, three day whirlwind expedition straight from work one Friday afternoon in Glenbervie, Aberdeen. Below is a map, not exactly our specific route as it was spontaneous and at times diverted off course, we are an easily distracted group, however this will give a general idea of the journey and scale.
We drove cross country through the Cairngorms National Park, which in my mind is the absolute definition of Scotland. That image you imagine when envisioning Scotland is made real here in this wild, expansive, raged terrain that captures the raw spirit of this harsh and beautiful country perfectly. Driving duties fell to Cian was so patient and stopped countless times over the three days, finding amazing vantage points, dangerous but breathtaking ledges and allowing me, the only photo enthusiast to capture our trip and the magical corners of this country we encountered pretty accurately. I will admit to taking hundreds of photos, I am of the more is better policy and a believer in take now delete later. Looking back at these now precious photos I am reminded how diverse a country it is and how in the relatively short journey we took the land changed almost constantly, aside from the giant National park in the middle that was admittedly hypnotically uniform in its vegetation and landscape but still was by no means a monotonous pass, constantly winding and revealing gems, unexpected castles in the midst of endless green fields, every once in a while awaking your eye by throwing some dazzling sight in amongst the endless beauty. The light shifted and changed as we traveled, was trapped behind trees and hill, peaked around rocks and shadowed valleys. The drive alone would have pleased me beyond measure as a get away, roundtrip drive, gorgeous scenery and home.
This was not the case though, instead we continued on, forcing ourselves not to stop every five minutes in the attempt to reach our destination the same day. Fort William, a charming town on the water was where we spent our first night. These trips I must say were very much hostel adventures and as you will discover we found ourselves in all manner of establishment, and enjoyed every minute. In Fort William the hostel was pretty run of the mill and so an easing into the hostel experiences ahead. In Fort William, small and pretty but very much a drive in drive out town, we spent our time walking, eating and planning out the next leg of our trip.
Awaking the next day, after a quick breakfast stop we drove through Glencoe and hand on heart it was everything that SKyfall showed it to be. I was in the movie when we stepped out of the car and onto the rocky soil of the hills.
Pulling ourselves away from the allure of Glencoe and the call to drive further and further towards the unknown and road to most likely nowhere. Its funny how even though you can clearly tell that the road continues through the same landscape for as far as the eye can see you are still overcome with curiosity and feel compelled to continue forward. Fighting this we turned around and drove to Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles.
Taking a gondola up the mountain we reached the observatory level and then on foot climbed to on of the peaks, form here the panorama was just spectacular. Spanning the surrounding countryside and through this birds eye perspective I say the country again in a way that illuminated its beauty in a totally new light.
The journey so far took us through moors and valleys, past lakes and rapids, down roads that sought to misdirect and up mountains that survey all they stand proud over. It was a really beautiful and ever different and unpredictable first half of the road trip. Giddily eager to travel to the Isle of Skye I found it hard to imagine how it could match what I had seen and experienced with an unwavering smile and through eyes that ached from the effort of attempting not to miss a single tree or moss covered rock, twisted branch or castle in a loch.
Part 2 of this road trip- The Isle of Skye Adventures coming soon………