Our Route …
A – Inverness then drove to
B – Portree, Isle of Skye then drove back to
C – Elgin, then drove on to
D – Keith then continued to drive on to
E – Aberdeen, then finished our drive to
F – Edinburgh
If you think driving in a country you are extremely unfamiliar with, seeing green countryside and mountains all around you sounds beautiful, I can only confirm that to be true. Morgs and I have just finished up on our ‘road trip’ of the North of Scotland and although we think driving on this trip was both a blessing and a curse, we believe it is the best way to see what we can only describe as the most breathtaking parts of Scotland.
Flying in to the tiny Inverness airport with sheer excitement, madly scanning the ground below for any resemblance of a city (with no such luck) we were really not sure what to expect. But like every other city we’ve been too on our trip to date, it never once disappointed (note: except for Belfast…..). We had been warned by many, as you too will be if planning a trip overseas that there are only so many churches, old buildings and cobble stone streets you can see before ‘you’ve seen them all’, but just that didn’t and doesn’t fly with us. We have yet to meet a church or street or old building that we haven’t felt like exploring and admiring. Each city that we’ve stopped by has served us up something unique and different and in it’s own imperfect way, made each place… perfect.
Elgin & Keith held special signifcance to me as I had visited with my best friend 6 years ago to spend time with her family, so those stop offs were to show Morgan my old ‘stomping ground’ – but are still worthy towns for tourists to pay special visits too.
So with all the places in the world we could have gone and all the towns we could have seen, this is why choosing the towns we did whilst in Scotland was worthwhile to us and how they’ve each contributed to our memories for life.
Inverness – Is THE perfect city to explore by foot in the morning, then explore River Lochness and Urquhart Castle in the afternoon. The town is full of gorgeous cobblestone streets and buildings and…pubs! We adored roaming the streets stopping off to admire the beautiful lake running right through the middle of it and then hitting pubs for lunch and dinner. We spent a day out on the River Lochness (15 minutes out of Inverness) and Urquhart castle (another 10 minutes from Lochness in Drumnadrochit*) with breathtaking scenery surrounding you from all angles at all times. Note: You will want to stop the car every 100 metres or so to get out and re admire the scenery that lays in front of you. Just stunning.
*Morgans favourite word in Scotland so far. He will randomly bust out every once in awhile “Drummmnaadrochittt” said in a thick Scottish accent on a daily basis.
Portree, Isle of Skye – We were so very lucky to have decided upon Portree as it ended up being a coastal town with some of the best fish & chips in all of Scotland (or so we’re claiming). We walked the whole town in about 15 minutes and spent ample time people watching as we gorged on jam & cream scones & coffee. It’s full of darling little b&b’s so there are lots of great places to stay and the perfect town to base yourself in if you’re wanting to explore the fairy pools like we did – they’re about a 30 minute drive away. They also have a town band that walks the streets every Tuesday night so you can tap you’re feet, indulging in ice cream as you hear & watch some talented bag pipe & drum players against the sunset – just magical.
Elgin – A small Scottish town that is worth the visit for some wee exploring and pub hopping. It is actually the town of Cathedrals – which is funny, as we didn’t see nor visit one. We spent our time ‘living like the Scots do’ and busying ourselves amongst the normal daily hussle of the small town with the locals by day, and pub hopping the many small bars & pubs by night. Worth the visit even for a lunch pit stop if you’re ever that way. We based ourselves here for Distillary tours – i.e. Glenfiddich!
Keith – The birthplace of Chivas Regal and you are reminded of that as soon as you drive in to Keith as there are still rows of Chivas storehouses as you enter the town. If you are looking for a place to get the feel of a ‘real’ country town in Scotland then Keith is it. We had some of the best coffee & cake in a small cafe in the main street and adored walking around the small town hearing the thick Scottish accents of the locals.
Aberdeen – The grey city aka the granite city…really lived up to it’s name. It was, well, grey, and there was lot’s of granite. We only stopped here for the night which we felt was long enough to get a taste of the city without getting too overcome by it’s Grey’ness. We walked the main streets and ate some delicious food in a horror themed pub (The Castle, Aberdeen, just brilliant!) before stopping off on some bars for drinks on the way back to the hotel.
Edinburgh – To be continued … So beautiful, so big & so much to do it’s getting it’s own post.
Memorable Quotes ..
Said in all seriousness (both of us) after just picking up our hire car for Scotland..
Anna:”Morgan, don’t be stupid in this car ok. I need you to be careful & sensible pleasee, do you hear me?”
Morgan: “Yeah yeah hunny shit…I heard you. Now. Let’s go do some f*cking burn outs”
Remarking about the bathroom in our hotel – Morgan being too quick for me as usual…
Anna: “I feel as though this bathroom has been designed for a disabled person?”
Morgan: ” Yeah babe, I rang ahead and let them know you were coming so they had it fully custom built for you”
Said in a jokingly (but adorable) way as we were driving through mountains on the way to Isle of Skye…
Morgan: “whoaaa look at those random trees on the side of the mountain!! That must be where the giants live!”
Commenting after driving to fairy pools with no power lines seemingly in sight in the middle of nowhere…
Anna: “Right. So I can have reception in the depths of Mordor, and yet can’t get it in the centre of Perth”.
Yelling at Morgan when he was taking his hands off the wheel in curvy roads with some fully sick tunes on…
Anna: “MORGAN!! BOTH hands on the wheel please!!!!”
Morgan” Ah shit hunny but I can’t do my disco raving with both hands on the wheel!”
Being very serious after arriving at the hotel in Aberdeen realising we’d gotten twin singles, not a double & making light of the situation…
Morgan: “Sooo what do you say, should we push our singles together tonight eh eh?”
[ Arriving in Inverness – great little city with a pretty river running right through it ]
[ The view from where we had dinner the first night in Inverness, Scotland ]
[ Morgan being his usual charming self – crossing bridges in Inverness to find what was on the other side]
[ Left – another big ole’ beautiful church, Inverness, Right – Beginning to explore Urquhart Castle, a very old and original caterpolt (spelling?) from worlds long passed ]
[ Panoramic of our first sighting of Urquhart Castle in Drumnadrochit ]
[ Being Queen of the castle – Urquhart Castle – great view from one of the top old viewing spots ]
[ Morgan being at one with history – leaning on an original piece of the castle from the 12th century ]
[ The view from almost anywhere along the banks of the River Lochness, Scotland, Simply beautiful ]
[ Sharing a cheeky drink together on our lazy afternoon, cruising the River Lochness ]
[ The sun put on a show for us to really make us enjoy our afternoon – we couldn’t have enjoyed ourselves more if we tried ]
[ & another cider, because that’s what you do when you’re on holiday ]
[ The view of Urquhart castle from the banks of River Lochness ]
[ Off to Portree, Isle of Skye, where we found a gorgeous bay with the sun shining ]
[ Beautiful afternoon for a whiskey tour – soaking up the sunshine at Glenfiddich distillery ]
[ The important part of Whiskey making! Where they separate the head from the tail from the heart ]
[ Morgsy after having just sampled the 12, 15 & 18 year old Glenfiddich whiskeys – 18 year old was our fav ]