I recently completed a road trip that I have been excited about for a while now. Scotland has been on my bucket list for years and now that I am living in the U.K I figured there’s no better time than the present. I don’t know how it happened but I started planning this road trip one night and it got me so excited that I actually made it happen about a month later. I did quite a bit of research for this one because I wanted to make sure that I was not wasting any time, looking things up while on the road or visiting places that are not really worth the drive. Before I get further into this blog, Scotland is one of the best and most beautiful countries I have been to so far. Wherever you go the views are amazing, the people are generally pretty nice and the food is really good too. In this blog I will share the restaurants that I have eaten at and the once I would recommend to you. There’s only one thing that I would have done differently on this trip, which will get to at the end of the blog.
For now, enjoy my story and pictures.
Here we go
I started up my rental and put it into gear around 9 o’clock in the morning just north of London. Now, I am from The Netherlands where we drive on the right side of the road so it took me a couple minutes to get used to this new situation, I ended up adjusting pretty fast. What didn’t adjust so quickly was my body expecting my rear-view mirror to be on the right hand, for the next couple days I kept looking up outside of my window expecting to see my rear-view but all I saw was the outside of the car.
I made it to Lancaster (a town in the North-west part of the U.K) after driving for about 4 hours straight. Lancaster is a pretty cool little town, that you would never ever go to if you don’t know someone there. One of my camp friends lives there and I figured it would be a good stop for the day and catch up with my friend. After some beers and food, I continued on driving the next day until I reached my first stop in Scotland: Loch Lomond.
As far as first impressions go, I probably could not have made a better choice for my first stop. The drive there was beautiful and the hike I ended up doing that day provided me with views like the pictures down below. Conic Hill is a fairly short hike if you don’t stop to take in the scenery, it took me about 2-2,5 hours including some fairly long breaks to snap some pictures etc.
My first big hike would be Ben Lomond, I found out about this hike while doing my research back home and I am glad I did it. It was a good hike that warmed me up before taking on Ben Nevis a couple days later. Ben Lomond is supposed to take about 4-6 hours round trip, it took me about 3 once I used the right trailhead. I started pretty early in the morning and there were not a lot of people out and about. For some reason I missed this obvious sign saying: Ben Lomond trailhead, I wandered in the wrong direction for about 45 minutes before realizing that I was not on the right path. Luckily, I could stop some other people from making the same mistake and I turned some people around while walking back.
I had dinner at: Queen of the Loch, would recommend! After climbing Ben Lomond, I grabbed some food from this place called: ”The Cabin”, unfortunately they were only doing a very limited range of foods/cakes but the burger and piece of cake that I had were highly enjoyable!
This hike is not that hard if your fitness is up to par but it can feel fairly long.
After Ben Lomond it was time to chill out and enjoy the scenery on the Jacobite steam train. Right after finishing up the Ben Lomond hike I made my way over to Fort William and enjoyed some beers and pizza at the Black Isle brewery. The next morning, I made my way over to the train station to board the Jacobite train. The experience was pretty cool and I am glad I made the trip, but I would not do it again now. The trip to Mallaig took about 2 hours, 2 hours to wander around and it took us roughly 2 hours to get back.
When I got back from the train journey, I had dinner at theGrog & Gruel, would highly recommend!
After that easy day hanging out on the train it was time to tackle one of my main priorities on this trip: Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis is the tallest mountain in the U.K, standing tall at 1345 meters. The hike is not super difficult, but again it can definitely feel long. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great the day I went up (as you can see in the picture down below), but I made it happen regardless. The hike took me just under 5 hours to complete, including a 20-minute stop in one of the little cabins at the top to eat and change some layers. I am positive that this hike would have been a lot more enjoyable had the weather been good but I am glad I got it done regardless. While I was sheltering from the wind and rain to eat some food at the top, I met this guy who holds the current world record for running the 3-peak challenge (over 450 miles of running and hiking in 9 days).
After climbing back down I made my way over to Inverness to grab some dinner at the Scotch & Rye, would definitely recommend.The food was really good, they have a good amount of spirits and beers to choose from and I would highly recommend getting yourself the cookie dough as a dessert!
The Harry Potter train & Ben Nevis
The story continues next week in the second and final part of this series.
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