One of the things we've been looking forward to with this move is the opportunity to do a whack-load of traveling around Europe, since it's just so close. So last week we did our first installment.
We didn't go very far away - a quick flight* from London to Glasgow and we were off for 7 days in the Scottish Highlands. Himself had never been to Scotland, and I spent some time near Edinburgh and St. Andrews with my brother about 15 years ago, so this was an opportunity to see some of the really good stuff. That is, the really good stuff if you like mountains and have a bit of a romantic notion of Scottish history and culture.
We headed northwest from Glasgow to Fort William, at the head of Loch Linnhe. However, it took us about six hours to make a two and a half hour drive because we had to stop several times along the way. The first stop was at a lovely waterfall along the A82, where we met our first midges**.
A beautiful ruin that we clambered around on for most of an hour. This was the girls' first castle, and they had a great time.
We finally made it up to Fort William, after a stop at the local in Lochawe where we were treated to an impromptu vocal concert by the barmaid and regulars lined up at the bar. Despite the amount of ale that must have been imbibed beforehand, it was very nice, if somewhat surreal!
Fort William is the closest town to Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Britain, so we were hoping for some good hiking. The next day we packed up the kids and headed up, not Ben Nevis, but the nearby Cow Hill.
That took most of the day, so we saved Inverlochy Castle for the next day as we headed onward.
Coming up in Part 1B, the Isle of Skye and many, many sheep.
*I will rave about how much I love British Airways at a later time, but suffice to say that on a one hour flight they fed us a full meal. Will wonders never cease?
** Midges, aka flack flies, are serious business in Scotland. There's even a Midge Report segment after the news in the evenings.