My brother visited last May and I took him on a five day roadtrip, showing him the best of Scotland.
After the traditional oh-so-beautiful drive from Glasgow to the heart the Highlands, we went to spend our first night in the hidden valley of Glencoe. Many tourists just park on the side of the scenic road, take a few selfies and keep driving. But if you actually climb the steep rocky path in between the mountains, you’ll discover one of the most magical place I’ve seen in Scotland.
We met many people during our ascent but we were the only ones with camping gear and food for the night on our back. Once everyone else was gone, even if I knew our car was only one hour an a half walk away from our tent, I felt so small and so isolated, surrounded by mountains on all sides. We’ve spent the evening exploring the valley, collecting feathers, stones and bones to bring home.
The next morning, we clumsily climbed down under the pouring rain, our heavy bags destabilizing us on the slippery rocks and we jumped in the car completely soaked (but quite happy, don’t get me wrong!).
We headed north to the silver sands of Morar, a string of white beaches with cristal clear sea. A real paradise a few hours from home. We camped a few steps for the beach, walked all afternoon, climbed rocks like we were kids, took time to read and admired the sunset.
The highlight of our short trip was the Isle of Skye. The Fairies Pool, Coral Beach, the lighthouse of Neist point… The island is just unbelievably beautiful and there things to see everywhere. But tourism in Scotland really expanded over the last few years and, even before the proper summer season, the island was extremely busy. The roads are not made for such traffic, the parkings are often full. There are even queues to eat in restaurants. I know I’m a tourist as well and everyone deserve to see things, I just really hope it’s never going to be “too much” for Scotland and that these beautiful places are not gonna get irreversibly damaged.
All around the country, you can find small cabins called bothies in which you can spend a night (or two!) for free. Volunteers take amazing care of them and you haven’t truly experienced Scotland if you haven’t spent a night in one of these magical shelters. At the very north of Skye, you can find the most amazing of them all.
The Lookout Bothy stands proud on the cliff, at the edge of the world. It was first used by coastguards and is now a perfect spot to watch whales. It’s accessible by foot (a short hour long hike) and stays invisible until the last moment, so that all the way, we were wondering if it actually exists. Like all the bothies, the inside is quite rudimentary. But what more do you need when you have a room to sleep in, and another one to read and admire the scenery? We stayed in for a while, away from the wind and enjoyed the cozy heat accumulated inside during the day. We spend the evening exploring the coast, taking pictures of lambs and staring at the water, hoping to see something moving.
I am still stunned by such perfection. The white cabin, the wooden chairs, the sheep, the wilderness and the perfect light. How lucky are we to have experienced that place?
We drove down the island by its east coast the next morning and went to pay our respects to the Old Man of Storr. Two years ago during my life changing trip in Scotland, I already went to see these amazing huge standing rocks but I didn’t take any pictures. What was I thinking?
After the longest drive, we arrived home exhausted by such an intense trip but also so happy. I don’t really like relaxing holidays anyway!