The Highlands – Scotland’s melancholic soul

This is part 2 of our road trip through Scotland.

In the early morning we left Edinburgh behind as we continued our trip north, into the heart of the Highlands. I was feeling very excited about this day, as I was going to pass through Glen Coe, one of the most beautiful sites in Scotland.

Our first stop along the way was at Stirling castle. It wasn’t hard to imagine the great battles that took place around this castle as we enjoyed the view towards the surrounding hills. A large number of Scottish Kings and Queens have been baptised, crowned, or died here.  The Great Hall is really impressive and it is the largest one in all of Scotland. Overall, the walls and the interiors are kept in excellent condition and everywhere you go inside the castle makes you feel like you stepped though history.

Close by, we could spot the Wallace Monument, a tower built on the summit of Abbey Craig. It has 67 m and was constructed in the 19th century as a way to commemorate the Scottish national hero, Sir William Wallace. A number of artefacts believed to have belonged to Wallace are on display inside the monument, including his sword. If you are a Braveheart fan, you must not miss a visit here.

Buachaille Etive Mòr
Buachaille Etive Mòr

Getting closer to Glen Coe, we passed by the iconic Buachaille Etive Mòr mountain with its pyramid-like shape and stopped for some photos. Then finally, we reached the famous Glen. There’s a haunting air of mystery that cloaks these wild lands which relates to the tragic history of the place, or what the locals refer to as the Glencoe massacre, when most members of the clan MacDonald were killed back in 1692. Highway A82 runs right through the valley with many pull outs along the way, allowing you to stretch your legs and take some incredible pictures. The scenery is breathtaking and no photo can truly capture the feeling you get when you set to explore the green foothills of Glen Coe.

Glen Coe
Glen Coe

Just 20 minutes south towards Appin, we discovered the charming Castle Stalker. Built in the middle of a loch, it was featured in the Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie. We stopped at the cafe just off the main road for lunch and for the opportunity to photograph the castle from above. You should know that only a limited amount of tours are scheduled each year, since the castle is privately owned, so if you hope for a visit to the interior then you should book in advance.

 Castle Stalker
Castle Stalker

Our last stop for the day was in Fort Augustus on the shores of eerie Loch Ness. If the weather is fair, you can go on a cruise on the lake and see if you can spot the notorious monster. Unfortunately for us, it was a bit windy when we arrived and the lake soon became covered in fog, so all cruises where cancelled that evening. The town itself has plenty of shops and pubs. You can walk on the lake shore or watch the boats pass through the locks of the Caledonian Canal that connects Fort William to Inverness. I really enjoyed our stay at the Mavisburn B&B, which was a lovely little house in the middle of the forest. We ate traditional haggis there, cooked following a secret family recipe, and finally got to relax after a long day’s drive.

Fort Augustus
Fort Augustus

Read more about our Scottish road trip, including plans and expenses by following the posts in the ‘Scotland’ category.

 

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