After visiting our wonderful friend Shan in London, we continued our trip of the British Isles by heading up north to Scotland, which I'd heard ~so~ many wonderful things about from friends who had visited. I was amped for scotch, hairy coos and Harry Potter movie sets, and Scotland didn't disappoint!
Though it was not my favorite stop on our trip around the British Isles, we had a lovely time in Scotland. I was very diligent about finding a raincoat that would stand out perfectly against the green Scottish landscape, because I knew it would rain the whole time (it totally did, and I went with yellow), but being prepared for the weather definitely helped lift our spirits.
It would've been way better to have more time in Scotland — there are so many more things I wanted to see, like the Isle of Skye, and Edinburgh, that we just truly did not have time for. However, the short time we had driving around (on the wrong side of the road in) the beautiful green countryside was a good taste of Scotland, and we'd definitely love to go back to see what we missed! In the meantime, here's what we did have time for.
WHAT WE DID:
- Visited the city of Oban: We totally dug the city of Oban, with it's scotch distillery, Oban Distillery, and a fantastic meal at the Oban Fish & Chip Shop. We mostly just walked around the city and had lunch and a peek at the distillery, while also popping into stores to look at wool sweaters.
- Missed the Hogwarts Express at Glenfinnan Viaduct: We drove up north to check out the bridge that's famed for the scenes of the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter films. You can actually catch a real Jacobite steam train tour nearby, or even just wait for the steam trian to go by so you can catch some photos of it on the bridge. We missed the train only by 30 minutes because I did not know this, but you can avoid making this same mistake by checking out the times ahead of time! There's also a great view of a loch across the street and a cool Jacobite memorial. It's a good area to explore.
- Sang about bonnie banks while we were on them: On our way back to Edinburgh for our flight, we stopped into the adorable city of Luss, which is actually where that adorable Scottish song that you've definitely heard about taking the high road was written. We filled up the car and got some ice cream while taking a stroll through the town, by the creek and the lake. It'd be a great spot to spend some more time, or just pop in for lunch!
- Hung out with panda sheep at our Airbnb: We totally loved our Airbnb, which was a great cottage on a working farm run by the very helpful and hospitable Niall. There were goats, sheep, ducks and chickens running around at all times (though we think Niall needs to invest in a hairy coo), plus the cottage was totally cozy and he provided us with lots of eggs for breakfast. He also recommended a lot of stops nearby, and basically helped us plan our entire itinerary. It was one of the highlights of our trip! If you haven't used Airbnb before, it's definitely our favorite method of lodging while we travel — enjoy this coupon for $30 off your first night!
MORE OF WHAT WE DID:
- Stormed the Castle Aargh! I mean, Castle Stalker: Our Airbnb host, Niall, recommended we stop and see Castle Stalker on our way up north to Oban, and it wasn't until we got there that Tyler actually realized that it was the castle from the end of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." It was totally fun to see, and might've been Tyler's favorite part of our trip? Anyway, it's great at least to stop in for a photo op.
- Got stuck in the clouds in Glencoe: We'd heard a lot of really wonderful things about Glencoe, so we made the drive out there our last day, but the weather was so miserable that we actually couldn't see anything and it was kind of a bust! The weather was bad there almost the whole time we were around, so we didn't have much of a chance – but check the forecasts before you go, otherwise there's not much to see.
- Pretended we were in a Disney movie at Saint Conan's Kirk: Our Airbnb was near St. Conan's Kirk, which is definitely not a medieval church or castle but one that was built in the late 19th century. The entire building, to me, resembled what castles look like in early Disney movies. If you're driving by, it's worth a stop — it's free to enter (though donations are encouraged) and it's quite pretty.
- Searched for hairy coos: The mission for our entire trip was to find the Highland cattle, or "hairy coos" as they're affectionately known. They are as beautiful and cute as the photos make them seem, and I definitely tried to coax many to come very close to me so I could get more photos (even if I was mostly unsuccessful). I don't have any tips on where to find the coos (if you do, leave your wisdom in the comments below!) — but hopefully you happen across them in your travels!
Photos and text copyright © Katie Currid, 2017. All rights reserved.