Friday, June 20, 2014

Scotland - fall 2013

In Autumn last year we traveled to Scotland for 8 days. We would love to go to Great Britain by our own boat one day, but this time because of lack of time and weather conditions, we took the ferry from Amsterdam/The Netherlands to Newcastle/England. We feel a little uncomfortable on these ferries, but actually it was much more convenient than going by car the whole distance.

Landing in England Wolfgang has to concentrate a lot on the left-hand traffic, but he managed without becoming a wrong-way driver.

Our hotel was located in Pitlorchy close to the Craingorms Nationalpark.

The hotel looked very familiar to a favorite boarding school for non-muggles and the children enjoyed this imagination very much.

We or in fact Wolfgang did a lot of driving, which was kind of exciting, driving on the "wrong" side with mostly only one lane for both directions and rough stone walls on both sides. The locals seemed to be not concerned about the driving situation at all...

We visited Craingorm Mountain, where we took a cable railway to the summit. The view was very nice. It was a little disappointing that we had to stay within the mountain station and were not allowed to explore the nature around. Only if you climb up by feet, which we were not prepared for, you are allowed to set foot on the soil.

At Loch Ness we had a very exquisit although not low-cholesterol lunch. We enjoyed strolling at the beach of Loch Ness and the adjacent woods a lot.

The next day we decided to give Wolfgang a little break from driving and hiked in the surrounding area of our hotel. We visited the Edradour distillery, but did not take one of the recommended guided tours, since there was no non-alcoholic stuff and it would have be rather boring for the children.

Strolling the forest we were impressed by a relatively high water fall.

While driving through the highlands we were at first a bit disappointed, because it was apparent that the vegetation was not that meager because of the climate, like we saw it going north in Scandinavia. In fact it was because of century-long miscultivation of the land with forest clearing in favor of sheep farming.

The further we got west, the more primordial the vegetation became.

We drove to the southwest of Fort William reaching a very remote mountain area where we  followed a hiking route to the Corrantee Mines.

Unfortunately it was raining a lot and became quite cold, therefore we stayed only shortly at the area of the closed mine, searching for some minerals. We discovered a lot of quartz crystal and mica. Wolfgang found a nice mica stone. 

When we reached the Atlantic coast it was already sundown. The wind was blowing strongly from the sea and the air was fresh and salty. This part of Scotland we would love to visit again eventually.

The next day we stayed more in the area of Pitlorchy. We visited Loch Tay and enjoyed the clam atmosphere of the early autumn day at the little harbor. 

At Castle Menzies we roamed the many towers, chambers and staircases and had a good cup of tea at the castel's café.

A lot impressions on this journey came from just driving around, getting out of the car here and there and trying to catch the atmosphere. We were very lucky with the weather, although it came up to it's reputation and changed a lot within minutes from sunshine to rain and back. That's why we saw more rainbows than ever before.

The temperature was between 15-20°C, so we didn't need all the winter outfits we brought with us. 

Besides the great impressions we got, it was an exciting experience for the children to try out their English.
As I said before, next time we would love to visit the Atlantic coast and go further north. Especially the Orkney and the Shetland Islands in the north and the Outer Hebrides in the west would be of great interest to us.

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