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Road Trip to FORT WILLIAM, in the Highlands of Scotland!!

It’s Friday, and I had to get up early. Not because I’d be working that day, instead I’d be driving to Fort William in the Highlands of Scotland for the very first time. I’d been there many times before but always as a passenger. This time I had to be a big girl and drive to it myself, with my grown-up son as my passenger. It would be interesting!

From home, I went to pick up Ally from his place in Rutherglen before we headed to the motorway M74, joining on to M8, then took the cut off towards Erskine Bridge, and followed A82 towards Crianlarich.

We stopped by at the lovely car park in the village of Tarbet for a quick refreshment. The cafeteria and public toilets were closed due to the current Pandemic. However, the local authorities installed a few porta-loos and porta-sanitisers for tourists.

The Loch Lomond cruise services were open as there were three boats on the port, one of them was full of passengers and was leaving as we watched. I guess you have to book for this if you are interested, do check at their website.

The road from Tarbet and all along the Loch Lomond way was very narrow, bendy, and single lane on each side with a speed limit of 50miles per hour. It was a bit daunting for me, and I was driving between 30 to 40 miles per hour, but always aware of motor vehicles behind me going faster, and no passing places for miles. Ally kept reminding me to stay at my speed and not to get rushed – he spoke like a big brother, not my son lol!

It was not until we got to the Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum, that I relaxed a little bit as the road got wider. We had our lunch in this iconic place, which was bustling with people and all sorts of vehicles – cars, motorbikes, vans, campervans, trucks, and cyclists. We had to park right at the back.

I wondered where all these people were going? Most probably, to get some of the mountains’ fresh air, of course, and to escape from the hustles and bustles of the city!

That said, I enjoyed the drive from thereon, soaking in the fantastic views of this most beautiful place!

Every time I go to the Scottish Highlands, I always had this feeling of belongingness. Maybe because I grew up in the mountains too, albeit the Philippine highlands has a very different type of topography and environment. They both, however, present the same feelings of freshness, simplicity, and just pure nature’s beauty.

We stopped for a break a few times and tried to soak in the fantastic views around us.

At one point, we stopped at the Loch Tulla Viewpoint near Bridge of Orchy. This car park is one of my favourite stopping points in the Scottish Highlands. The breathtaking view of the mountains, seemingly almost touching the skies, along with the valleys of greeneries, and lochs, no doubt about it being one of the best aspects in the Highlands.

I was a little bit disappointed though that there was no Bagpiper playing music at this time, compared to my previous visits where there was always at least one. However, someone in the car park had a drone, which was also very amusing to watch!

Our next big stop was at the car park near Glen Etive, watching and taking photos of the majestic Ben Etive, one of the most photographed sights in Scotland. It lies along the main A82 road, and with its semi-triangular shape, it’s hard not to notice and admire it.

I always passed by this place before but never stopped for a nosey. We had plenty of time, so we took the time to walk around the area and reached the stream near the bottom of the mountain. It was so lovely and refreshing.

We passed by the lovely village of Glencoe, one of the most scenic glens (narrow valleys) in Scotland, and recently voted as Scotland’s most romantic glen. Ironically, it is also arguably Scotland’s most historic glen because of the infamous Glencoe Massacre in 1692.

Our last big stop was at the village of Ballachulish, and we had to divert our route to go under the heavy-steel made Ballachulish Bridge. Built in 1974, it replaced the Ballachulish Ferry on the A82 between Glencoe and Fort William, and it crosses the narrows of Loch Leven and Loch Linnhe. We parked near the Ballachulish Hotel, and I walked down to the water-side for a wee wander. It didn’t disappoint.

The contrast of the grey coloured heavy-steel bridge against the backdrop of the lochs, and the mountains that surrounded the area was a doubtful combination but somewhat looked breathtakingly stunning!

We arrived in Fort William in no time. As usual, the open space and the sea loch that come into view as you approach the place provide a very welcoming atmosphere. And I always loved coming into this beautiful sight!

At last, we checked in into Ben Nevis Hotel for our stay. Ally, having turned into a Vegan recently, didn’t fancy any from the hotel restaurant menu, so we went out for our dinner. We ended up getting some food from McDonald’s (of all places, haha!) and went out to have it in the town’s famous car park overlooking Loch Linnhe!

It was such a remarkable day, and overall, a very pleasant journey that I had for a long while!

The following day was our main adventure, and I will cover it in next week’s Blog – our climb to Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain!

Here's a wee Video of our Road Trip!

Till here for now. See you again next Wednesday!

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