Tuesday, 15 February 2011

getting to loch ness (loch ness trip second-into-third leg)

we join ben and ellie just outside of glasgow heading north, north north.

the first loch we saw was loch lomond. you drove right at the edge of the lake - one wrong move and you'd be in the scottish water!

we headed further north. even though we were on a "main" a road (the a38) you really did think "man, we're in the middle of nowhere". if you ran out of petrol, you'd be scuppered (in the way that you'd have to flag someone over to give you a lift to the nearest station and come back for the car with a jerry can). someone had said that when you're in the highlands you just fill up where ever you see a petrol station, whether you have half a tank or a quarter or three quarters - you just fill 'er up because you don't know when or where the next station is going to be.

a bit beyond loch lomond we (me) suddenly got the urge the have an ice cream. even though it was cold and grey. we drove past a resort/holiday home type place and it had a shop affiliated with it. outside the shop they had a "walls ice creams here!" sign. we parked up and walked towards the shop. it looked pretty dark and closed - but so did everything else we'd seen so far. as we approached a women walked out of the shop and right past us; she didn't say hello or smile at us. how rude - you'd think that when you're out in "the middle of nowhere" you'd say hello to everyone you saw. anyway. we went in the shop and there was an old dude in there.

"hello, we're looking for ice creams" i chimed.
"we're closed" (ps your door was open and we're inside now - just serve us)
"oh ... i don't suppose you could just sell us a couple of ice creams please?"
"no we don't have any" (ps i can see the freezer unit right there in front of us)
"oh okay ... goodbye"
*silence*

man, people in the highlands are rude. also to the women we walked past who i think actually worked there - why not say "oh i'm really sorry but it's closed now". anyway. we drove on. you won't be getting our approximately £2.90 now.

a loch!
we drove through a town called tyndrum and saw a place called the green welly stop. the name and the mascot caught our attention and captured our hearts. we pulled over. we bought some snacks and drinks. ellie got a scottish waffle bar thing. it came in paper. i got an ice cream. it was cold. we also got pop corn. it was toffee flavoured and nice. and moreish. and more moreish.

tasty ice cream
we drove on. the scenery was impressive. we drove through glen coe. a flat plateau of highland scrub surrounded on all sights by snow tipped mountains. dramatic. we didn't really know it would look like this. be this grand.

mountains
further north and we arrived in fort william, on the shores of loch linnhe. we stopped to pick up some lunch from the traditional scottish depot of sainsburys. this is where we realised that we were a stones through from ben nevis - the highest mountain in the united kingdom. i realised that we definitely couldn't come this close to it and not see it. so we set course for ben nevis!

we reached it (when i say it i mean the footpath that led to it) via one of the best roads i've ever driven on. really high quality asphalt concrete/bitmac with loads of twists and turns and ups and downs and undulations. really good fun. we reached the path to ben nevis and i read the sign. there was a disclaimer on it basically "don't try and walk to ben nevis from here unless you're a bit hard. otherwise you could well die and it definitely won't be our fault".

ben nevis!
we continued north.

this is when i think the scottish people really started to get a bit desperate with names. coming up with: invergarry. ha. makes me laugh. inverness, inverdave, invergary, inverwhatever. and they gave up on lochs too: loch linnhe, loch eil ... yep okay ... loch arkaig ... yeah sounds good ... loch lochy ... yep, hold on a minute! loch lochy!?

we finally came to the south tip of loch ness (at fort augustus)! we cheered! and we continued north.

things were pretty remote feeling now. we were staying in a town called foyers. more specifically lower foyers, in a place called foyers bay country house. we were failed by our gps however which took us to a private home! oh dear. we were semi lost. after a fair bit of driving around the area and in the end a phone call to the b and b we found our abode. it was reasonably late (around 2100) so that was it for today we decided. we had a quick chat with the hosts and a can of coke each from the bar. we retired to our room and made ourselves a cheeky bit of dinner from the fort william payload.

contraband din dins
we headed to bed and this is again where we leave our, now weary, travellers.

to be continued in the next loch ness road trip post!

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