Roadtrip: Torridon – Loch Ness – Stirling – Edinburgh.
Renting a car and driving on the other/wrong side of the road in another country is always a great way to explore… And usually makes for one hell of an adventure!
Considering we haven’t driven a vehicle since February, we were excited to get behind the wheel, even though it felt backwards. Fair warning: Majority of cars in Europe are manuals, and using a stick with your left hand while driving on the right side of the car, on the left side of the road, feels a lot like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time. But it’s fun!
After Skye, we made another detour to Torridon to see the out-of-this-world mountain range and landscape. It is a completely different sight compared to the classic Scottish scenery, dry, brown, barren.
Torridon to Loch Ness.
From there, we drove to Loch Ness and visited the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition on our way to Glencoe. This was a great history lesson on lake research and technology, but I basically learned that my childhood dreams are crushed and Nessie doesn’t exist (or does she??). Also, the exhibition isn’t very impressive so no tears if you can’t make it. Note: $7 entry.
We stopped in Fort Augustus at Urquhart Castle to look for Nessie! Note: $8.50 entry.
And also took a pit stop to check out the lochs and how the boats move about.
Fort Williams to Stirling.
We spent the night in Loch Lommond then drove to Stirling to tour the William Wallace Monument. Great history, and great views of the city. Recommend! We also stopped by the Stirling Bridge where the famous battle was won, and viewed the Stirling Castle from the road.
A complete full circle of Scotland brought us back to Edinburgh for our last day before heading to Ireland. It was a quick, full day in Edinburgh, with so much to see, but plenty to check out next time!
Edinburgh Castle – Tip: Book online and you won’t have to wait in line. Also, go around 1pm to watch the cannon blast.
Toured the Royal Mile packed with tourists, great restaurants, shops, churches, monuments, and pubs.
If you’re curious about the underground cities, I suggest going on The Real Mary King’s Close tour to learn more – even some locals still deny they exist. Very interesting history how they just built over the old city because it was too expensive to tear down and rebuild.
- The city is very walkable and there are Hop On, Hop Off buses everywhere.
- Do this! –> Edinburgh in a day – Looks intense, but could be fun!
- Hike to Arthur’s Seat – Given our tired bodies from the previous hike, we opted out this time.
- Holyrood House
- Scot Monument
Even when it’s raining in Scotland (which is every day so be prepared), it’s more of a mist, or will rain hard for 10 minutes and be gone. But the clouds are always high so you can still see even with the bad weather. Therefore, don’t let the weather stop you from exploring.
2015 Bucket List Complete:
- Play golf at St. Andrews
- Rent a car and drive across the country
- Hike on Isle of Skye
- Look for the Loch Ness Monster
- Wear a kilt/play a bag pipe
- Fort William – Visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct for a view of the famous bridge from the Harry Potter Films
- Centuries of history
- Scots are so nice and helpful!
- Everything in Scotland is close. Especially for Californians, who are used to driving. You can drive the entire country in a couple hours.
- Haggis is disgusting – Sorry, Mark!
- Rain, rain, rain
- Rent a car and drive the entire country
- Fly out of/into Glasgow. Much cheaper than Edinburgh!
- Bring rain pants wherever you go!
- In Scotland, the sunsets at 10:00pm and rises at 4:30am. It’s difficult to get a good nights sleep when it’s only dark outside for 3 hours.
- I think Kilts are awesome. Is that weird?
- Creative clothes line in our AirBnB apartment in Edinburgh 🙂
- And if you are a Harry Potter fan, you’ll probably want to grab a coffee at The Elephant House; this is where J.K. Rowling wrote her first few books in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle.
Scotland, it’s been a BLAST! Thank you for the wet weather, the green scenery, the crazy hikes, and an unforgettable roadtrip. Until next time!
Ireland is calling…