For the first time in my life, this autumn I finally decided to make a mood board, to be my inspiration, motivation and a practical to-do list for this wonderful season. With a great surprise and excitement I found out that it really does work, whether it is visualisation or just a stronger focus, and happy to say that the majority of things that was there has been already ticked as “done”, road trip being among them, and I’m about to tell you all about it just now.
Road trips are one of these great things that allows you to set off for adventure without the need to go far or buy expensive air tickets. Driving off only 100-200 km from your home town can get you to a wonderfully undiscovered location, no matter where you live. We used to do it back in Siberia, we did it so many times in Thailand, and now it was time to start this tradition in Scotland.
Weekend was all we had at our disposal, so we planned a nice short route, following “James Bond’s places”, including a tiny village called Glencoe, nested between Scottish Highland mountains. I knew it’s a beautiful route, but the truth is the nature always beats your expectations. The road we took left us out of breath, with eyes wide open and hearts full of excitement.
If you’re visiting Edinburgh for about a week, such trip will definitely be a great addition to your itinerary. We rented a car in Edinburgh and headed out from the city taking M9 motorway through Linlithgow, Falkirk and Sterling, then turned west on A811, until we reached southern border of Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, — that’s where the most beautiful part starts. Road A82 runs along the Loch Lomond shore, which naturally promises you beautiful views all along. Prepare for many stops, — it’s impossible to resist the urge to capture these amazing landscapes on camera or simply pause and admire the view a little longer. It was very cloudy and grey when we were there (sun is not really common for Scotland), but I got to say this moody palette suits the country perfectly. As evening got loser, a thick fog laid over the mountains, making it all even more surreal.
We didn’t want the trip to be too tiring, so gave ourselves enough time to slowly drive, and spent the night at a guesthouse the top of Loch Long. Rested and recharged, we woke up early next morning and set off for Glencoe. This obviously was my first time in Highlands, but I seriously believe that autumn is the best time to visit, simply because of all these gorgeous colours that pop up in nature. You’ll see orange, deep red, sienna, pine green, all under a veil of sheer fog hanging everywhere you go. Now, back to James Bond: remember how his Aston Martin parked in misty scenery, so he could admire the view before reaching Skyfall? That was Buachaille Etive Mor, and it’s absolutely impossible to miss even if you know nothing of James Bond connection. It’s a striking peak right in the middle of a beautiful valley, and a very atmospheric place. I spent at least 15 min jumping around with excitement!
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We then continued our way up to Glencoe village, stopping every 5 minutes awed by yet another beautiful scenery. We also walked around the village later, and had amazing seafood lunch at Loch Leven Seafood Cafe, don’t miss it if you’re in the area!
The one thing I know for sure is that this trip was only a test-drive, and we only got a slightest glimpse into the beauty of the region. It was also only a tiny part of a vast area spread all the way across Scotland from Edinburgh to Shetland and I do not believe it can ever cease to surprise and astonish its guests.