Exploring the Scottish Highlands
When planning our holidays last year, the desire to re-visit Scotland kept creeping further and further up the list. My husband and I had only briefly visited sans children, and we promised ourselves we would return. So we set about ensuring that after our month in Italy, we would head over to Scotland. The planning phase of this trip was very exciting as we knew immediately that we were confident enough to tour around Scotland and set about studying maps and travel guides of the routes we could take, marking all our must see sights and destinations.
It wasn't until I was getting closer to booking a car for our Highlands adventure that I began to feel a little unsure. As a family of four that are regular travellers, I knew the difficulties we have faced in the past trying to find family friendly accommodation on the fly and my concern was trying to work out how far we could travel each day and possibly already pre-booking accommodation well before our actual trip. It wasn't until my daughter came up with a brilliant plan of hiring a motor home that all our logistical concerns vanished.
For 10 days a motor home became our transport and our accommodation as we left Glasgow heading northwest into the Highlands. I recall our first night at Bunree campsite marvelling at the simplicity and ease to which this mode of travelling allowed us. The freedom to stay longer in one destination and shorter in another or stop off on the side of the road to enjoy a mid-afternoon coffee with a backdrop one only dreams of. We downloaded a few apps essential to finding great campsites and even though you are free to Wild Camp in Scotland (which is basically a term for pull up anywhere you can) we didn’t need to. The campsites were small and intimate and allowed for a few extra necessities and were usually in such spectacular locations themselves.
The Highlands is a destination like no other. Rugged, untamed, wild and a vivid green that here in Australia we just don’t experience. We travelled through the Scottish Spring/Summer although temperatures were never warm, however, the magic was in the history. Stone walls dotted green hills and each castle we would stop and visit was another reminder of how life was lived many centuries ago.
Our journey took us from Glasgow to Loch Lomond and the landscape changed from urban to wild mountainous in a moment. Each turn we wanted to to pull over and marvel at our vista. The peaks of Glencoe reminiscent of the opening scenes of Outlander and the Jacobite Steam train at Glennfinnian Viaduct for the Harry Potter fans in all us were satiated on this trip. It’s one thing to view a destination on a television screen or read about it in a book, however, to immerse yourself and walk in the paths that highlanders have been walking for centuries adds another dimension altogether. Elements of Scotland and particularly the highlands made me feel I was walking in a movie set for the duration of our time. The perfect picturesque ruins of a castle off the coast line meeting the entry way to Isle of Sky knowns as Eileen Donan Castle (which does happen to be one of the most photographed castles in Scotland) is a testament to the countries preservation of their rich history.
In this day and age I feel blessed to have been given a modern way of travelling through one of the oldest parts of this world, with architecture dating back thousands of years ago. To us, travelling with our children is about creating memories and on this trip we certainly made many. A road trip like no other in a country that now all of us have such a strong connection with. We were able to marvel at these sights during the day creating our own journey on the road free of a routine or following any one else agenda but our own. We spent nights playing Uno and drinking hot chocolate and introducing the Scottish kids to the odd game of Aussie Rules. If you love the outdoors, the wild countryside, history, good English pubs and cute country towns then a journey to the Highlands is a destination to consider.
Motor home hire - Open Roads Scotland
Campsites - Staffin Camping and Caravan Park - Isle of Skye
Castles to Visit - Elieen Donan Castle
Towns to Visit - Portree - Isle of Skye
Scenery - Glencoe // Inverness // Isle of Skye //