Bonnie Scotland indeed! So much happened on day 2. We were still exhausted from our travels and majorly sleep deprived. It’s not a terribly great foot to get started out on. As the cop on the Royal Mile told a lost Ben (who was trying to get to an April that was grabbing bags and checking out of the hotel) we carried on. And what carrying on we did!
Our first order of business was to get Ben up to speed on driving and get out of the city. *Pro tip- If you are not used to driving on the right side of the car with the manual shifter in your left hand while in a big city full of construction and locals who don’t obey traffic laws, pick up your rental car anywhere but at Edinburgh Waverly. If you don’t mind adventure, adrenaline and are good at talking yourself out of tickets, proceed with the convenience of hopping off the train and into your rental car. After that, we saw a beautiful gorge which happens to be (unbeknownst to us at the time) an Outlander filming location.
We drove passed the “Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”. The main stop of our day though was Holy Loch, near Dunoon. The US Navy arrived at the Loch in the early 60’s and stayed through the fall of the Soviet Union. They leased the whole Loch and even the UK MOD had to ask permission before doing their normal patrol route along its shores. Dunoon is a beautiful little town with very friendly people. Since the Navy left though, the town has struggled to recover from the “loss of American friends” and the money they spent in all of the shops and restaurants. They are trying to boost their tourism now. We hope they succeed. Ben and I popped in to the book shop, happy to support a local business for some of our souvenirs. We walked around the castle and climbed the hill for marvelous views of the Firth of Clyde and surrounding lochs.
Our dinner was outstanding takeaway. Anselmo’s lies up on hill near the church and school. It was the same place all of the submarine guys would grab some fish and chips. That is exactly what we did, for Dad. Dad wasn’t joking when he said there was nothing else like it. They have won many awards and they certainly lived up to the hype! Bellies full and the town and loch explored in a few hours, we made our way to our hotel in Glencoe.
Loch after beautiful loch, glen after beautiful glen we accidentally found ourselves driving along Loch Awe. Just after I said “hey there is a castle here” a place to pull off appeared with an old castle behind it.
As soon as we were out of the car and began to pick our way through the boggy bits, Ben recognizes (edit:what he thought at the time was) Dumbledore’s filming location. (Post research note: it was still a magical place even if the cast and crew were actually on Loch Eilt). Not long after we spotted a small family group of deer. We ended up getting gas from the place I have seen in every YouTube video bout making your way to the highlands, The Green Welly Stop. From there, we drove through the moorlands. We were greeted with a “Welcome to the Highlands” sign and a double rainbow.
It wasn’t the last surprise for us either. Pictures tell the story better than I can.
A completely empty road into Glencoe, a sunset over Loch Leven and a view of The Pap of Glencoe from our bed.
We stayed at The Isles of Glencoe hotel and crashed, dreaming of finding the mountains Mel Gibson runs across in Braveheart.
Day 2 was EPIC. Day 3 would be even more so. Stay tuned for Day 3!