Anyone that knows me knows that I prattle on about Scotland quite a lot. I’ve become that very annoying person now that will hear the twinge of a Scottish accent on someone and immediately try to attach myself to them to get an idea whether they are from a beautiful part of the country. If you see me sitting with my arms firmly folded and looking quite red (and you’re Scottish), run for life. I’m about to bombard you with questions. Obviously, I jest. Mostly.
I used to dream of travelling around Scotland in a cool camper van and just driving and driving and taking it all in. I think this little trip up has taught me a few major lessons:
1) Scotland has a heck of a lot of lochs and castles. We saw about 3 castles on our route this time about 7 different lochs. I’ve realised I need to tour the country in little chunks or else everything will just merge into one memory.
2) I’d still quite like travel around in a campervan, but one which is more of a luxury bus. The kind that pop stars travel in. Being without wi-fi for a few days nearly sent me round the twist. I’m sure there is a point at which you crack through the no wi-fi shakes but at least next time I’ll ready myself for it and plan our route out a bit better and not rely on Google being available at my finger tips.
3) Young kids tend to get a bit bored on long drives. I need to take a few more games next time.
I got a few messages this time from people saying they’d considered trips to the highlands with their children but weren’t too sure about venturing on long drives. It is so worth doing and there are so many places to stop on these long drives and the people are just lovely with children (and adults!). As we drove up near the west coast quite a lot, we were treated to a lot of fresh fish and chips, which we all love as a family, and we even cooked for ourselves some nights and it still felt like a holiday.
We didn’t make it to a few castles I wanted to see, including Inverary which is so beautiful in pictures. We did get a peak at the Glen Nevis estate though as it was so close to Glencoe and we thought we may as well keep driving. Next time I think we might try to visit Inverness, regarded as the capital of the Highlands, and take a trip to Aberdeen and Dundee and the Isle of Skye. The Cairngorms look absolutely stunning too and I think I might love to stay in a lodge there. But that is for another time….preferably Autumn, ha!
This post is really about some of my favourite bits on the way and to show a little video of our road trip. We all usually plan to see some famous landmarks and tend to work through a route, especially if its a road trip. If we’re lucky, we get to discover some little gems on the way. Those things that weren’t on our original tick list but something we end up telling people about when we come back. This time, my little discoveries were…
Passing Scotlands first cat cafe
Known as Masion de Moggy, it is Scotlands first cafe where you can enjoy tea and coffee and cake with 12 cats. Its a little place where you’re encouraged to interact with the cats and it gets busy so you need to book. We just had a good gaze through the window and if you like cats, you will love this place!
Discovering a very nice retro diner in Edinburgh
We accidentally found a very nice place near the Tollcross car park called Bruno’s 7 to 7 diner. A very funky 70s themed retro cafe with a very delicious menu and super kid friendly. The owner was so nice and the boys fell in love with her and her huge toy box very quickly She then put on Wizard of Oz and we were all happy and ready for a very late breakfast. Z loved the movie whilst the toddler preferred poking a dolls eyes out constantly. We adults loved the buttermilk pancakes and huge waffles with some very nice tea in retro hybrid half teapot half cup combo (Where can I get one of these?). They served it all on vinyl records and it instantly became somewhere we’ll be going back on our next trip. They don’t have a website but I’ve linked to their facebook page where you can see their super funky decor and what their menu looks like.
Popping to the Isle of Seil to see the Atlantic Bridge
I’ve written about this place in another post. Its not somewhere we had ever intended to visit but it was so close to where we were staying that we decided to pop in. The bridge is tiny and we didn’t see any rare purple flowers but I did learn learn a big history lesson about kilts that day and I’m glad we made the visit.
Getting a peak at the Glen Nevis estate
This place is huge and you can obviously be there for hours and hours navigating not only Glen Nevis, but the surrounding estate. It is so stunning just from the car too and there’s a big drive you can do for part of it. The roads so get narrower and bit rough and ready as you get further up but its very safe and you get some very nice views. One day we might attempt to get to the top on foot. This particular time with an enthusiastic toddler wasn’t the best for us.
This is a very small but very pretty 4 story tower house we passed quite a lot on our routes. It’s just outside Oban and sits on Loch Lainhe. At the time we took pictures of it and my phone (which tells me most things!) couldn’t place what it was. So I had to wait till I came home and do a bit more research on it. Of course, I could have just asked the Other Half whose phone happened to tell him straight away. Its one of the many small castles that isn’t that famous, but is very beautiful to see in such a picturesque setting.