One of my favorite memories from when I was younger in Scotland was going to Loch Ness with my family – in fact, my sister was absolutely convinced that she saw the Loch Ness monsters’ tail and I 100% believe her. Ryan had been to Scotland previously but had not gone into the Scottish Highlands so we decided to road trip up to that area of the country and explore it together. Because I had such fond memories of Loch Ness, we booked a hotel up there and programmed the GPS to get us there. In the morning before we left, we looked at the maps and picked a route through some of the areas that our Scottish friends/family had recommended to us. Ryan has some Scottish roots, so we asked Ryan’s mom to tell us which towns he had relatives from. Right before we left, we got an email from her telling us she knew about a relative who was a ship captain in Old Kilpatrick, so we made sure our route ran through there to check it out. As we were going past on the highway, we saw the sign for Old Kilpatrick and we also saw a church there so we got off the highway to look around. Ryan’s mom gave us a few names and so we split up and looked through the cemetery for gravestones with their names. Ryan came to get me while I was looking around and said he found the name. We were so excited! It was such a neat experience to be at the church in the town where some of Ryan’s relatives had been.
We continued on the road and Ryan was really getting the hang of driving on the left side of the road so it was smooth sailing. The first stop was Loch Lomond which was really beautiful. We pulled over to take some photos – I told Ryan I wanted to take a picture of us on the “bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond” and being the wonderful husband that he is, he posed for a picture with me.
On the drive up, we stopped in a few little places to check out the area.
We continued our trek into Glen Coe which is one of my mom’s favorite spots in the world and now ours, too. If you’ve seen the newest James Bond movie, Skyfall, part of it was filmed in Glen Coe so you may find the pictures a bit familiar. The drive was just beautiful and we loved every minute of it.
After such a scenic drive, we neared our castle hotel which was on Loch Oich in a quiet area. If I were in the castle building time and looking for a spot to call home, this is definitely where I would choose because it was beautiful and peaceful.
Our hotel was still a little ways away from Loch Ness, but it was still light out so we hopped back in the car and headed that direction. The entrance to Urquhart castle had just closed, but we hiked up and got some pictures before continuing on for dinner.
It was Easter so we wanted to have a nice meal and I had made reservations at the Loch Ness Inn after reading some great reviews. I’m really glad we went there because the food was great – I was able to have Scottish lamb on Easter which seemed very fitting. We also drank some local beer and had sticky toffee pudding for dessert which I always love.
On the way home, we swung by Urquhart castle again because it was lit up. It really is a cool castle and the view of Loch Ness is nice. No monster sightings because apparently Nessie takes the week of Easter off; that’s our story and we’re sticking to it!
The next day, we set off for Eilean Donan castle. The drive there was breathtaking and we stopped to take a few pictures along the way. One of the cool sites was a ship going through the man-made canal between the lochs.
Once we got there, the castle was spectacular out in the water with the little bridge to it. It really had the quintessential Scottish castle look to it and the Isle of Skye is right behind it so the views are just wonderful. We got to go into the castle and walk around which we really enjoyed…it was cold but the blue sky made it even more impressive.
On the way out, a bag piper was playing so I was able to cross yet another Scottish experience off my list for this trip.
The road back was just as beautiful and enjoyable as the drive up had been. In fact, we thought the road back looked more like some of the spots in the James Bond movie…really cool. We truly had a wonderful time in the Scottish Highlands and look forward to going back and spending more time there.