Two weeks of January we spent in Scotland. Some people would say, January? Fat chance of rain, perhaps snow, but miserable weather anyway. Much like the summer but with low temperatures. But everything is in the eyes of the beholder. First week was predominantly overcast, some rain, some very bright days and about 5 degrees. The second week was the same but with snow instead of rain, very beautiful. Ergo, we spent two very enjoyable weeks and finished a nice bottle of Whiskey while at it.
First we visited Edinburgh for three days. We had a hotel mid-town, having all the nice spots on walking distance. The pub food we had was not great but Jamie Oliver down town was much better. Also we learned at the castle that the word moccasin (footwear) is not derived from native Indians but comes from the Scottish folks who moved to North America. Moccasin is phonetic for “my foot” (mo chas) but then in Scottish slang, so we were told! Just so you know too.
Our first cottage was in a nature reserve on top of Lochgoilhead, about an hour and a half drive north of Glasgow. To get there we rented a ADW (All Wheel Drive) Volvo CX60, which is a great car. Driving on the wrong side of the road remains a challenge though. My wife kept reminding me to look right and drive left. It was necessary.
The cottage was mainly heated with a woodstove so I could enjoy my daily pyromaniac fun with lighting the stove. After that the cottage was warm and cozy. We hiked everyday at least two hours. The occasional rain shower did not hinder us at all. Through the big windows we had a view which we could be looking at whole day. In the mornings two stacks (deer’s) walk just by to say hello. Birds where visiting our bird food and gave us a nice spectacle to start the day with.
The second week we drove to Skye with much more determination once I was accustomed to driving this big car. Our drive through the highlands was magnificent. The enormous expanse of the highlands are almost unlike Europe. Great that we still have this kind of nature close by. White caped mountains and deserted valleys are alternate with forest and lochs. Driving through this splendor is a great joy. We arrived late that day on Skye where we stayed in another beautiful cottage.
The weather however turned cold and snow was falling. We had everyday a weather alert “yellow”, which meant that possibility of ice accidents and getting snowed in are possible. Each day we checked the weather, also for the 4,5 hours ride back to Edinburgh under normal weather conditions. Nevertheless, we hiked each day but not to high up in the mountains. However, every drive was an adventure on its own. The roads on Skye are not to big anyway, but getting smaller and smaller once you get closer to your hiking area and evidently with snow more difficult to navigate. Good for us we had our AWD to pull us up the hill through the snowy single track roads.
Now we are back from our holiday in Scotland. What up now? Well, next week I will be back on the Canary Islands to prepare my boat for the second part along the Atlantic Islands!