A road trip through Scotland´s north
The Route 66 almost everybody knows but the North Coast 500? Well, I didn`t know it until my husband and I decided to go to Scotland and explore the northern part. (Zum deutschen Blog.)
The decision is easy for us, because I won two flights to Scotland at a KLM travel agent competition. We can choose to which airport. Since I have always wanted to travel to Edinburgh, that is our destination.
In the afternoon we arrive and pick up our rental car. We do not go into the city today, but head on in a northerly direction.
Scotland shows itself today from its most beautiful side, it is really warm and the sun laughs from the sky. This is a great start!
We do not follow the motorway very far, before we turn to the well-developed country road. There is little traffic and so we have enough leisure to watch the changing landscape. The mountains become higher and brighter. At Loch Lubnaig we stop and enjoy the warm air and the beautiful view. Yes, this is Scotland, as we have seen it during our first visit some years ago.
But we have to go further, time pushes a bit, because around 6 pm we want to arrive at our first B & B.
The views are spectacular, the mountains get higher and rugged and the traffic gets less.
It is a typical Scottish pub that also rents rooms. The menu is written on a black board above the bar, where we also directly order and pay immediately. This is usual here, after a while a waitress brings us the food to the table. Dirk, my husband eats his Angus Burger with a lot of appetite and I try the fish and chips. a typical pub dinner , but super delicious, in addition I have a strawberry cidre, what does “woman” wants more?
The next morning unfortunately is gray, but that doesn´t reduce our holiday pleasure at all. We are finally in the far north and we know that the weather might change every minute.
We are brave and try a “Full Scotish Breakfast”, that means Haggis, Blackpudding, fried egg, fried tomato, hash browns and toast. And as well, jam and cereals. Phew, who’s going to eat it all? The Haggis tastes very spicy, but however for me in the morning too greasy, so I skip it in the future, although it is prepared differently everywhere.
We say goodbye and drive on to Mallaig from where we take the ferry to Armadale. This saves us a lot of driving distance. Now we are on the Isle of Skye, which I would have liked to explore a bit more, but today we still have a long way to the next B & B ahead of us. This was not intended at all, but when we started to plan the trip in April, most B & B’s were already fully booked along our route. Hotels are rare, relatively expensive and that was not what we wanted.
Still, we have not reached the North Coast 500 when we cross the bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh back to the mainland.
Over the Bealach na Ba via Applecross to Gairloch
Our next destination is the picturesque and quite narrow pass road Bealach na Ba, which winds with countless curves through the mountains and leads us to Applecross. It´s a pity that the sky today doesn´t get any brigther and ones in a while it pours down a bit. Just before we drive into Applecross,a herd of deer crosses the road and is neither shy nor willing to let us drive on. What for? We are tourists and have all the time in the world. So we wait.
At the Applecross Inn we have a cappuccino and outside from the ice cream van the supposedly best ice cream far and wide. It is definitely delicious and by far the most expensive…
We continue along the coast, it is now really stormy. The road is now only a one-lane street with bulges, in order to allow the oncoming traffic to pass. There are almost only tourists on the road, which is not surprising with the sparse population in this area. Many also use their own cars or campers. Unfortunately, Germans often stick out negativly by the fact that they do not want to let other cars drive faster, although road signs show that you must give way to faster vehicles. Where is the problem? Where I am it is the front? No, because others do not want to chug through the area with only 30 km / h … (As I am German, I may be nasty about my fellow citizens..)
The landscape is really really poor here. All sheep are widely scattered and can run around freely. Again and again we ride over cattle grids, which separate the individual herds. Countless still quite small lambs stand partly closely to their fluffy mothers cuddled in the rain. I feel sorry about these little guys.
At around 6 pm we finally reach our present B & B, the Newton House in Gairloch. We get a warm welcome by our landlord and he shows us to our nice room on the upper floor. He recommends eating in the pub at the Millcroft Hotel. There we actually find him with a beer a few minutes later. The food is really good, very rich and freshly prepared.
Here we end the evening with a freshly tapped beer and an Elderflower (Hollunder) cidre.
Tomorrow will be exciting, because we want to watch whales. Are we going to see some? In the next blog post about the North Coast 500 you will read it 😉