Saturday, 30 April 2016

My Scottish Trip: Old Man of Storr, Eilean Donan, Glenfinnan & Glencoe

DAY 2: Old Man of Storr, Eilean Donan Castle and Glenfinnan Viaduct

After passing through the Isle of Skye's coral beach, fairy pools and Portree, I continued on many other incredible places west Scotland has to offer. A friend and I dashed to the nearest postcard-selling small shop before catching to bus in the early morning on Saturday,  and here we were on the road again to reach our first destination of the day, Old Man of Storr.

1. Old Man of Storr

I knew walking up hills and mountains was hardly going to be a restful activity, but I was ready to tackle this challenge. The bus dropped us on the road, near a path going up the site. At first, it was only a matter of walking up the winding paths but soon, we reached a bit more height and began climbing up on slippery stones and rocks. Everything was fine until the rain started pouring down; it transformed into light snow as we continued our way up. At that point, it began to be really cold (let's not linger over the fact that I didn't have any gloves with me). It is not that bad, I remember thinking while I kept my hands in the warmth of my pockets. And then the snow transformed in a huge hail hell. I had never experienced that in my whole life: the hail, enhanced by the wind, was so violent that it was stinging our faces. We looked for a big rock to take shelter behind; but because it wasn't stopping, we decided to head back down (before the sun started to shine through, obviously). Despite the hail and snow and rain we had to face, the landscapes and the view point was simply worth  all of this! The lakes, the height, everything looked magical. I dragged myself to the bus completely devoid of vital energy but full of extraordinary pictures in mind. I can't explain why this exhausted me, but I enjoyed a few naps in the bus taking us to our next destination, Eilean Donan Castle. 

2. Eilean Donan Castle


You may recognise this castle - does it ring a bell by the look of it? Well, Disney inspired themselves with this real Scottish castle to create the one in the film "Brave" (Rebelle in French) in which a flamboyant red-headed Scottish princess lives (by the way, if you are wondering what a Scottish accent sounds like, just watch this film in its original version!). Eilean Donan Castle is quite small, but really pittoresque. While it is free to have a look at from the outside, you've got to pay £7 to visit the inside of the castle. I'd say it is worth it because I would have missed something out if I only saw it from the outside. Plus, you are not even allowed to walk on the path going to the castle without paying, as it is guarded by an old man in a small hut at the entrance. Unfortunately, we didn't get to spend to much time there, which is a real shame because there was more to see than we could!

3. Glenfinnan Viaduct


HARRY POTTER BRIDGE! You know, the one on which you can see the Hogwarts Express streaming across wild landscapes. I was expecting so much, and as a result was so disappointed! I wonder whether the viewpoint is not well situated or if the film made it far too cool to look at from the sky (flying car included). It was quite far away from where we would stand, and although it is curved, all we could see was a straight line. I would recommend going to see it but unlike like me, don't expect too much on the trip leading you there! If you're a real fan, go straight off to London and visit the Harry Potter Studios instead: I guarantee you really can't be disappointed. Here is a little video which makes it look far more impressing:


DAY 3: Glencoe Valley

We stopped at a hostel lost in the middle of Glencoe Valley for our last night in west Scotland. On Day 3, Sunday, we were free to spend the day the way we wanted and do whatever's fine with us. It was really sunny that day. Thanks to two French people who provided us with advice on which way to go and what was a must-see, we strolled around a lake lost in the middle of a forest, before heading to the little Glencoe village and treat ourselves with ice-cream. I am disappointed because we couldn't find any "Isle of Skye ice cream" (which I didn't know existed) so I will probably never know how it tastes like. On the contrary what was real was this double-espresso magnum ice-cream... 



We left our magical place at around 3pm to get back to Aberdeen, east cost. As I slept most of the time I can't really say the trip was never-ending, but I realized at that moment the amount of time that had been spent on the bus. Don't get me wrong: every single moment was great and I couldn't be grateful enough for being able to grab a ticket in the first place. Don't hesitate to visit Scotland once in your life; it is so worth it! Besides what a shame if you missed all the adorable baby sheep along the way... :)

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