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Trip Report Scotland: North West Highlands: July 2012

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As requested on FF here’s a trip report for the north-west Scottish highlands, where I just spent a week. I will probably break it down by day and link pictures for the relevant stages of the trip while it’s still fairly fresh in my mind.

Day 1: Friday.

I drove up from the south of England in poor conditions (torrential rain and standstill traffic on the A14), and broke the journey overnight at Days Inn Abington just south of Glasgow, which at less than £50 for a huge double room was very good value. Bathroom was immaculate, and a continental breakfast of cereal, fruit, yoghurt, croissant and marmalade, fruit juice and tea just £4.95. The hotel had 24-hour check in and free parking (some robotic camera thing found my car in the car park when I punched the reg into a computer terminal, which tickled me a bit). There was no wifi other than in public areas though.

Day 2: Saturday

I left the hotel late morning and headed north-west for our destination of Ardaneaskan – a tiny hamlet at the mouth of Loch Carron, opposite Skye. Motorway petered out shortly after Glasgow, and the driving became slower once I reached the twisty roads round Loch Lomond, which was plied by pleasure boats. Btw, the views from about 20-30 miles out of Glasgow were more or less permanently stunning all the way to Ardaneaskan, and I probably stopped 5-6 times en-route to take pics or just admire the view. One of my favourite places was Glencoe, with satisfyingly pointy mountains, high tarns, rocky outcrops and waterfalls. Descending from Glencoe I passed a number of lochs – Linnhe in particularly was very pretty. North of Fort William the traffic petered out and I had the twisty but nonetheless quite fast roads more or less to myself. The final stage of the drive was all the way round Loch Carron. En-route I passed the Loch Carron highland games with obligatory kilted men, and some impressively shaggy red highland cows (more of them later!). The final stage of the journey was a 5 mile single track road from Loch Carron village to Ardeneaskan. This had looked fairly innocuous on ‘Streetview’ but turned out to be mildly hair-raising, with limited passing places and roller-coaster-like terrain. (Happily, it was rare to meet much traffic on that road).

Finally got to the cottage in Ardaneaskan just before 6:00pm – about 5 minutes ahead of my travelling companion who had left Glasgow around an hour behind me. The cottage was well equipped with a decent kitchen (dishwasher, double oven), flat screen tv (freeview only), and a long pebbly garden that lead right down to the loch.

Link to pics for Day 1 and 2 (nb these include some 'library' pics of the cottage) :-

http://www.flickr.com/photos/49452305@N02/sets/72157630852279830/

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