After our fabulous day on the Isle of Mull and the excitement of the ferry trip we decided another ‘at home’ day was in order.
Sleeping late was impossible because of the lack of darkness and we were up and ready, as usual, by 8.30am.
The Knapdale Forest and the pretty harbour village of Tayvallich were a couple of miles down the road.
Guess what, we found a TARDIS – in the middle of nowhere.
The nearest town to Crinan is Lochgilphead. The only place to pick up supplies with a small selection of local shops and a small supermarket (Co-op).
Earlier in the week I’d eyed up Murray Smoked Products and their beautiful display of fresh fish and seafood. A bag of prawns with heads and tails later and I was set for a dinner that evening!
Now I’m not good on a boat. I’d very seriously taken my Kwells on Monday for the trip to Mull and they’d worked like a dream. It worked and I was done.
We knew that there was some beautiful scenery to be enjoyed around Crinan. But only accessible by small, fast boats. I’d opted out early on in the planning process but I wouldn’t begrudge @jbboardman the opportunity.
It was amazing apparently. Much wildlife was spotted including porpoises, mountain goats, a golden eagle and plenty of seals. 5 star reviews for Venture West from us.
Now, back to those prawns. De-shelled and de-veined, I cooked off the shells with shallots, garlic and white wine. Strained, added cream, seasoning and and parsley and served with the prawns, a little bit of crab meat, linguine and a handful of parsley. It was beautiful and exactly how I wanted to be eating in Scotland.
We were well aware of just how much there was to see and we’d planned a big drive. Getting as many miles under our belt as possible.
We started on the road north to Oban and then onwards to to Castle Stalker. Setting to a Monty Python film.
Further north took me into a world of childhood memories.
The Glenfinnan Monument was just as I’d remembered. Alleged to be the place that Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the Royal Standard and claimed the Scottish and English thrones in the name of his father, it didn’t let us down.
A bonus was being a member of The National Trust. They have a reciprocal agreement with The Scottish National Trust and this saved us a fortune on parking and entrance fees.
The railway line from Fort William to Mallaig stops at Glenfinnan and was on the wish list but sadly time did not permit. It’s frequently referred to as one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world. One of the highlights of this journey is passing over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous in the Harry Potter movies as the route to Hogwart’s.
I’ve never seen any of the films but I’m assured by @jbboardman that this is the spot.
The further north we travelled, the better the views became and we were blown away by the view from the Royal Marine Commando monument at Spean Bridge. A small village north of Fort William, Spean Bridge was the heart of the Commando training ground just before the Second World War.
The views over Ben Nevis were stunning – snow in June!!
We had a bit of an agenda here. I’m not a movie lover but @jbboardman is a huge James Bond fan and had tracked down the location of the scene where Bond and M take a pause before the final approach to Skyfall. After a lengthy Google Earth research project, the location was found and off we went.
Glencoe was as stunning as I remembered but was sadly shrouded in cloud so were weren’t able to appreciate the true beauty.
A long drive down a single track lane and we found the spot. It’s a long time since I’ve seen that man so happy!
Apparently we got the staging a little wrong and not quite the Aston Martin but who cares….
We woke up on the last day to a little bit of rain and overwhelming exhaustion. We’d planned a bike ride along the canal but sadly this was not to be.
A quick trip into nearby Lochgilphead for some fresh crab and a bottle of Sancerre and we were satisfied with the day. It never really got cold enough for a fire but we were determined to light the beautiful log burner (with the windows open!).
Arborath Smokies were amazing and I wish they were a little more accessible in the ‘South’.
We were sad to be spending our last night in Crinan but ready for a good sleep before the trip home.
It was only 30 miles down the road when we realised that we were a bit teary and very, very sad to be going home.
On the last night I had a nice chat with a local resident. “Do you like it here?” he said. “Yes – Very much” I replied. “You won’t tell anyone about it will you?”. “No – of course not”.