Tag Archives: scotland

Our holiday in Scotland – Part 1

There’s been very little time since we returned from Scotland to blog, and this may give you an idea as to why this holiday was so important. 

In addition to this, I’ve been (we’ve been) missing my (our) holiday so much that it’s almost been too emotional to write about it.

Nervous and excited, we set off after work on a hot Thursday evening to drive the 280 miles to Glasgow. 

Traffic was a problem until we passed Manchester but the rest of the journey was glorious. The setting sun over the Lake District and Cumbria was stunning. 

We approached Glasgow and for what remained of the evening was spent in a Premier Inn with a take away McDonalds for dinner. Not quite what I had in mind…..

Friday

Determined not to wake up too early, the day didn’t start too late and we left the Premier Inn just after the Glasgow rush hour traffic had cleared. 

A quick visit to the supermarket to stock up on essentials left us slightly red faced together with a new understanding for Scottish law. You can’t buy wine before 10am. (Of course wine is an essential!) The cashier was terribly understanding and held our trolley for 10 minutes until it was time to buy. 

The journey through Glasgow was easy and we were soon on the road to Loch Lomand and beyond and the sort of views we were hoping for. 

  
A quick lunch stop in Inverary (What a castle! – see below) and a visit to the fabulous Loch Fyne shop to pick up some treats, we were full of anticipation to see where we’d be spending the week.

 
We’d spent a lot of time looking at Google Maps to see where we were going to be staying but nothing could quite prepare us for how beautiful Crinan really was. 

The weather was fabulous and as we pulled into the car park, the famous Clyde Puffer was just arriving into the sea lock. 

 
Bags were unceremoniously dumped in the garden and we began what would become a week off boat spotting and other important nautical business. 

Seaview Cottage in the beautiful and tiny village of Crinan had been on our minds since January. We’d poured over reviews and photographs and convinced ourselves that we’d made the right decision. We weren’t wrong. 

   
   
Cosy, comfortable, warm, beautifully furnished and our own lighthouse – must I go on?

Tired and over-excited it was an early night in readiness for the week. 

Saturday

Did we sleep well? Oh yes. 

Did we get up in the middle of the night to make sure the sea was still there? Yes. 

Saturday morning saw us on a small drive to explore the area and to see what was on our doorstep. The problem with this area of Scotland is that 28 miles takes an hour to drive. 

First stop was the fascinating and slightly spooky island of Easdale. A fascinating place that used to be one of the most important slate mines in the country. Flooded in the 19th Century, the industry declined and now the car free island is home to just 60 residents.

You hail the council run ferry with a claxon from the mainland and you’re there in less than 5 minutes. Well worth the visit. It’s a long and winding road but stick with it. 

  
 When we booked the holiday, we planned a comprehensive (transport-wise) day trip to Islay, one of the Whisky producing islands in the inner-Hebrides. After a lot of tutting and teeth sucking from the locals we soon realised that this was a bad idea. “Too risky for a day”, “too far”, “you need to stay at least 2 nights”. 

After our boat trip tp Easdale we took a trip to Oban and fell instantly in love with the Cal Mac ferry that was going over to the Isle of Mull. 

  
That was going to be our boat day out!!!

One of the things that appealed to me most about Scotland was the fabulous seafood. We’d read that the hotel across the canal (The Crinan Hotel) served amazing seafood and best of all, it was landed at 5pm every day at the end of our garden!

True to their word, chef was waiting in anticipation and took the catch ashore at 5pm every day. (Excuse the quality of the photo. 

  
They (whoever they were) weren’t wrong. It was amazing!

  
Sunday

A day off! Or at least a day ‘at home’ in Crinan and the cottage. 

Another beautiful sunny day and we took a walk and a trip to the supermarket to buy Sunday lunch stuff. 

The weather was spectacular and towards early evening we spotted a fabulous ship coming in. The new birthday binoculars were proving to be a godsend. 

  

It was a Dutch charter which spent the majority of the summer sailing around Scotland and the Islands. 

After safely seeing it into the lock,  single handedly of course – we were experts by now, it was a pleasure to meet the captain and have him into the garden for a nip of whisky. 

  
He announced that Crinan was where he intended to retire. “The most beatiful place in the United Kingdom” – we agreed. 

The sunset over Jura, Scarba and Mull was amazing that night – just as the books had said. 

   
   
Monday

Up early – today was the big boat trip. Much excitement. 

Cal Mac ferries make it so easy. We were foot passengers so a quick ticket purchase and a Wetherspoon’s bacon sandwich (yes really – very good indeed) and we were onboard for the minimal sum of less than £5 each.
 
It was a busy ferry but plenty of room and we spent the short journey on deck. A bit of porpoise spotting later and we were there. 

We took the local bus to Tobermory (Ballamory to those of you with children). A beautiful little harbour town. The usual craft shops and distillery but worth a visit. A lovely place. 

  
A friend of ours said recently that the sign of a really good holiday is when you stop caring what other people think you look like and relax. This was certainly true by day 3. 

  
Part 2 to follow.