(I just got home from a trip to London, but I have a couple of blog posts I want to get written before to catch up so come back soon.)
I had booked my tickets for the wedding in Scotland so I would have a couple of days before going back. I didnt plan much but asked Jamie – a Scottish friend in Prague – for ideas of where to go and what to see.
First leg of my trip was from the place of the wedding in Dunfermline. I was thinking of hitchhiking but it was raining so instead I got a lift with the newlywed couple on their way to their honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands. As we were driving north the landscape changed from flat scenery similar to Denmark to higher hills, less civilization and more sheep. They set me off in Aviemore a cosy little town at the beginning of the highlands. They have Scotlands highest funicular by Avimore but I didnt have time to make my way out to it. Instead I saw the town and jumped on a bus.
Early in the evening I arrived in Inverness where I found a bed for the night at a hostel. In the evening I went out to Hootananny where they have live music every night. I saw a cool Scottish band (didnt get their name tho). Here is one of their songs (turn it on and continue reading):
The next day I had a beautiful walk out of town along River Ness.
At the end of the city I arrived at a spot I thought would be good but saw that there was another hitcher. So I sat down with my book behind some trees. A few minutes later the other guy had apparently been lucky and I stepped up to the spot. The third vehicle that passed me was a truck with a very long trailer. He slammed his breaks and I jumped in and I was rolling. The easiest ride I have ever had I think Here we are driving by the castle at Loch Ness as the driver talks of the difficulties driving on the roads by Glen Coe.
I got a ride with the trucker for the length of Loch Ness, the biggest of Scotlands lochs or lakes. The weather was great and I had a couple of great hours talking about Loch Ness monsters (he gave it a 50/50 chance of being real), Scottish culture and politics and life on the road. My driver was toothless (or missed at least a bunch of teeth) and was very talkative but after we had been quite for a few minutes he would start making fart-whistling noises with his gums funny guy. The roads in these parts of the country are very narrow and not built for big trucks (and busses as you will later see). There were a couple of times where we were very close to the oncoming traffic but I made it to Fort William in one piece and said goodbye to the driver. I had a lunch break in Fort William and a pint of hand pumped beer at a pub with an outdoor patio with a nice view. Here is a picture from the church in Fort William.
Then I continued on in a bus to Glen Coe. I made it to Glencoe Village late in the afternoon and walked a couple of miles out of the village to find the hostel and a bed for the night. Before the sun set I went for a walk in the beautiful scenery.
Next day I tried to hitchhike southwards but there was hardly any traffic so I ended up taking a bus instead. This was the view from my hitchhiking spot by Glen Coe not the worst place to spend an hour.
Riding in trucks and buses is actually really great in this part of Scotland because you really get to enjoy the vastness of the nature in big panorama windows. However for the drivers its another story. As our big bus was speeding through the bends along Loch Lomond there was a truck coming from the other side. The drivers avoided collision but our bus ended up scrapping the stone wall along the whole side of the bus.
The result was that all the luggage compartment locks broke and the bus driver was not allowed to continue before that was fixed. So we ended up being stuck for a good hour until a replacement bus arrived.
Later I finally arrived in Glasgow. Jamie had said I could stay at his parents house in Glasgow which I was really grateful for. I found their house and talked a bit Scottish history with his mum. All I knew of Scottish history before I went was Braveheart and the story of William Wallace. The rest of Scotlands history is just as interesting and sad with events like the The Highland Clearance.
In the evening I went to explore Glasgow on foot. I was expecting something out of Trainspotting but found a very warm and friendly city.
Scotland in three days is definitely nothing more than an appetizer and I feel I was rushing when I could easily spend a full day or three in all the places I stopped. It is a country I would love to go back to. I think it would be great to go to an area like Glen Coe for a couple of days pull the plug out and just enjoy the wonders of nature.
Thanks to Jamie for his suggestions and help. Jamie Smith is a folk musician and has just moved back to London. I will definitely go see him play next time Im in London. So should you