Monday, 1 July 2013

a trip to oban, glencoe, and the western highlands

We got back from the States last week, and I'm still having trouble convincing myself out of bed in the morning. I can't tell if it's the rainy weather or jet lag, but I have never been such good friends with my snooze button before. 
I've had a very busy few weeks here, what with two international trips, a wedding, graduation celebrations, and moving. And it won't be slowing down anytime soon because I've still got a dissertation to write.
No wonder I'm having difficulties getting up in the morning.
But enough of my woes. I know you're here for pretty pictures.

A few weeks ago, one of my good friends from home stopped by Glasgow on her way back to the States. Seeing as we had plenty of days to wander the city, I thought it would be fun to do a Highland tour like the one I did over Christmas break. Timberbush didn't have a tour we were looking for on the date we wanted, so we went with Rabbie's. I highly recommend both companies if you're looking for a way to get to the Highlands.

Our first stop was Loch Lomond...

and yes, I was singing the song in my head the entire time.

Next it was onto Glencoe. 

It's hard to believe that this beautiful glen was the site of such a massacre as the one that happened here in 1692.  

This stunning view is taken from the steps of Kilchurn Castle, which is actually just ruins at this point. 

According to our guide, the castle was originally on an island and was built sometime in the 15th century.

The path in this picture is a relatively new thing, since the castle was only connected to the shore of the loch after the water levels dropped. 

Kilchurn is situated on Loch Awe, and it's no wonder how it got its name.

Kilchurn also features the teeniest, tiniest stairs I have ever had the privilege to climb. They were most definitely not built for those of us with hips...if I'd been five pounds heavier, I would have had to go sideways up the stairs. That's not even a teensy bit of a joke, y'all. 

They look friendly enough from this angle, but not pictured is the insanely tight turn at the top.

As any of you with semi-recent iPhones will understand, I'm obsessed with the panorama option on my phone's camera. I'm just waiting for the day when Nikon pairs up with a phone company and creates the best phone camera lens ever.

Katrina and I definitely discussed moving into Kilchurn. It was abandoned in the 18th century. It could totally be ours. It doesn't matter that it's roofless. We're Florida girls. We were raised to be handy with a tarp. 

After leaving my future home of Kilchurn, we headed to Oban. Oban is a town on the Western coast of Scotland and it's known for (oh joy of joys!) delicious seafood.

I'm not sure how we convinced Scotland to give us such beautiful weather, but I'm certainly grateful for it.

Just look at all that blue sky! 

We made the very wise decision of eating at Eeusk, which sits right on the bay. I got to eat seafood to my heart and wallet's content. If it were up to my stomach, I would have gone in debt for more scallops.

I wish we'd gotten to spend a bit more time in Oban. It's mostly my fault that we didn't get to do much exploring, because I was the one who wanted a real lunch instead of going to a chippy.

We even got to see a big yellow Lab go for a swim in the bay. I wish I'd been able to get a good picture of him as he jumped in the water.

One of the things I like the most about both Rabbie's and Timberbush is that the tours are very small, with a max of 10-12 people, so the guides tend to make stops off the beaten path. I typically hate to travel in groups, but the small size of these tours is really wonderful.

And what I mostly meant by that last bit is that I have no idea where these pictures were taken. Somewhere on the side of the road in the west of Scotland is the best that I can do, I'm afraid.

It was bluebell season, and let me just tell you--I am obsessed with bluebells. There were patches like this all over the place. I pretty much glued my face to the window to watch them pass like a mist of purple. 

That house is going to be my summer home. You know, for when I get sick of living in an awesome castle in the Highlands and want a relaxed vacation of staring at baby sheep.

And maybe floating in an inner tube on the river. In a wetsuit. Do they make parkas out of wetsuit material?

I'm also friends with Rapunzel, clearly.

We hadn't seen much wildlife on our tour, but luckily for us, our guide knew a spot where red deer frequent. I also got to feed this little guy-- he's not very little... (And for the record, I was conflicted about feeding wild animals, but apparently not conflicted enough to let the opportunity pass me by.)

thanks to Katrina for letting me steal this one!

Our final stop was once again on the banks of Loch Lomond, but this time in the lovely village of Luss.

I'm not going to lie to you--after we got home, I looked up real estate in Luss. And then I wept a bit, in knowing that I will never be able to afford a little cottage there.

The trip was really lovely and it was a great opportunity to do some traveling without spending too much or having to do much work for it. Can't ask for much more than that, huh? 
I have lots more to come--the new flat and our trip to the States are at the top of the list! 
As always, feel free to email/comment! 


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All materials on this blog belong to me, unless stated otherwise. I try to give credit where it is due, but the internet is a vast wasteland of images separated from their creators. If you own something I post that is not attributed to you, please contact me and I will fix it stat. STAT. Like a doctor running down the hallways of the hospital to restart someone's heart. Exactly like that.