scotland: so these are the highlands…

theromanticThe morning after what shall henceforth be known as the Glasgow Catastrophe, we woke up… hopeful. Things couldn’t get worse, right?

RIGHT?

Eh, right. Things didn’t get worse, per se, but they most certainly didn’t get better. We woke up well before sunrise and just a bit bleary eyed, threw on our roadtrip clothes (god bless you, leggings and oversized flannel) (um, on me, not the hubs) and zipped out of the city, en route to Glencoe.

Nope, no, wait. First, I tried to put on my boots — one of only two pairs that I brought with me, and the same ones that had possibly broken my toe during the fire alarm more like FARCE ALARM. …sorry.

Anyway, I gingerly slipped my foot into my boot, slowly stood up, and yep, nope, excruciating pain. Luckily, my second pair of boots were my Hunters, which have oddly roomy toes, perfect for bruised appendages currently operating at 1.5 times their normal size. This ended up being my shoe of choice for the remainder of the trip… because they were the only ones I could wear. If we want to find a silver lining, though, I was, at the very least, seasonally appropriate. For the next 48 hours, it rained and rained and rained.

We checked out at reception, pulled up our hoods, and walked/hobbled out to the car. A few hours later, we were out of the city, the sky was a lighter shade of gray, and we were in the Scottish Highlands — a place we had both dreamed of visiting for a long, long time.

And this is what the stunning drive up through Glencoe and onto Inverness looks like in the rain & fog:

Glencoe - Rainy Highlands

The Highlands - Fog, fog, fogGranted, it was pretty breathtaking when you could actually see more than three feet in front of you. But we didn’t see any point in driving out of our way to visit Kilchurn Castle, and stopping to take photos in the rain wasn’t really feasible since, you know. You couldn’t actually see anything.

Oh, but here’s Loch Ness! Are you ready?!

Loch NessNot even worth stopping because you couldn’t see across the loch. Parker was particularly mad he wouldn’t be meeting Nessie.

Wheres Nessie?Where is that b??

At this point, we were both a little stir crazy from being in the car for SO LONG for NO REASON. We decided to just hightail it for the hotel, and hole up in our gorgeous home for the night.

Enter: Culloden House, the highlight of our trip to Scotland, and the one (only?) place I can officially recommend. We did everything — everything — wrong, but booking Culloden House at the very last second: totally, totally right.

Culloden HouseIsn’t she pretty?
(This pic is from the next morning and look! blue skies! …they didn’t last.)

Because we were only one of three rooms booked for the night, they had upgraded us to a massive suite at no additional cost! For £120, we had a place that was probably… twice the size of our current flat in London?

And almost immediately upon arrival, one of the (very astute) porters said, “Can I make you a drink? You look like you could use a drink.”

Scotch!Ignoring the implications of that statement, we graciously agreed, and he served us scotch & a whiskey sour by the fireplace. For the very first time in Scotland, we felt relaxed.

I will say that the place could use a little bit of an update. The house is beautiful, but everything just felt a bit dated and shabby — and not intentionally, you know? But that (small) observation aside, if you’re up near Inverness, I can’t recommend the Culloden House Hotel enough. Plus, cozy breakfast by the fire!

(Don’t mind my forced smile, I really was happy.)

Culloden House - BreakfastUnfortunately, our stay was all too short, and we were soon back in the car for our drive down to Edinburgh, with a few scheduled stops in between.

Almost none of which came through.

Listen, it’s not even worth getting into at this point, but basically, everything we planned unraveled. The distillery that Jeff checked the hours on THREE TIMES was randomly & inexplicably closed, the Cairngorm Reindeer experience was a bust (bad research on my part, very confusing website on their part), and by the time we made it to St. Andrews around 5 PM, it was completely dark and almost everything was closed. The weather continued to be completely moody — usually offering up a cloud burst right as we were about to stop and do something or take a photo.

Parker is Not AmusedPug’s face was just saying what we’re all thinking.

We did stop for scotch tastings at Rhoderick Dhu and Dalwhinnie, the latter of which was very well done because it was paired with chocolate:

DalwhinnieWhile I tried my best to enjoy the whiskeys, I much preferred nibbling on the chocolate. Parker and I also hung out with a little boy named Douglas who very politely asked, in his thick brogue, if he could give my doggy a cuddle. He declared Parker to be much more of a Weasley, and we were all getting along swimmingly until he turned to his mother and said, “Look, mummy! I think this lady is very pretty. Just like her doggy!”

Rude, Douglas.

Parker TwinOk, fine, I see it.

Occasionally, the sun would try her hardest to peek out, and we were reminded that we really, really need to come back:

Highlands RoadtripThis day was also slightly better than the one before, because we finally saw some castle ruins:

Scottish Castle RuinsCouldn’t tell you one thing about them, but it felt very Scottish and so I’m chalking it up as a win.

Unfortunately, the day ended with a check in at the worst “pet friendly” hotel ever. You can get a better idea from our brief Twitter exchange, but yeah… skip that hotel and stay somewhere in Edinburgh.

Which! Is our next and final stop on this little getaway, and was officially our favorite place of the trip. Bar is high, I know.

STAY TUNED.

xo!

the romantic

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18 Comments

  1. Gwyn Cunningham
    January 13, 2015 / 16:45

    My daughter and I are planning a trip to Scotland in May? I’ve read your post and enjoyed your pictures. If you could recommend a nice quaint hotel in Edinburgh? We are planning a 7-9 trip. My Fathers family are from that area and I’m sure I can ask him (and will) but wanted your tips and advise.
    I love ready your posts-

    • January 14, 2015 / 05:11

      ahhh, i’m sure you’ll have an amazing time!! the weather should at least be much better in may 😉 i’m not sure what your budget is, but take a look at “the witchery by the castle.” it kept coming up on my searches and when we walked past it, it looked adorable! it’s right next to edinburgh castle in the old part of the city. enjoy & let me know if you need anything else!
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..scotland: so these are the highlands…My Profile

  2. January 15, 2015 / 17:05

    Wow, what a mis-adventure! Except for the place you stayed and that you got good drinks 🙂

  3. January 17, 2015 / 01:24

    So, unfortunate events aside, do you have any tips for Glasgow? I’ll be visiting this summer.
    HotMamaTravel recently posted..Pregnant in Las VegasMy Profile

    • January 20, 2015 / 08:33

      if you take a look at the other post, i listed a bunch of pubs we really liked on ashton lane, along with dinner at brel (also on ashton)! we weren’t there for long, so that’s pretty much all i got. i can almost guarantee you’ll find it much more enjoyable in the summer 🙂
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..no travel requiredMy Profile

  4. January 21, 2015 / 20:15

    I certainly can identify with this after my recent Costa Rica trip. We paid some crazy fee to get a ride up to the Poas Volcano and it was so foggy it looked like the end of the world. The kind that Columbus expected to find. It was funny because at the overlook there were signs saying you could not stay there longer than 20 minutes, so when it is not foggy and rainy it really must be a crowded place. There were like 3 other people up there. At least it looked like you had a good time.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Hiking Santa Elena Reserve in a misty rainMy Profile

    • January 22, 2015 / 05:04

      ahhh yes. we went to costa rica during the off season and had a few experiences like that up near arenal!! luckily, the country makes up for it in about a thousand different ways 🙂
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..jetsetters: @brenontheroadMy Profile

  5. January 27, 2015 / 15:06

    I hate that you missed Kilchurn. We stayed in a B&B in the village next to Kilchurn. It was an awesome experience watching our then 5-year-old son climb around the ruins. We loved driving around through Glen Coe. We went in late May and the weather was perfect, so opposite of your experience. And I will say in the three B&Bs we stayed at in Scotland you could call parts of all of them shabby. My mother in law is British and I do think the style of Brits in many ways is “shabbier” than what I’m used to. Of course I might be using the term “shabby” a little differently.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..Elvis Presley Birthplace Honors the KingMy Profile

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