Scotland - Driving thorough the mountains, lakes and sea

Friday, April 01, 2016


Working in IT has its own advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages are you dont have any personal life on the weekdays and even on some weekends. You work so hard that if you were to tell anybody they wont believe. And then if you love to travel there are always some bosses who doesnt approve your leaves and you plans gets cancelled multiple time. The advantages is you get to travel, not only within the country but even to dream places outside the country. Some of the bhpians call this "Paid vacation". I even had an argument for using this term, but then if you think wisely you might agree with it. So my job has let me travelled few places in the UK, Scotland being one of them.

The most amazing thing about Scotland is it has everything, starting from small villages to big cities, from costal roads to highest mountains. The highlands are always the favourite part. I am sure everyone must have seen movies like Skyfall, Braveheart, Harry Potter which gives the flavour of Scotland highlands. Everything within a days drive. I have always dreamt about driving on the scotish higways. The scottish highways are spread through cities, towns, mountians and coasts. They are always a treat to drive on. The highways are called motorways (M) and then there are different grade of roads like A,B,C and D.


Prepration for the trip - The year's Easter gave me the oppurtunity to visit Scotland once again. We had 4 days holiday and Scotland was the only choice. It usually takes 5-6 days to cover everything (ofcourse not everything). I rented a car from Enterprise car hire. I booked the car in february, got it cheper. My Indian license allows me to drive a car or bike in the UK for 12 months from the day I have entered here. This time I got a Seat Leon FR. I was expecting a crossover, but then after getting this 140 bhp car I didnt want any crossover. The rooms were booked in youth hostels in different places. Everything was planned and ready a month advance of the trip.


Thursday/Friday-  I picked up the car in the morning and worked the rest of the day from home. The plan was to drive in the night to reach Edinburgh next day. Edinburgh was 400 miles away, but then I had to go to London to pickup 2 friends. I met them at 10:30 pm in London. We drove on the M40/M6 thourgh Birmingham, Manchester. The highways are 6 lane and sometimes 8 lanes. At night there are rarely any vehicles, only few trucks, which makes the drive very boring. And a boring drive always tends to sleep. The good thing is usually you get a service every 10 miles. So I felt too sleepy I drove to one of those services just before sunrise. Parked the car and slept for an hour. When I woke up I saw several other vehicles parked alike and the owners/passengers sleeping. So that was a very common practice on those highways. From a place called Carlisle we took A7, from here the A7 took us to the regions of Scottish borders and several villages. Several small incident happened during the night, like at one place at night we stopped for a break. As 2 of us stepped out of the car there were something howling. It was completely dark outside, only the headlight of our car glowing.


In the morning before entering Edinburgh we passed through several villages with beautiful landscapes. I drove around 600 miles from Cardiff to London to Edinburgh.



We entered Edinburgh Youth hostel to check in, but unfortunately came to know that the check in time was 3 pm. I was hoping to take some rest, a nap may be before we go out to roam around. We didnt have any choice but to rest at the reception for an hour. Later on we kept our luggages in the car and went to Edinburgh castle.




The next thing to see was Arthur's seat. It is the main peak in Edinburgh. One has to trek to reach to the top. As we were extremely exhausted we had to think twice to start the trek. The trek was not a typical mountain trekking, but a easy one compared to the one we have in the Himalayas, but we were so exhausted that this little walk was like climbing a huge mountain. Once we reached the top, after multiple breaks and taking almost an hour we got an amazing view. Fortunately we had a bright sunny day and Edinburgh looked so amazing from top. The trekking paid off and we got to see entire city.




The rest of the evening was spent lying around, searching for Indian food and a good scotch. The hostel had given us separate room. They had bunker beds, however the bed didnt matter then, we were dead tired and fell asleep as soon as we hit the bed.


Saturday - There was a long drive planned for this day and I was eagerly waiting for it. I woke up as early as possible. The drive from Edinburgh to Inverness to Isle of Sky is the one I dreamt about. This drive includes everything one can ask for. The Leon was just perfect for this kind of drive. Let the picture speak for themselves -




More or less the entire Saturday rained. I did have fun driving all those highways in the rain, but hoped the weather was clear. I am sure Scotland would look much better in a sunny day. The hostel we stayed was on a cliff and the sea was just right in front. These youth hostels are pretty cheap and anyone who don't mind sharing will enjoy them. The view from the hostel was too good.




Sunday - Even Sunday started with heavy rain. Today was the last day in the highlands and only because I wanted to drive in the highlands I came here for the second time, so I wanted to make the full use of the day. We missed many spots yesterday due to rain and low light so planned to cover all of them today.




We stopped at Ford William to have our lunch. After lunch we went to see the famous Harry porter bridge. 




The weather clear after 11pm for sometime. We headed straight towards Glasgow after completing most of the places in Highlands. Took couple of breaks in between to click pictures. The pictures doesnt do justice to the place, wish I could have been a better photographer and it would not have rained. Scotland is amazing if you love to drive, driving on those highways are like dream come true. The only problem for us is that we cant stop just where we want, there are parking spaces where one should park the car. Still much better and safer to drive in high speeds. We saw few supercars and superbikes running at high speed on the costal parts, they must have having a fun of their lifetime. I can guess, I was driving a 140 bhp Seat and I know how it felt.



I have missed Batman v Superman just because of Scotland, so we planned to watch this movie in Glasgow. But how did I know what lied ahead. Glassgow is a wonderful city at night, full of pubs and gentleman's club. But the problem was our hostel, we booked Euro hostel and the room was terrific, sorry not the room, the bathroom was. We were placed to another large room but somehow we didnt want to stay at Glasgow any more. So after having our dinner in a cChinese restaurant we drove straight for London. Quite a drive for a day.

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