I spent the last two weeks driving around Scotland with my good friend Alex. We met in London, picked up a blue Audi A3, and promptly got used to driving on the lefthand side while making our way to Edinburgh.
After a couple days in the architecturally stunning capital, we went further north to a small town called Inverness. Inver is Gaelic for river mouth and Ness is the name of the lake, as in Loch Ness (Lake Ness). The town is situated at the opening of the river which drains Loch Ness. We followed the bank of Loch Ness through the glens to a grimy little hostel near the southern end of the great Loch.
The next day we toured around the Isle of Skye — it was absolutely gorgeous geography with a million little peninsulas and beautiful mountains. We also visited our first distillery, Talisker.
Getting back to the mainland we took a rest day in Oban — a picturesque village if there ever was one — and, in a fun little hostel built into an old church, I received a detailed history lesson from an older man who must have been Connery’s twin. Aye!
What should have been a 2 hour ferry ride to the Isle of Islay (Whisky distillery central!) turned into a 12 hour epic due to a ferry breakdown (we had to drive to another town, catch a different ferry that took a longer route, etc), but when we got to the B&B at quarter pass midnight, the owner poured us a wee dram and all our problems became as resolved as the 110 proof liquor heating our bellies.
On the Isle of Islay (eye-lah), we visited 5 distilleries in 24 hours, and it… was… good! Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, Laphroaig, Kilchoman, and Lagavulin. Side note: Scotch Whisky isn’t any cheaper at the source — there’s just bottles you can’t find in Canada.
To finish it off, we spent two days in Glasgow. Some people told me to skip Glasgow, but it was awesome. It’s more of a functioning city and less touristic than Edin-brah. We owe our great experience in Glasgow in no small part to Debbie (who I met in a hostel in Vienna a couple years back) and her partner Hamish — big thumbs up for random hostel friends. She took us to an open-mic night and wickedly hilarious comedy show with at least a dozen stand-ups.
Right, so, two days to go in London and then I’m back home!