I have taken my family to Scotland for the first time. With three boys of 8, 13 and 15 you should think Scotland would not be the first place on the “fav. places to go”-list. Disney Land and Greece would probably rank higher. Still, my golfing and whisky-loving husband was more than happy. We started out from tiny Göteborg Airport with a short delay with Ryan Air. We had booked a car through Arnold Clark, a local firm, with much lower prices than the international ones. At the airport we simply called them and got fetched by minibus and taken to their office between Prestwick and Ayr. During the 15 min. drive our chauffeur told us the story behind the company and it’s owner. The “grand ol’ man” himself, now turned 80, is a “well off man” but down to earth and treats everybody alike. He lives in Helensburgh towards Loch Lomond and there you can see his boat, the famous racing one that Duran Duran member Simon Le Bon once owned.
We started out in heavy rain with signs warning us for flooding and “drive careful and courteous” and reached our first stop Gowanlea Guesthouse in Balloch at the beginning of Loch Lomond. Unfortunately for my husband, the Barclays Scottish Open (golf of course) had just finished the day before at the maybe most beautiful golf course in Europe, Loch Lomond Golf Club. And of course, we left the Prestwick Area just when the British Open should start at Turnberry, another hard blow to a golfers heart!
Balloch is only 1 hour drive from Prestwick Airport and a tiny, pretty village with several guesthouses, B&B’s and restaurants. We tried the Italian “La Cocina” with great success and luckily made it for the last order at 21:00. The Gowanlea GuestHouse run by Andrea and John was very nice and the bathrooms newly renovated in modern, Scandinavian style! The breakfast was probably the best during our trip!
Next day we started off, again in heavy rain, along Loch Lomond. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National park is known to be one of the most beautiful national parks but unfortunately you don’t see very much of the lake or actually anything when it’s raining. Not before reaching the mountains and Tyndrum the rain started to slow down and we took a quick look at “the real Café” a well known and famous stop for fish & chips. In Tyndrum they also have a famous “welly – shop” or rain boots as we call it, might come in need when travelling to Scotland! (August and May are the months with less rain! July, as we have chosen is an unpredictable month they say.)
Further on towards Glencoe and the dark and mysterious valley. The scenery is stunning and history is cruel. Here, in Glencoe, most of the MacDonald clan was massacred by another Scottish clan on order from the English government. Visit the VisitorCentre to get the history!
Again, on the road towards Fort William. This small town, marked by ramblers and walkers, is quiet nice with several B&B’s, restaurants and shops. We found a pub-like restaurant that allowed the kids in and here our youngest found his favourite chicken wings!
But still no Hamish to be seen! These famous long haired cows are so cute you just want to bring one home. The kids spied for them everywhere but only sheeps and regular cows came along so far!
Follow me again tomorrow when we will go on to look for Nessie, the sea monster, and take on more Scottish gruesome history and some really nice Indian food in Inverness.