Wednesday, 24th September

After enjoying a lovely breakfast with our host, we took in the scenery at the front door. Our BnB was across the road from the loch and the first photo below was the view from our bedroom window. The second photo is the BnB in Dornie that we stayed in.

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To get to our next destination, Glenfinnan, we had to drive past Eilean Donan. Since we were in the area, we thought we might stop and take another thousand photos. 🙂

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The scenery between Dornie and Glenfinnan was incredible – different to what we had seen so far in Scotland, but no less beautiful. We even found a secret clearing in a forest on the side of the road in the area of Loch Eil. It was magical. We stopped and had a cup of tea and took lots of photos.

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In the movie Highlander (the same one filmed in Dornie) there is a line: “I am Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. I was born in 1518 in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel. And I am immortal.”

Keith wanted to see the village of Glenfinnan and stand on the shores of Loch Shiel. When Bec found out that it was also home to the Glenfinnan Viaduct – famous for scenes in Harry Potter involving the Hogwarts Express train – we HAD to go there.

Sometimes things fall into place. We arrived about fifteen minutes before a daily event – a steam train crossing the viaduct. People had come from all over the world specifically to see this and we happened to be there at the right time.

It was surreal. Keith took lots of photos and Bec shed a little tear in happiness.

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Ten minutes walk away from the viaduct was Loch Shiel. Keith got his chance to stand on the shore.

IMG_4097 IMG_4131IMG_4120 While standing on the shore of Loch Shiel, the bleak grey day gave way to a stunning blue sky. The landscapes on our drive to Glasgow were nothing short of amazing.

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Today was one of our favourite days, but also one of the longest. We reached Glasgow just as night fell (around 7:30pm). We checked in, had some dinner, wrote a blog post and planned the next day.

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Fortunately during our trip so far there hadn’t been much on our itinerary that we had missed. On this occasion time had beaten us and we just didn’t have an opportunity to explore Glasgow. Definitely one for the list of places to see when we come back to the UK.

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2014 European Adventure Scotland

Tuesday, 23rd September

We had about six hours of driving today to reach our final destination of Dornie, however, we were really excited about exploring some of the best scenery in Scotland. After leaving Edinburgh we made our way North past Perth through Killiecrankie and into the Cairngorms National Park with our first stop being at Inverness.

The scenery was constantly changing between dense woods and hidden castles to sparse rolling mountains covered in fog and heather. We had to stop every half an hour or so to get more photos.

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We were starting to feel the change in weather now that we were in the middle of autumn. The stops became more frequent as we needed cups of tea (when in the UK….) to warm up and enjoy the scenery.

One of the memorable stops we made was at a random information centre (mostly for the toilet after all those cups of tea). The centre was nestled in the middle of a damp forest that had crazy moss and weird little flowers growing everywhere on tall trees that blocked out the weak sun.

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We reached Inverness really keen for breakfast. We found a car park in a shopping centre and headed out to find a cafe. The cafe we found was great, but didn’t have poached eggs on toast to quench Bec’s craving. However, they did have Eggs Benedict… so we introduced them to Aussie humour, ordering Eggs Benedict without the Benedict. 🙂

After enjoying breakie, we explored further finding Inverness Castle. The Castle, of course, is perched on top of the city and has amazing views of the river and the city beyond. In fact, the strangest thing we realised about the river was that although it was quite wide, it was extremely shallow – there were fishermen in the middle of the river wearing rubber pants!

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With a full belly and an urge to find sea monsters, we set off for Loch Ness. Every thirty seconds Keith was sure he saw the monster, but then realised it was a false alarm. Regardless of the lack of giant sea creatures, Loch Ness was spectacular. We took lots of photos and stopped in at the visitors centre.

While it was sad that we didn’t see Nessy, it was unbelievable what they wanted to charge us to see an exhibition at the visitors centre – so we sought tea and scones elsewhere.

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About half an hour away from the Loch Ness Visitors Centre, we found the perfect place for tea and scones – The Redburn Cafe. If you are ever in the area, this should be a must stop on your list. The people that own the Redburn Cafe are lovely and welcoming, everything is home made on site with local produce. The cafe has been purpose built for tourists on their property… a property that also is the home to some Highland Coos.

Until this point, Highland Coos were about as real as Nessy since we hadn’t seen any. When we mentioned them to the owners, they actually went and got them to come over to us, enticing them to the fence with some food! We couldn’t believe our eyes. They were so cute with their huge horns and emo fringes. By the way, they aren’t some mythical beast – Coo is the way the Scottish say “cow”. 🙂

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After leaving the cafe, we only had about another 45 minutes to our final destination for the day – Dornie. Again, the landscape changed and we loved seeing the huge mountains and numerous lochs. We even got to see the famous Scottish heather up close.

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Eilean Donan is a small tidal island where three lochs meet, Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh, in the western Highlands of Scotland; since the castle’s restoration in the early 20th Century, a footbridge has connected the island to the mainland. In the 13th century the first castle was built on the island, but over the years has been destroyed and rebuilt many times.

More importantly, and the reason why Keith was so excited to come here, there were a few movies filmed here. The movie ‘Highlander’ (Keith’s favourite movie) was filmed here as well as some scenes from the Bond movie – ‘The World is Not Enough’. We explored the whole castle and the museum like rooms they have set up for visitors.

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After taking thousands of photos, we headed off to check in to our accommodation. We decided to get some dinner and had a choice of two pubs, being the only places open in the area. We had a great meal at the pub we chose and met a mother and daughter from our home town back in Australia! They had travelled to this village for the same reason we had.

After dinner we headed back down to the castle to take a thousand more photos – to our surprise it was lit up at nighttime and looked amazing!

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Happy with the photos we headed back to our cute little B&B and enjoyed chatting with the owner – an expat that had been in Dornie for 30 years, but was originally from Melbourne! We went to bed, deciding to go back in the morning to take another thousand photos… just in case. 😉

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2014 European Adventure Scotland