Leeds – UK

SCOTLAND – four days on the road with my Dad

On Saturday the third of February, my Dad and I departed from Leeds for a road trip to Scotland to live its wonderful nature. Driving in the 1986 BMW 316 our first destination was Loch Lomond. After a complete fuel up at the first petrol station, we were ready for the road.

Our first stop was Balmaha at the Loch Lomond. From what I saw, a small town consisted of no more than ten houses. We stayed there for one night and the next day we hiked up Ben Lomond, which would be our first ever Munro. Munro’s are all the Scottish mountains that are taller than 914 meters. A total number of  282 Munro’s are known. And the Scottish mountaineering club runs a list with all names of peoples that have completed all hikes. The most known must probably be Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Scotland. Unfortunately, we did not attempt to conquer this summit, as I believe it is fair to say that we are still amateurs in this field. So we started out with Ben Lomond, then made it to the summit of Meall a’ Bhuachaille and finally got up Stac Pollaidh (which is not a Munro but high enough to astonish with an incredible view!).

But before we arrived at our first hotel, we turned out to be really lucky. As we had pulled over on this road (see above), we found a frozen wallet with 135 pounds. Unfortunately, there was no ID, credit card or anything else than the money inside … So all we could do was keep the wet and frozen notes and arrive really cheerfully in Balmaha. Eventually, we arrived at Loch Lomond, where I was able to take these pictures and get a first impression of what we might hike up the next day (see the mountains in the background).

DAY 2:

On our second day, we hiked up the 974 Meters tall Ben Lomond and continued driving to our second destination after arriving back at the car, which was parked at the lake laying on the feet of the mountain.

The track started fairly easy with no major difficulties but got more and more covered with snow as we got higher up the mountain. Reaching the summit and then walking back down to the carpark took us five hours and was the longest of our hikes. But only about 30 minutes into the hike both of us noticed our first mistake. We were packed into our warm winter jackets which ended up being to warm. But luckily enough, we had carried our waterproofs with us that we wore from there on. We still had to carry our big jackets for the next four and a half hours though. But walking with these rather thin jackets made it a lot easier and more comfortable.

After we had reached the bottom, we got back on the road driving to our next destination to rest for our second Munro.

DAY 3:

On Monday the fifth, we took off for our second Munro on the highCairngorm plateau North of Braemar. Unlike the previous day, we decided to head off wearing our waterproofs only and leaving behind our warmer jackets. This time we were convinced that we were better equipped for the day. But indeed, these thin jackets where still to warm (at least for the first 50 minutes). But not too long after we reached the snow-border, got surprised by an extremely strong wind. Having to fight against this strong wind and the other difficulties that we had getting up the summit wasn’t easy! In fact, when we hadn’t even reached half of the distance, there was no marked path anymore. Everything was covered in deep snow and the strong wind made us two freeze while trying to hold on against being blown away.  Even our helpful spikes and good shoes didn’t make it against sinking shin-deep in the snow. Especially the last ten minutes before reaching the summit made us struggle quite a bit! Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend more than ten minutes on the summit because of the strong wind and deep snow.

Nevertheless, our second Munro was another unbelievable experience with such stunning views!

Once again, we took off after arriving back at the carpark. This time heading even further north to Ullapool to be close to Stac Pollaidh, our last summit for this trip.

Ullapool was the most north we could get, housing only 1500 inhabitants. Only one small road came from Inverness and led us there.

It went past a water reservoir and for once covered in dust instead of snow. Driving along the orange hills with white tops must have been one of myfavourite experiences from this trip! Cutting the corners and avoiding the potholes while admiring the landscape is unforgettable!

DAY 4:

After spending our night in Ullapool and enjoying being so close to the Atlantic and walking around in this amazing town we drove our frozen BMW to Stac Pollaidh, the last summit we would reach. After our hike, we drove back past Ullapool, down to Inverness and all the way along Loch Ness to Fort William. We then spent our last night in Port Appin and headed back to Leeds the next day. As we arrived at the small carpark at the bottom of Stac Pollaidh, coming up on a single lane road, we quickly noticed that we were the only ones out there. And even a couple hours later, after we came back from our hike no one had passed by. However, we took off to reach the top. This time our hike wasn’t too long, but the path was a lot more difficult to walk on and especially the last bit was really steep. On top of that, we were surprised by another strong wind, snow and even hail that didn’t stop until we were back at the car. But nonetheless the difficult weather conditions, we had another great day and a magnificent view!

DAY 5:

So we woke up in Port Appin and had our last day. Driving back to Leeds was a seven hour journey, but before getting back on the road we did want to see one last “attraction” before heading back. The big Glencoe Valley. At first, we stopped in Kinlochleven, thinking that we would find it there. So we started walking along the west highland way for a bit but didn’t find it … Disappointed we got back in the car and started driving back to Leeds. As we drove along the A82 we were led right through the valley. We couldn’t drive through it without stopping at least once.

This is how our road trip ended and I was back in Leeds.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and the images created on the trip. Any feedback is highly appreciated! And any questions are welcome!

To see more of my work follow me on Instagram @jasperphotographiert!