Left a Piece of my Heart in Scotland - Part 2
This was the part of the whole holiday where I felt extremely content, my heart was overflowing and I was genuinely so happy. I felt like I've won life and that living was worth it for moments like these. Basically, if I were to die, I would die happy.
Taking us back a few days/weeks ago, I was actually planning on going on the trip alone not knowing whether Basel was into this kind of stuff. He was up for it but as usual, you always have your doubts - are you wanting to go because you actually want to or do you feel forced to. As much as I wanted to go with someone, I also didn't want someone that would stop me from enjoying myself. He turned out to be one of, if not the best travel buddy I've ever had. It was like going with another me!
I hadn't planned anything until I got to Scotland and it became a pretty last minute trip. We booked at what seemed to be some crappy Airbnb in Fort Williams for the weekend because it was cheap and the photos didn't look great. Managed to get a car which would need to be picked up from Stirling - which we had only realised that there were no trains to Edinburgh from on the day we come back. Luckily enough, Basel spotted it and we managed to sort it out the night before. It wasn't the greatest start but I was feeling super optimistic and excited nonetheless.
Day 8 - 24 Dec
Edinburgh > Stirling > Fort Williams (via Callander, Tyndrum)
The whole trip started with missing the train to Stirling which lead to a grumpy Basel. Luckily, I've dealt with grumpy people being a pretty grumpy person myself. (As above, it was like going with another me!) I found it a bit funny how we actually didn't have to go through any of that if we had realised that we could actually catch the same train from a train station nearer to the flat. Bad planning on my side. But anyway, we delayed the car pick up, bought some groceries and snacks for the journey and got on the train to Stirling. Sorted.
Arriving in Stirling, we found our car but had a nightmare trying to figure out how to turn the bloody engine on. Called Jad and he couldn't help us much because he obviously wasn't there. So we called Enterprise, and Umar was the nicest person ever, helping us get through the process of setting up the car. Sorted.
I'm not the best co-driver in the world so I got a bit of a nagging once we set off but it was alright - I deserved it. We were essentially trying to get to Fort Williams before it gets too dark because it'd be impossible to drive around there in the dark without the street lamps. At one point, I think it may have been right outside of Stirling, Basel turned to me and said "I'm okay now." Sorted.
We got the phones connected to the car, got some music playing, tried to figure out the speed limit, had some snacks and got comfy. The highlands was beautiful. I made fun of Mummy who used to record every single journey when we were up in the highlands a couple years back but I get it now??? That was exactly what I did. If my hand could withstand the cold better, I would have had a 2 - 3 hour recording of the drive.
It was then time for our next nightmare which was trying to fill up the car. We had to call enterprise again because the card wasn't working but ended up just using our own card to pay first to be claimed later. After gazillion tries, that was sorted. It wasn't too bad of an experience to be fair because the view from the petrol station was amazing.
We continued our drive and stopped at a few places. I'd point out the stop but the thing is, I would never see one until we're like 5 meters away from it. Luckily, there weren't many cars on the road so we could do that. I was obviously enjoying the view but I'm not exactly the one driving so it was a bit unfair on the driver. As bad as I felt, I couldn't do anything about it, just thought I'd add this as a disclaimer.
At one of the stops, I felt extremely content and so I said that if that was what love felt like, then I'm ready to be heartbroken a million times. Those words came back and bit me in the backside... Do I want to be heartbroken a million times? Probably not but I'd do the trip all over again even though it means I'd feel this way after.
Once we got to Fort Williams, we went to get coffee and dropped by the shops to get our groceries for the weekend. Left most of the work to the chef. Is it starting to get very clear now that I hardly had any responsibilities on this trip? After that, we headed to our Airbnb and was extremely surprised by it. It was clean, comfy and had nearly everything we needed but the best bit was that it had the largest window in the living room overlooking the loch and mountains. Unfortunately, it was dark and I had to wait the next morning.
I volunteered to put dinner in the oven and we watched a few movies until it was time for bed.
Day 9 - 25 Dec
Fort Williams > Steall Waterfall > Glenfinnan Viaduct > Copach > Fort Williams
It was Christmas morning, I woke up at 6 ish and was extremely excited to see the view but only saw Basel on the couch when I had politely given him the good bedroom. It was still too dark out so I lazed around before getting ready and spent the morning staring out the window watching it get brighter. I actually wanted to see the sunrise but couldn't find any nice spots that wouldn't be blocked by the mountains. We had breakfast then went off on the best bit of the trip - Steal Waterfalls. It was a 20 minute scenic drive away from our Airbnb and our first stop was a small waterfall just off the car park. We only stopped because I saw someone stopping and there was a parking lot right next to it.
The waterfall was beautiful. We spent some time there exploring the area and skipping some pebbles. Mr Cocky said that he could do more skips if the river was wider bla bla bla. As you would. And then we got back into the car and drove to the actual place we wanted to go to. At one point, the road got really narrow and we got a bit uneasy thinking we're not meant to be driving there but we had put all trust onto google maps and it got us to the car park.
The hike started and we refilled our water bottle at every opportunity we could because where else could you actually get the natural water of the scottish highlands! It was about an hour hike on a quite easy track and so worth it. When we got there, we felt like we were at a movie scene, it felt unreal! No words can describe it and no photos can capture the actual beauty.
We walked across the Glen Nevis Rope Bridge, did a celebratory Ronaldo-type SIUUUUUU when we got to the other side and headed to the waterfall. It was beautiful, again, it felt unreal. I took off my boots, took of my socks and dipped my feet in the water. Was I crazy? Yes. Was I silly? Yes. Did I feel like I ticked off a box? YES! It was only a few seconds but I felt accomplished. I spent the next few minutes trying to warm myself up again.
Basel found his little spot, laid down and felt like he was under the water dududududu. I found my little spot and stared out into the mountains with the background sound of the waterfall. And then after what felt like a few minutes but was really a long time, I had to spoil the moment and say that we should leave. I've genuinely never felt so bad. I knew Basel was really enjoying his time there and so was I but we didn't have much daylight. I now get how parents feel when they tell their kids it's time to go home, it was heartbreaking.
So we spent a couple more minutes to just take it in. Not wanting to go on the rope bridge again, we thought we'd do some river crossing. Which I love!!! But we failed and ended up getting our shoes wet because of all the mud that we trudged through. What could've been just a quick walk back became a very long one because of this little adventure we had but I enjoyed it - I love things like this. At one point in the middle of the river, I somehow regained all the confidence I had and skipped through as if it was nothing. Brought me back to my childhood. We were held by traffic at the rope bridge crossing and then had our lunch in the car. I was content and happy.
We then headed to Glenfinnan but on the way, we stopped by the road side to take in the views and the friends we made during the rope bridge crossing honked us as they passed and that was a bit cute. Glenfinnan Viaduct wasn't what I had hoped it to be but the lake across the road was. Seeing as it was a lake, I now regret not tasting the water to see if it was salty or not. We set off trying to catch the sunset at Mallaig but it felt too far away so we turned back and walked around Copach before heading back to the Airbnb.
Basel made steak for our late lunch early dinner which tasted amazing. We watched a few movies, I think I fell asleep but then woke up at 11PM feeling hungry so Basel cooked the salmon. I was spoilt but I'm grateful.
Day 10 - 26 Dec
Fort Williams > Falls of Bruar (via Laggan) > Falls of Tummel > Stirling > Edinburgh
I woke up around 8 and washed the dishes from last night while staring at the mountains. What a view - I'd wash dishes all day long if I get to do that there. We again had breakfast by the window and took our time to just enjoy it. We didn't want to leave. I don't know why anyone would want to leave but we finished off our breakfast and eventually ended up getting into the car for the drive back.
We decided to take a different route back and found ourselves going further north where it started to snow! We hadn't expected it, we didn't actually want it because we didn't want to drive in it but it was a magical surprise. We again had a few stops to just take in the scenery. At one point, the snow looked a bit thicker so I got Basel to stop so I could make a little snowman. And you can't just make a snowman when it's snowing, so we had a snowball fight too. I felt so content. It was as if I ticked all the boxes I had in my road trip list that didn't even exist. Because we were already feeling content on our drive up to Fort Williams, we did say that everything that came after were bonuses. We were given waaaaay too many bonuses.
We got onto the motorway then did a stop at the House of Bruar but instead of shopping (which was closed anyway), we went to see the Falls of Bruar. That was magical. It started snowing and it was so beaufiul, it's indescribable - you need to feel it and see it for yourself. I didn't want to leave but we really needed to be back in Stirling by a certain time to return the car.
Our next stop was Falls of Tummel... but this was a bit of an adventure. There wasn't a path down to the river when we got there. I was starting to feel a bit disappointed because the river/falls were covered by trees and a very steep slope down. BUT Basel then decided to just go down and I was here containing my excitement while I followed down. It was one of those things that I wouldn't have done alone. It was an adventure but it was a fun adventure. Was it worth it? Yes for the adventure but there are more accessible waterfalls to go to.
We then continued back to Stirling, took the bus back to Edinburgh and then quickly got changed because Basel had a reservation at Tattu. At this point, I wasn't feeling it. I was having major post trip withdrawals and was also PMS-ing. We ended walking back because I lost my mask somewhere. Just thinking about it, if we weren't as tired, it would've been a very fun night. I very much enjoyed the ambiance, the food and the presentation of the dessert. It was a pretty good way to end the highlands trip.
And that was one of the highlights of my year. I'd go through the whole thing all over again, including the moment where I got extremely upset that we had to leave. Reading it though, isn't the same as experiencing it so I'd like to encourage everyone to do a Scottish Highlands trip at least once in your life.
The last part of my Scotland Trip was spending time with my cousin and her family; and the rest of the gang when they came to Edinburgh. I do not know when I'll get to writing that bit of it because I have to head back to reality tomorrow.