Nessie, ales and Highland midges - part 1


Last week, hubby and I travelled north again - to visit the outlaws living near Loch Ness and enjoy a short break. This time, we enjoyed the stunning, varied landscapes of the Highlands, Perthshire, Argyll and the Trossachs on our way back. But let's start at the beginning.

Two days before we set off we had a call from the B&B we'd booked, cancelling the booking. A family emergency abroad called the owner away. So we ended up staying in two different places in Drumnadrochit (aka Drum, or Nessie town), managing to get a good deal. It's August, after all, prime season in Scotland's most popular destination.
Loch Ness



We took the 'quick route' (!) to Inverness, the infamous A9, as always ranting about the lack of proper infrastructure between the central belt and the Highland capital. Lorries jostled with a high number of meandering 12-reg cars (most likely hire cars), caravans and campervans from all over Europe (Italians and Germans in particular, but also the odd Hungarian or Czech), and drivers like us, keen to get from A to B on the mostly one lane each side country road as quickly as possible. At some point, I had to let steam off to the sounds of Foo Fighters...

When we arrived, we settled into the first place, Glenkirk B&B, a converted church in a hamlet just outside Drum. A gorgeous place, tastefully designed and decorated. The owners were very friendly, the  comfortable lounge offered a lovely range of teas and home-baked shortbread (delicious!), and the whole place was immaculate. Highly recommended!

That evening, we went for a lovely dinner at the Loch Ness Inn with the outlaws, which is what we usually do when up there. (Their B&B prices were a bit steep for us so for once we didn't stay there.) Only this time, it being high season, the inn had employed an accordionist - and with my father-in-law being hard of hearing, conversation was brief in between smiles and nods. A shame in a way, but I'm sure the other visitors appreciated it. A proper Scottish experience. The food was, as always, delicious.

Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin

After a nice (not massive) breakfast the next morning, we headed towards Glen Affric for the first time. We love exploring new areas and the drive was incredibly scenic, leading on a single lane track alongside Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin. We stopped probably 50 times to take photos. ;-) A car park signalled the end of the lane and we stopped for a walk along the river Affric. Peace. Calm. Nature.

And the notorious Highland midges!

When we returned to the car, we realised hubby was bitten to shreds. I'd worn a light jacket which seems to have stopped them. Or maybe they just didn't fancy me...
River Affric

We'll definitely go back another time to explore Glen Affric properly - an area only accessible on foot or by mountain bike. And definitely not in the summer!

Beauly Priory
Our time was limited, as we had arranged late lunch with the outlaws in Beauly (pron. Beoolie), a nice market town set in stunning scenery outside Inverness and home to a 13th century priory.

On our return to Drum, we checked into our second place, the Benleva Hotel, set in a residential area. The decor is a bit dated, but with clean bedrooms and ensuite shower. Staff were helpful and friendly without being over the top. They have their own micro brewery but we'd sampled their delicious ales, Dark Ness and Hoppy Ness, the previous night. As we didn't need dinner, we simply enjoyed a couple of yummy ales or three in the hotel bar, a comfy place, looking out through large windows as dusk fell. My favourite was Avalanche, which I stuck with, whilst hubby relished a selection of tastes.

Hubby and I love it up there, the scenery, food and ales, the calmer way of life.

Oh, by the way, Nessie apparently showed herself recently. ;-) Now, I told her to keep out of sight... ~tuts~

Follow the remainder of our trip tomorrow!

6 comments:

  1. Cathie, how I envy you! We love Scotland, too, and visited Loch Ness a couple of times. Not the other places, though. We were with a tour group each time, so we didn't get to linger. We went in September both times, which has less midges. If we get to go again, we'll rent a cottage and visit new places leisurely. Thanks for sharing and for the gorgeous photos, even though you renewed my longing to visit Scotland.

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    1. Aww, Caroline, you should plan another visit one day. I'm glad you loved it here, and my photos brought back good memories. Your idea of renting a cottage sounds perfect. Less stress about checking in times, etc. Keep us posted! ;-)

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  2. Wow ... !!!! How I would have liked to be there with you, discovering, experiencing, admiring, breathing, feeling, dreaming ..... thanks SO much for sharing this experience, and adding all the links .... what a wonderful post !!!!

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    1. Thank you, BlackTulip. You would've loved it. Nature, calm, peace. Just not the midges... ;-)

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  3. This is a GREAT post about your trip! {{{sigh}}} I so love the pictures!

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    1. Thanks very much, Alexa. Glad you love the pics. :-)

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