Scotland – day 6

Our final morning arrived much too quickly and we drove back to Inverness to drop off our car and catch the plane home. But first, we went for a walk through the city and to Ness Islands.

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We had such a fantastic trip exploring the highlands and would love to return again to explore some more. Any suggestions would be welcome!

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Scotland – day 5

After a wonderful breakfast in our castle (that will never get old), we headed to the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary in Oban. I had hoped to see some otters and seals in the wild, but a trip to the Sea Life Sanctuary guaranteed that we would see some and it was also interesting to learn about the amazing work they do. It also meant that we saw some adorable cubs in the seal hospital, and I’ve just seen on Twitter that one of those cubs has now been released back into the wild.

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For our final night we would be back in Fort William, so we decided to drive back the scenic route taking in Kilchurn Castle, which took some finding! It was built in the mid-1400s but was abandoned in the 1700s.

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The next part of our scenic tour back to Fort William took in the stunning Glen Coe, which I have to admit did overwhelm me in its beauty and scale.

 

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Felt like we’d just been sent up someone’s drive…

 

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Glen Coe in the distance

 

 

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Glen Coe certainly felt like the climax of our trip, and it felt quite humbling standing in the middle and taking it all in.

For our last evening, we had a lovely meal in the Garrison West, a friendly pub where the bar staff talked us through some whiskeys! It was a gorgeous sunset for our last night, but unfortunately, I had left my camera at the hotel so I took these on my phone.

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A beautiful end to our last night on this trip.

 

Scotland – day 4

On day 4 we left Inverness and headed to the highest mountain in the UK – Ben Nevis. It was yet another stunning drive.  We had a bit of disappointment on the way as we looked at getting the Mountain Gondola and having lunch up a mountain however it was closed due to high winds.

We’re not hugely experienced walkers and after reading some blogs and also a rather threatening paragraph in a walking book we decided not to attempt Ben Nevis. I didn’t want to be a statistic!

So after a spot of lunch in Fort William, we drove through Glen Nevis and headed for another walk, Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge. Although the sign at the start didn’t do much to help my confidence, especially as I had recently gone flying on the Old Man of Storr, “Fatal accidents DO occur by falling from this path”.

But we set off, and it was well worth it. Although crossing waterfalls on wet rocks with just a massive drop on one side did get my heart racing!

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It was so cloudy and overcast we didn’t ever see the top of Ben Nevis, but we knew it was there – looming above us!

After getting back to the car we headed towards Oban, and to our big treat. We stayed in Premier Inns for the whole holiday, apart from one night where a castle waited for us. We stayed in Barcaldine Castle, also known as The Black Castle. A B&B with a difference! I couldn’t recommend staying here enough, the staff were amazing, the room was gorgeous, the views were perfection and breakfast was delicious.

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Not a bad view … 

Once we’d got over the excitement of staying in a castle, we headed to Oban for a seafood dinner. What a day!

Day 5 includes seals, otters and Glen Coe …

Scotland – day 3 (part 2)

After exploring Fort George, we headed to the Cairngorms, a stunning part of the country and one of my favourite walks of the holiday. We were aiming for a walking spot near Braemar, but as with all our travels so far, the car journey was just as spectacular as the destination.

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We parked in the Linn of Dee carpark and set off for a walk through the woods running alongside stunning waterfalls. This area was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite parts of Scotland, and as a bit of a fan of this wonderful monarch, I was excited to explore. In fact, the gothic bridge which you cross to reach the carpark was officially opened by the Queen in 1857!

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It’s times like this I wish my camera had a better zoom!

 

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Not bad for a photo snapped out of a car window!

 

On day 4 we left Inverness and headed to Glen Nevis and Oban – look out for the next post, coming soon!

 

 

 

 

Scotland – day 2

On day 2 we decided to drive to Skye which was a long round trip but the roads were so stunning the journey became one of our highlights. Here are some snaps from the car window!

On our way to Skye, we stopped off at Eilean Donan Castle – a stunning 13th Century castle on an island at the point where three lochs meet, with our first glimpse of Skye in the distance.

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In the time it took us to eat some shortbread and have a coffee the weather had completely changed, so I headed out with my camera to capture the castle in a different light.

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Then it was off to Skye, and our destination was The Old Man of Storr.  The walk up to the Old Man starts off as a gently sloping path but soon turns into a bit of a climb up some large rocks and boulders. I have to admit it was trickier than I had expected and in true Lily-style I managed to fall over in a big pile of mud while also hitting my arm on a rock. But we carried on and were treated to some amazing views on the way. You could climb even higher but we settled to stop at the foot of the Old Man and it was one of the highlights of our trip.

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While up near the Old Man I also took some macro shots of some moss!

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The next post is coming soon with photos from day 3, when we visited the Cairngorms, Fort George and even spotted a red squirrel.

 

Scotland – day 1

Last week my boyfriend and I visited Scotland – it’s the second time we’ve been to Scotland together but last time we visited Edinburgh for a festive city break, so this time we decided we needed to explore the highlands! We spent 6 days driving around this stunning country (covering over 1000 miles!) – we based ourselves in Inverness for 3 nights, Oban for 1 night and Fort William for the final night in the shadow of Ben Nevis. As I took so many photos of the stunning landscapes, I’m going to share separate posts for each day of our trip. This photography blog may be morphing into a travel blog!

Day 1

After arriving in Inverness we had some time to explore the local area, so we drove around Loch Ness. I had no idea quite how large it was, the Loch Ness Experience taught us that it is actually as deep as the height of the Shard in London in some places – plenty of spots for the monster to hide.

We drove along the A82 which runs along one side of the loch, and back round on the B roads which lead back to Inverness on the other side – but are a much more dramatic drive as you can see from the photos below!

Urquhart Castle is located on the side of the loch, and this was the view on a very murky afternoon when you could only just make out the other side of the loch.
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Couldn’t resist a bit of fun with photoshop on this one, my own shot of Nessie…

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These are some of the views we were treated to on the B road back to the city. It wasn’t great photography weather and I struggled to capture the atmosphere and to get the right lighting, something for me to work on!

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Photos from day 2 coming soon!

Exploring Bologna

Bologna is a beautiful city, and after the tourist-heavy Florence, it was a breath of fresh air! We had a wonderful two days exploring this stunning city with its medieval architecture and it’s very own leaning tower. It is even home to the oldest university in the Western world, founded in 1088.

We happened to be in town during some kind of festival, so one night wandering back to our Airbnb we discovered a panel discussion with an Italian band (lots of excited students in the front row) and then a giant screen showing a black and white movie in the main square. What a treat! My favourite discovery was a photography exhibition which told the story of the city from the late 1800s to present day through photos of the city. Here are a few of my snaps from our adventure – not many as admittedly we spent most of our time eating pasta and ham …

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