day six: south to Oban-ish
If I’m being honest, I reallllllly didn’t want to leave Torridon. I wanted to go hiking and kayak out to the island (photo from yesterday). I wanted to explore. Bad.
But this is what happens when you don’t plan you trip and have no freaking clue where or what is to offer when you book a place.
I woke up at seven ready to explore in the little bit of time we had before our longest haul of the trip. I continued to take a million photos (one of which will be turned into a canvas) and continue to kick myself for not having us stay longer.
The consolation prize was knowing that we were heading down roads which would provide spectacular views and a few surprises along the way. I kept making Justin pull over so I could take more pictures and bask in the ‘how can one place be so beautiful’-ness. We were passed by troops (caravans? packs?) off expensive cars making their way along the NC500. And about a dozen motorcycles as well.
Have I mentioned the weather? I don’t think so.
THE WEATHER WAS AMAZING. I know, now it seems that I’m rubbing it in. You'd be ok with extreme beauty if it was chilly and drizzly in true Scottish fashion. Well, apparently the highlands missed that memo. The sun was shining and it was a windows down type of drive. Justin’s confidence with driving on the other side of the road was at on point and he had us cruising along like a couple of locals.
And then the tire blew out and we were on the side of the road.
Fortunately, the car was brand spanking new and had a spare. Unfortunately, it was literally half the width of the other three tires and kept us at a max speed of 50mph. Tourist status reinstated. I’m gonna skip the whole monologue where I spent a considerably long amount of time on the phone (where I picked up cell service) with the rental car place/tire store/roadside incident.
Back to the pleasant stuff…..
Remember earlier how I said that the down side of not planning was having no idea what you’ll come across? Scratch that. It is really freaking amazing when you’re driving down the road and come up on the Eilean Donan castle. We pulled in right before a jumbo tour bus full of elderly folks. We hit the bathroom, grabbed soup and scones and (you guessed it) took more photos all before they even de-bussed. I’m kicking myself for not going in the castle (I’ll explain more after I fill you in on my Sterling Castle experience), but we still had a good bit of driving to do, going slower than desired, on a spare tire we still weren’t sure wouldn’t spontaneously explode.
I know the seven of you that are reading this are probably tired of me saying this, but y’all, Scotland is SO FREAKING GORGEOUS. Heading down the west coast in and out of sleepy coastal towns, driving in ravines where we are surrounded by massive rocks and mungos, just blew my mind.
::Side note, I purchased the basic GoPro the day before I left because I wanted to capture the puffins on video. That didn’t exactly work like I wanted it to, but the GoPro did come in handy as I stuck my arm out of the window driving down the road capturing all the views::
Scotland has a lot of road signs. Signs warning of stags, sheep, falling rocks and (my favorite) feral goats. I learned quite quickly that if there is a sign warning you that something could be in the road, it would be in the road. Never was this more adorable than when goats are just chilling in the road, or lambs are hopping (THATS RIGHT, HOPPING) around right on the side of the car as you inch by. How I hadn't exploded from so many precious creatures yet, is beyond me.
We roll right through Oban, and keep on rolling…and rolling. I could have sworn tonights accommodations were in Oban. Wrong. LOLOLOLOL
I would say that halfway through the trip I figured out that if I just entered the whole post code in the gps, it was way more helpful that trying to figure out the address. When I called the bed and breakfast on Loch Ness to get the road name, they told me it was on the road. See my trouble?
But it didn't matter that we were twenty minutes south of Oban, because wouldn’t you know, Loch Melfort was (you guessed it) FREAKING GORGEOUS. But more on that coming up. I was entirely too much in need of wine