Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Great Northern Road Trip: Part 1

Hello there, how are you?

As I am about to start my 2nd hour on my train home to Birmingham I thought what better time to remember the awesome road trip I took with my wonderful family a few short weeks ago. You may remember the Manchester Pride post I did and that was where it all began.

The second part of the road trip looked like this:

The first leg was 277 miles and took us from Manchester to Falkirk and as well as us entering Scotland this leg included the beautiful Kelpies! The Kelpies are 30 metre high horses that stand over the Forth and Clyde canal. The horses are a tribute to the horse powered heritage in Scotland and were finished in 2013. We were lucky enough to catch them at sunset but as soon as we had got our pictures and turned to walk the 5 minutes back to the car the heavens opened and it poured....like really POURED! We immediately followed everyone else to shelter under a nearby bridge and wait out the downpour! It didn't stop us being in awe of the sculpture but it was a good reminder that we were in Scotland :)


The plan was to have dinner in Falkirk but after a quick drive through the town there didn't seem to be much on offer so we thought it would be better to get on the road to Aberdeen. It was almost 8pm and Aberdeen was over 2 hours away. The 125 miles seemed much longer due to the excessive use of speed cameras - nothing ruins a great drive more than the impending threat of a fine, but the scenery was beautiful and the road was almost straight which I appreciated as it got dark.

I love Aberdeen and for some reason the sun almost always shines when I visit. Aberdeen is an East coast city, the 3rd biggest in Scotland and I think it has one of the prettiest city centres in Scotland. The streets are lined with flowers that stand out against the granite stone used to build so many houses. Our destination was just north of Aberdeen in a village near Udny. My Aunt owns a gorgeous gate house surrounded by miles and miles of rolling hills. Whenever I arrive there I feel like I take a deep breath and fill my lungs with fresh air. It is so peaceful and serene that even having just a day there can rejuvenate you. That and the supply of fresh fruit and veg from my Aunts veggie patch and eggs from her chickens.


Aberdeen also has an the benefit of a beach with miles of golden sand. As the weather was glorious sunshine we made the most of it by taking Bisbee down for her first UK beach trip and she LOVED it! As did we - sunbathing in Scotland - who'd have thought! Especially after the Falkirk down pour.

We left Aberdeen just after lunch with the plan to drive to the Isle of the Skye but a quick review of the map (that's right MAP....due to a lack of signal in the highlands we had to use a paper map!!!!) we spotted a town called Lossiemouth sitting at the top of mainland Scotland and thought why not check it out.

Elgin's Cathedral
It was a great decision we drove up through Elgin, a former cathedral city, and arrived at a cute town nestled against a small hill with another beautiful sandy beach. The beach was reached via a small footbridge suspending over the port and while Laura bounded across Bisbee and I were definitely more hesitant.

Our walk was rewarded with an almost empty beach, perfect for stretching our legs and making our mark....well trying to - Bisbee had her own idea!
Someone though the sand tasted SO good!

After de-sanding or trying to we were back in the car for the last leg of the the day, 154 miles to the Isle of Skye. I don't think either of us were prepared for how stunning this journey would be and this leg was a definite highlight. Just under 50 miles into the drive we came across Loch Ness and for the next 26 miles we had the Loch on one side. We swerved into so many lay-bys to grab the perfect shot, it was all so amazing.  Having visited the Loch in search of Nessie as a child I only remembered is as a big lake. As an adult seeing it I was so surprised to see how beautiful it was. With the mountains and hills around us and rock face VERY close to the road the drive was like one in a computer game. For most of the time I had my eyes firmly focused on the road but every so often I would turn a corner and see the sunset reflected in the water - it was perfect!


At the bottom of Loch Ness is a village called Fort Augustus. It has a river running through it's centre giving it a stepped look. We decided it would be a good dinner stop so picked up fish and chips and found spot over looking the Loch. We even convinced our ever so fussy puppy to enjoy her dinner by putting it in a takeaway box. The road trip was well and truly off to a great start.
Not a bad view for dinner!
Leaving Fort Augustus we drove to the Isle of Skye and the 100 miles to our cottage.....i'll update you on that some time soon!


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