Saturday and Sunday in Scotland

The wifi in the cottage is sorted so I can blog properly, in contrast to the very quick post I made earlier whilst I had a signal at the top if a hill!!

We made a good time up to Tyndrum, after we collected our food parcel from Waitrose, but it was grey, cloudy and rainy most of the way and the mood in the car only got worse when Liverpool (Mr.Js team) lost to Arsenal.  As I expected, Mr.J also got a bit stressed as we drove through Glasgow; this happened last time we had a holiday in this area and drove up, but this time he was stressed for a different reason to what I’d expected.  It seemed the satnav was going to take us across the Erskine Bridge.  “So what?” I hear you say (as I did).  I did not know that it was a toll bridge, or that Mr.J was worried because he didn’t know what the toll was or if you might need exact change.  After he pleasantly (ha!) asked me to Google it and got cross when I had no 3G signal he decided we’d have to risk it and break centuries (erm… years) of Jenkinson (not Jenkinsunts) tradition and go over the bridge.  Gasp!  Just before we got there I got some 3G though and found it that the toll was abolished in 2006 🙂

We were very glad to arrive at the cottage though as it was definitely time to stretch my legs out and have a cup of tea.  The cottage is just as lovely as it looked online.  There’s a lovely view of the hills across a small river (and the railway line to Oban so Mr.J is well chuffed) and inside there’s underfloor heating, an amazing sound system which is built into the ceilings throughout so you can listen to the TV or radio in any room and there’s a jacuzzi bath.  Bliss!  We had a really yummy Waitrose meal for £10 which included Gu desserts – mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm and then just relaxed and watched TV and went to sleep listening to the river and the rain!

This morning we woke up to a dusting of snow on the nearby hill tops so, but more importantly to some partly blue sky!  We had some delicious scrambled eggs (with a couple of eggs from the hens I spotted just behind the cottage) and then decided what to do for the day… After a lot of indecision we opted to go to Killin and do a walk from there.  The first one I spotted in our mini guide book was 4 km walk up a hill – straight up and back so no navigational complications so this seemed like a good one to me.  Next time, I will definitely read more of the route instructions.

This is the walk we did.  I’m ashamed to say we were very out of breath quite frequently; although we like walking and we like the views from hills, we’re not very good at walking up them!!  I think part of the problem is that we both only go at one speed so we trog on like normal and then once we’re practically having an asthma attack from breathlessness we stop for a rest and admire the view!  The view was worth it though (apart from Mr.Js elf-like red gaiters):

The best bit of the walk is getting to the top though as that’s when it’s time to get the flask out and the snacks!  Although, Mr.J underestimated both the wind and the quality of the flask and managed to pour hot coffee on his hand – whoops!  I’ve had a quick look at some of my photos from today and some of them will definitely make it on to Flickr when I get back so keep your eyes peeled from more photos in a few weeks….

It took us about an hour to get up the hill and I have to say I was a bit worried about getting down as some of the parts on the way up were so steep.  But, once we got started it was fine.  After a bit of zig zag style traversing down a steep bit I decided that it was less steep and that I could just walk straight down and so I said this to Mr.J, who was still zig zagging.  Naturally, 20 seconds later I slipped straight onto my bottom and got a lovely wet muddy patch on my trousers!  But apart from that, the descent was fine and only took about 30 minutes.

It was only about 1.30pm by this point and the day was still looking good weather-wise so we drove to Callander and got some lunch there.  There wasn’t much to do there really, just a street of outdoor shops, charity chops and cafes really.  My highlight was an elderly lady who absolutely shamelessly let one rip without any level of concern just as we walked by her.  I had to check with Mr.J to see if he had heard it too and he can confirm that he did and that it was not him!

From there we drove to Loch Katrine and had a stroll along the Loch.  We didn’t get too far around it as it was a bit chilly and we only paid for an hour at the car park!  The drive back to the cottage was very scenic, with the low sun shining on the snowy topped hills.  Unfortunately, Mr.J noticed this and thought of three other things at the same time.  He realised/remembered that there is a castle thing (Kilchurn Castle) at the top of Loch Awe, he thought that this would look good at sunset and he thought that given the weather forecast for the rest of the week, today might be his only chance to take this photograph.  I’d have agreed with all of that if this epiphany hadn’t happened at 17:03, if sunset wasn’t at about 17:40 and if we weren’t about 15 miles away from Loch Awe.

Naturally, this didn’t stop Mr.J though and he only took the fact that the gritter was out and slowing us down as an opportunity to drive even faster after we were past it.  I felt like Kimi Raikkonen’s co-driver.  And note that I specifically didn’t pick a World Rally Champion driver here, but a crazy Finnish one!!  As we zoomed along, we could see the sun going down but it did look like we might make it in time – but that the direction the sun was setting wasn’t going to line up with the castle.

As it happened, we were a bit too late.  I don’t think that the sun had technically set but it had dropped behind a hill.  Boo.  But, the view of the castle and the Loch was really scenic but the view behind us of the orange/pinkish glow of the sun on the snow topped hills was even better.

It was flipping freezing though – 2 degrees and it looks set to be just as cold tonight so if it does ‘rain’ then we may well wake up to snow.  I don’t really care right now though as I’m snuggly and warm inside and I had a very relaxing jacuzzi bath earlier so hopefully that will help prevent achy legs tomorrow!  I’ll let you know…..

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