Travelling is great, but road trips are even greater. Scotland was on our travel list for years, and 2019 was finally time to get ready for it. All the expectations of this country were absolutely exceeded. As there is so much to explore in Scotland, we thought a road trip is a perfect way to get around. So, we got a camper van and started exploring, from south to north and from west to east.
After a sleepless night at the airport, we hopped right into our van and started our journey. The first two days started with exploring the fascinating area of Glen Coe. Here you get the first impression of what Scotland is all about.
Deep valleys within orange-black mountain ranges filled with rivers and waterfalls. Often with just one dead-end road leading through it.
On our first morning, we just woke up in the middle of nowhere, two large and majestic stags were coming right at us. Scotland is known for its large populations of deer but we wouldn’t have thought they would come up close, appearing out of nowhere. We both studied Wildlife Management, so we are familiar with how to behave with wildlife encounters. We kept our distance and took images with respect towards the animals and did not feed them anything.
The next two days were dedicated to the Isle of Skye. The island within the island. Here the weather finally showed its real Scottish face. From pure raining to wind speeds up to 60 km/h, dangerously shaking our van at night. Luckily, the weather turned friendly again once we arrived in a new spot. No rain, just low clouds getting caught in the mountains and creating a rather moody atmosphere. It’s incredible how quickly the weather can change in Scotland, leaving you with zero possibilities of planning something and a feeling of no control. Eventually, you learn to be spontaneous and to just go wherever the weather leads you.
With all the hikes we did, I was so happy to have Smith on my back.
It helped us a lot through unsteady Scottish weather conditions; it hid-away our important stuff, keeping it all dry after a long and rainy day, and Smith had enough space to easily hold all my camera gear plus everything else we needed for a good hike.
In the end, we couldn’t really enjoy some of the more famous spots, such as The Old Man of Storr and Quiraing. But with the flexibility and mobility of having a van, we were able to just move on and explore somewhere else. We weren’t disappointed to miss the highlights everyone knows from photos. The best thing about road trips is, that you can easily explore the hidden corners, like Fairy Glen, and the secret gems a country has to offer. these are the spots that we will keep for us.
After leaving Skye and exploring the North West Highlands for a day, we made our way to the east coast. Once arrived, we thought we were back in Ireland. High cliffs, rough sea and the oddest shapes and formations out on the horizon. When we explore a new country, we like to keep it as diverse as possible, we want to experience a country in all its facets.
Starting from the Duncansby Stacks we made our way south, always along the coast and luckily, for the first time on our trip, the sun was our companion.
A road trip can be a great, if not the best way to explore a new country. It brings an earthy essence to the journey.
You are mobile but yet you depend on the little you’ve got. No fancy hotel or lodge, it's just you and your partner driving through an unknown world. No toilet, no shower and no extraordinary food. No internet, no TV and no connection except for the connection to nature. At the end of the trip, yeah you’ll most likely smell(!) but hey, it’s the smell of adventure and exploration.