It was a tough call to make, with only few days left of our month roaming Scotland where would we go? Not wanting to spread ourselves too thin, or backtrack too far we wanted only one location. And then Prue found her “dream” accommodation. A little wooden cabin on the edge of a Loch with an adjoining living room, kitchen and fire. I had to ask a few questions before I committed.
Were they open… yes.
Were they available… yes.
And so it was booked and research for our new surroundings began. Our little haven skirted the southern borders of the Trossachs. The real name of this extensive green patch is Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park so I’ve kept it to “Road Tripping the Trossachs” for all of our sanity. At a second glance the route to our cabin would take longer than we anticipated but by now Scotland’s undulating windy roads just form a massive part of the fun.
Plus Prue had a couple of “must see’s” on route. And so I blindly followed her detour, parked in a muddy side road on the A809 just south of Drymen and following her though a swamp. “We’re going to Devils Pulpit” she grinned and I started to wish I’d done some research.
We squelched towards a gorge. Then scrambled down into it, using a sopping wet dirty rope to ease ourselves down the sloppy rocks. After I squeezed the moisture from my gloves I could see that we had descended into a vast iridescent green chasm with a stream of startling orange-red water at the very bottom. Prue, grinning from ear to ear squeaks, “It’s one of my google treasures.”
We stood watching water drip through the moss covering the 100foot rock wall. Prue took photos to try and catch the waters glow “just perfect” and I wondered how on Earth anyone had ever discovered this place. The gurgling water and enclosing walls made me feel at peace. After taking it all in we slopped our way back. The boggy ground swallow at least two shoes but we reached the car feeling rather happy with ourselves.
“Now we find a castle” Prue directs and begins to navigate a short drive around the fringes of the Trossachs.
As we enter into a golf course I’m again about to challenge her directions, but then a shadowy figure peers out to us from behind the overgrowth. Roofless and derelict Buchanan Castle, commissioned in 1852, remains to be the seat of the Clan Graham. As dictated by the old British class system, this means this is the main residency of the land owners whose income derived from the renting of the surrounding lands. In the second World War Buchanan Castle was used as a hospital.
Nature has consumed this grandiosity with ease making it somewhat dismal and somehow more enchanting. With planning permission being refused the future of the Castle looks bleak.
From the grandiose to the mega quaint. Our wee cabin couldn’t have been more cosy or adorable. Beyond the fringes of Loch Lomond and into the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll, we found ourselves utterly isolated aside from the garden birds and the occasional sighting of a red squirrel. It was as perfect as Prue and I had imagined and we literally had to force ourselves outside in order to explore the area.
We’d been told than climbing Beinn Dubh would offer us one of the best views over Loch Lomond. So the following day we huffed and puffed 657 meters up the mountain, charging through the snow line not realising how deep it would become. The views were worthy of our the icy feet and faces and oh my we laughed in the snow.
“If only there was a Spa” I reflected as we squelched our way down the mountain.
Ha, as if luck would have it there was one… on our very peninsular. Our cold feet were not going to be no cold feet this day as we wallowed in our robes from sauna to pool at the fringes of the Cowal Peninsula and enjoying each others company for hours. We were surprised also to find that even this far corner of Scotland was still so beautiful although the minor roads were hair raising, can’t believe our little Honda made it. Road tripping and spa-ing, bliss!
On our final day in the Trossachs we attempted to climb another mountain, Ben A’an, which is one of Scotland’s most popular small hikes. Unfortunately we only had a pound for parking so used the mountains slopes for an hour long workout rather than a two hour summit… oh well at least we’re staying fit! That evening we caught up with friends in Stirling before heading onwards to Edinburgh, the end of Scotland is closing in on us!