It was a cold winter evening in November. Scotland had not gotten ‘cold’ yet. Sure there was nip in the air but January was equal to hell being frozen. Anyway, it was time for long due and well planned trip. The drive out to one of Scotland’s prettiest spots was on the cards. A weekend of tripping and drinking – the only thing missing was an exotic location to do it all. Not quite Hawaii or Ibiza, but Scotland provided the exotic flavour in its own heavenly palette. What was supposed to be a routine getaway to the wild, turned wilder. Quite sure I’ve got you hooked now.
On Friday at half past 3, we set off to Loch Lomond in a friend’s car. We were a group of 10 friends, with 2 friends who graciously volunteered to drive the journey. So we split into the 2 cars and were off to our cozy airbnb cottage in the wild.
Yea, I probably should not have worn that jacket xD
Coming back to the story, what was supposed to be a routine road trip journey turned wild. It was turning out to be a cloudy evening, so it was not as bright and sunny as Dundee was known to be (LIES). Being November, the days were starting to become shorter, the sun set at half 4. So our decision-making wasn’t the brightest probably too, to leave at half past 3, but we had Uni commitments and can say it was sort of forced to leave that late in the day. (Yes, I am good boy, I don’t bunk classes at all). So by the time we got out of the evening traffic in Dundee and hit the motorway towards our cottage, the sun had long gone, the other car was slightly faster than us and they managed to click some pictures of the lovely scenery (where not in Scotland), that was following us, literally refusing to give us a break from being spell-bound.
(Going to have to thank Dani for these pictures. Do follow her blog too, she’s got a great eye for discovering and exploring locations)
At about half past 5, we reached a petrol garage where we had a small break to grab some essentials (coffee mainly). To my surprise, (should I really be, though?) who owned the garage shop? a TAMILIAN. FROM MADURAI. Man’s got the survival instincts (Family Friendly blog – feel free to imagine what word I wanted to write xD) of a snow wolf living in the sub-arctic temperatures of Scotland for 22 years! Back on the road after pleasantries being exchanged in tamil and that over essential cuppa coffee. Here is where we were munching on rocky roads. No, not the chocolate, but actually bad wild roads. Coupled with the cold, pitch dark conditions, we were quite sure the sat-nav was winding us around. At a point, we literally thought we were in a scene of a horror movie, probably hills have eyes cause we were in a valley. The death quotient intensified when we saw deer, at first it was creepy eyes staring at us, right next to a run down car-wreck, but on paying closer attention and the magic of car headlights, we identified them as deer. We calmed ourselves, grabbed our imaginary diapers and drove on knowing Scotland would not harm us. Even the ghosts are probably behind the booze and not lives, quite possible that we could chill with one if at all we meet one, but I definitely do not intend to so if you’re reading this respected spirits, I do not wish to interact with any spirit other than the edible ones that can take me away from reality.
After an adventure with the road that reminded me of Karnataka Village roads, we reached our cottage that was tucked away right beside a river, in a small fishing town – Balquhidder, about an hour from Loch Lomond. We had no idea what we would be waking up to in the morning, but we were the subject to some welcome though. The friends in the other car reached way before us and they had an adventure of their own trying to locate the owner and keys of the airbnb. We had a fair share of stories exchanged as we were settling in. We were startled mid-way again by a suspicious polish hunting family, who stumbled on our cottage, having lost their way. Quite scary when we answered the door, 5 minutes later, we were just having a laugh about it over a glass of Smirnoff.
Dinner was served – beef fajita wraps (won’t apologise for the lack of sanskar, I am thinking of being a Sikh, that way I do not offend any *cough-cough, risking FIR, cough-cough* religious individual’s feelings by eating all the animals I find tasty, of course, sorry animal activists, but I can’t give up tasty food.) Post dinner, there were loads of drinking and party games. WOLF made a return to my life. Then introduced to the popular card game – KEMPS. At around 2 AM, it was time to sleep. We were going to have an early morning breakfast call of half 9 and it was essential we went to sleep. Breakfast at half 9 meant, we woke up even earlier to start our morning routines, but Scotland really didn’t like all the monotony. BEHOLD – The breathtaking surprise that we woke up to:
(Thank you, Krista for these pictures)
Could not believe our luck when it decided that the one night it would snow in November would be the night we were there. Absolutely pumped with the beauty, we had a slower breakfast, yet managed to hit the road by half 10, this time in the light of day, we had a much smoother ride back towards the motorway leading to the famous Loch Lomond. Here’s a peek into what we were dealing with.
Think, we just provided Microsoft with some great wallpapers for their next release.
The Car Ride Experience – If you’re interested to see how it was driving through heaven.
Of course, Scotland is the gift that keeps giving. Against contrary belief, I personally feel the best time to visit Scotland is between October-December, hint of snow, slightly cold, Christmas markets, what’s not to love?
So throw away that European trip package from Hanuman Travels and experience the best of Scotland. There’s more slices of heaven in chapter 2. Loch Lomond, Callender and what not. Stay tuned for the next part. Cheerio.