Wednesday, August 21, 2019

On the Road to Onich & Glenfinnan

Day 3
We woke up in Glasgow Monday morning and prepared for the next leg of our journey. We meandered over to Glasgow Central where we caught the train to Fort Matilda. We passed along the River Clyde, noticing all the silt buildup we learned about on the bus trip yesterday. 

Claire and Marie picked us up at the train station, and we exchanged long hugs all around. It’s been three years since we saw them on our honeymoon. This time is without Gerry, Claire’s dad, which is bittersweet. They drove us down the road to have tea with Gerry’s Cousin Anne, who they’d been visiting. I love sitting with family, listening to their shared stories, learning more about them, and drinking tea. It’s a particularly wonderful tradition here. 

We then began our trek up to Onich, with a lovely drive along Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. The rain came and went, came and went, and the views were gorgeous. We listened to the “Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond” to set the mood. We stopped for a few pretty viewpoints along the way at Firkin Point and Inveruglas. 

The highlands are just as pretty as you expect. The different shades of green and brown, the waterfalls making their way down, the ever-changing sky altering the landscape. We found the Green Welly Stop for some lunch, which for three of us was soup and for Todd his first sausage roll. We stopped by the Glencoe Visitor Center to pick up some material, but there wasn’t much there. There was a pretty view and a cafe, so we had a much needed cup of tea with dessert. There was even vegan banana bread (times are changing things in my favor).   

We arrived at our cabin at Onich, situated ourselves, then went grocery shopping. After five hours in the car, we decided to eat in, so like all the other locals and travelers, we stocked up. Todd and I feasted on pasta and vegan sausages, Claire and Marie on lasagna and salad, all of us finishing off with the gorgeous vegan brownies Claire made in advance. We sat and chatted, enjoying just sitting together in our cozy cabin. 

Day 4
After a good long sleep, we had a leisurely morning and breakfast. We planned to take the ferry to Corran and have a good walk, but the rain was coming down and there were no spots in the car park. No problem! Up to Glenfinnan!

Glenfinnan has two reasons to visit: the monument and the viaduct. It rained off and on all day, but we had some lunch and delicious flapjacks made by Marie and lingered in the gift shop-where you could get all the Harry Potter and Outlander merchandise you needed! 

We first walked up the path to the viaduct.  This is the viaduct where the Jacobite steam train, also known as the “Harry Potter train,” travels across from Fort William to Mallaig. The train was sold out, so we just enjoyed Glenfinnan. It’s a beautiful stone viaduct and lots of photos were taken, including me in my Harry Potter viaduct themed T-shirt. (Thanks, Kate!)

We made it down just as it started to rain, and we ducked back into the gift shop. Ten minutes later we were making our way to the monument. It stands as a tribute to Bonnie Prince Charlie and the end of the Jacobite rising. The monument sits on the shores of Loch Shiel, and what a pretty view. We watched an adorable dog bounce around in the water, and we admired the next storm coming over the mountains, as we bathed in the temporary sun. 

We took a pretty stroll along the dragonfly path through the forest and along the loch. The views were so pretty, despite the impending storm we got caught in. We donned our rain jackets and carried on. By the time we made it back to the visitor center, the rain stopped. 

We walked to the beautifully situated Catholic Church on the way to the car. Another pretty spot for contemplation, as we took in the views. We heard the steam trains come through the station, but we were happily busy at the church. Claire took a great photo off a postcard, proving we saw the train! Then a drive back to our cabin for a cup of tea and chill before dinner. The sun just taunted us as we lounged, mocking us for missing a dry moment!

Tonight we went to the Loch Leven Hotel in Ballachulish for dinner with a view. The sky was a dazzling blue when we arrived, which promised to be a great sunset. It was a wonderful dinner for everyone: vegan gnocchi and sweet potato soup for me, venison for the first time for Todd, lemon sole for Marie, and fish and chips for Claire. We figured we’d just make sunset, but the clouds had rolled in. We stopped by the ferry pier from the morning to try to catch it, but the sky only went varying shades of pretty blue to grey. 

Back at our cabin for dessert and a film. Marie told us about this film set in Edinburgh, which we watched, “Sunshine on Leith.” It was a perfect ending to a wonderful day. 

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