We left the Isle of Skye and began our journey to our next stay – we enjoyed a nice short break in the forest along the way.
Our next stay was in the Highland Club at Fort Augustus on Loch Ness. It was just stunning! Our Airbnb self catered apartment was part of an old Abbey which had been remodelled into resort style living with holiday accommodation. Once entering the grand gates, the tree lined entrance was stunning as the Autumn leaves fluttered to the ground in the cool breeze. Then we were faced with the towering impressive Abbey.
Our apartment had views of the old Abbey and its green park lined grounds. We watched in delight as numerous rabbits nibbled on the green grass. The grounds were full of many different outdoor activities from chess, tennis, a wooden playground, cricket pitches and more.
The apartment was decorated with a stylish true Scottish feel. Blue and green tartan carpeting was a nice touch. Tartan lamp shades and rugs all added to a cosy warm space. It also had a romantic bedroom window seat for pondering the day away.
Wandering through the silent Abbey halls made us feel like we were at Hogwarts. The church style windows provided a harmonious feel as we walked along the long halls.
We headed for a delightful dip in the heated indoor Abbey pool. We truly enjoyed looking out the beautiful windows whilst soaking after a 4 hour drive. Rob looked like a monk after our swim in his hooded jumper and towel walking back through the Abbey corridors.
We visited the club lounge in the Abbey which was decked out with a pool table. We were unable to play as another decided to play just we were about to set up!!!
We had a direct pathway down to Loch Ness lakefront from the Abbey where we enjoyed the views. This was a peaceful place. The endless breathtaking Loch (meaning lake) view mixed with true misty cool Scottish weather added a sense of mystery to this deep dark Loch.
On our second day we followed the path from our accommodation to view the Caledonian Canal that leads into Loch Ness. Here we got to watch the small town Loch bridge open to let the waiting boats through that were making their way back through a chain of locks that needed to fill to let them pass into the canal. This seemed like a very slow and time consuming process.
From here we took a lovely informative Loch Ness Cruise. We were surprised at how many people were on the cruise considering it went out 5 times a day. Our cruise was crowded with maybe 100 people. We were lucky to get a good seat sitting outside which gave us a nice view. A coat and beanie was needed!! We sailed along the famous Loch Ness in search of the mysteries Nessie. Which I did spot when I aimed my camera out the boat window.
The loch is 230 meter deep. It is a peat lake which gives it its dark coarse colour and it is extremely cold. The dark waters are home to some very large fish including cannibal fish that produce babies just to eat them along with the surroundings population of fish. This is when we realised not to hang our legs over the edge!
Our next journey was to Urquhart Castle which is a stunning ruined castle which sits proudly on the shore of Loch Ness. Definitely lots of postcard shots can be taken in this picturesque spot.
We were very excited about our next adventure especially if you are a Harry Potter fan. We drove to Glenfinnan in bad weather along wet narrow curvy thin roads. We were here to see the Glenfinnan Viaduct and the steam train used in Harry Potter. We trekked along the trail in the rain which I realised was worth it when we caught sight of the towering viaduct built amongst the mountain range.
Rob had done his research and new exactly what time the majestic steam train would chug along the tracks and in which direction it was coming for a spectacular photo. We trudged up the muddy hillside to find our spot amongst quite a few others who had their camera lenses ready to shoot.
As we waited and watched more and people arrive and surprisingly the rain subsided. And then… At 10:48am, right on scheduled we heard the deep chugging noise rattling through the valley. Then we caught our first glimpse of this glorious beauty with its steam bellowing proudly in the skies above. It was a truely magical moment that sent chills through our body. We both got a little emotional when the conductor blow his whistle and started waving. To add to all the excitement the train was full of tourists also waving madly out of their windows.
The train books up at least 6 weeks to 3 months ahead of time. If only those on the train had the view that we had. A stunning steam train chugging along the viaduct with a cloud of steam rising above as long as the train went by.
The train was heading off on a 3 hour train trip through an area which is said to be the most scenic in the world. It cost 35 pounds to journey one way so 70 pound return which would make it a 6 hour return journey. We both agree this was definitely one of our favourite adventures in Scotland and it was free. Definitely a bucket list experience!!!
We also visited the town of Fort William where the highest mountain in the British Isles , Ben Nevis over shadows the surrounding area. In winter these mountain landscapes turn white and are popular ski fields. Fort William became my saviour as it was here we finally picked up my prescription of topical antibiotics for my middle ear infection which had been plaguing me for weeks. We were very shocked that when the drops were handed to us at the chemist we didn’t have to pay for it as we had got the script from the hospital. This was not like our first attempt at getting treatment at a medical centre weeks earlier that cost 50 pound for the doctor visit and then we paid for a prescription that didn’t work after 8 days. We don’t mind paying if the doctor knows what they are doing. Our wonderful hospital doctor took the time to call an ENT and got their advice which was extremely professional.
Our last day was spent relaxing. We ventured off on a walk path around Loch Ness. We did spy another strange strange looking creature floating in the lake. It is a little hard to get nature out of your blood after being face to face with the wonderful wild landscape of Scotland.
This lake walking trail took us to a nice hillside view point. It was great to breathe such fresh air and look out onto another part of this vast lake.