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Jim Hogue | profile | all galleries >> 2009 trip to England 13-14 August tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

2009 trip to England 13-14 August

Aug 13

Off again towards Ft. William, no reservations of course. We drove to Aberfoyle and then took the A821 (or Dukeís pass) over the hills and through Queen Elizabeth Forest Park to Callander.

The weather was perfect and the scenery was breathtaking. I have no idea how many times I stopped to take some photos but it was a lot. If you do a driving trip through Scotland I highly recommend you visit the Park and make the same drive.

In Callander we picked up the A84 and headed north along Loch Lubnaig, stopping at Strathyre for lunch at the Lunch Inn & Bistro. The food was good. Iíd never had fried Brie or rowanberry jelly. Very nice lunch.

Sometime during the day we picked up a book from the Tourist Info center that listed accommodations throughout Scotland and I called a B&B in Ft. Williams and was able to get accommodations for the night (whew!)

Thanks to the efficiency of the Scottish road authority we passed an electronic information board that informed us the Ballachulish Bridge on the A82 was closed and all traffic had to be re-routed around Loch Leven on the B863.

The diversion was very picturesque although the road is very high at some points and my wifeís uncomfortable with heights.

The ride any other day would be nice but because traffic was being routed both ways the oncoming traffic on the very narrow road was intimidating, especially the lorries and tour buses.

We finally arrived in Ft. William and found our B&B, the Lochan Guest Cottage just a few miles outside of Ft. William. Our host/hostess were Mieke and her husband Bert, transplanted Netherlanders. Iíve seen some less than positive comments about Mieke but as an American I found her sense of humor refreshing (well, we would wouldnít we?)

Upon arrival at the B&B I immediately took several photos of Ben Nevis. We camped in Scotland in the early 80s and spent several nights in the shadow of Ben Nevis. The first day we could see the whole mountain but didnít take a photograph then. We never saw the top again!! So this time I wasnít taking chances. Weíd planned to spend a few days in Ft. William but decided to push on after one. Ft. William reminded me of Windermere; crowded, awful traffic, etc so we decided to head to Mallaig the next day.

Aug 14

We left; the weather was awful most of the day. We headed towards Mallaig on the A830, stopping to take some photos of the monument at Glenfinnan. The weather was too terrible to tarry outdoors so we passed the opportunity to climb the tower. We took a side trip off the A830 to the A861 to visit a castle we had visited in the 80ís, Castle Tioram. Itís photogenic if the weather was nice (it wasnít) and the last little single-track road to the castleís car park (non-existent in the 80ís) was narrower than I recalled. The castle is closed to the public because of structural problems. There now appears to be a built-up sand causeway leading from the shore to the small island the castle was built upon. The first time we visited we were too dumb to realize it was isolated when the tide came in and we walked out to it, poked around, took some photos and on the walk back to our car we noticed that the water was getting deeper than it had been on our walk out!!

I canít honestly recommend the side trip necessary to visit the castle although the scenery was nice.

We decided to pass walking out to the castle and resumed our trip to Mallaig. On our way out on the single-track road we had to pull over for a funeral procession. I will wonder to my dying day where they were taking the departed. The road dead-ends at the car park and I didnít see any cemeteries, maybe a Viking funeral? Long boat, fire, etc??

We got to Mallaig and I began our favorite pastime, finding somewhere to sleep. I called one B&B who recommended another who recommended, etc. and we final got accommodations at a place called (I believe) Craig Rossie but I canít seem to find it on the internet and since I paid cash I donít have a credit card receipt to fall back on. It was a nice place with an incredible view of Mallaig harbor. There was this godawful steep driveway I had to go up to get to the B&B. I canít imagine what itís like to drive up or down in the winter.

Mallaigís not much to look at. Itís mostly a stopping place waiting for ferries and the Ft. William Ė Mallaig steam train ride that was the basis for the Harry Potter films. It bills itself as the ďHarry Potter Hogwarts ExpressĒ ride. Itís quite popular and the tickets are sold out months in advance.

We had a late lunch in the Marine Hotel. Fast service, good soup (tomato) and nice ale.

We stayed in and planned to take the ferry to Skye the next morning.
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View between Callander and Ft. William
View between Callander and Ft. William
View between Callander and Ft. William
View between Callander and Ft. William
View between Callander and Ft. William
View between Callander and Ft. William
Picture 189.jpg
Picture 189.jpg
IMG_0357.JPG
IMG_0357.JPG
Lochan Guest Cottage, Ft. William
Lochan Guest Cottage, Ft. William
Lochan Guest Cottage, Ft. William
Lochan Guest Cottage, Ft. William
Glenfinnian
Glenfinnian
Castle Tioram
Castle Tioram
Road to Castle Tioram
Road to Castle Tioram
House near Castle Tioram
House near Castle Tioram
Castle Tioram
Castle Tioram
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