A Note About Travel, Weather and Packing in Scotland

Would it surprise you to learn that traveling in Scotland is tricky? I guess it’s not so tricky if you have a good understanding of the geography, which I didn’t.

Eilean Donan on a rainy day

Eilean Donan on a rainy day

First off, the roads are small. That’s an understatement. They make the very narrow side streets of Dupont of Georgetown look like wide lanes. Then there’s the road work. It’s more organized than in the US, of course. There are cones and lights to let you know when it’s your turn to go. But it can be slow going.

Then there’s how far something is as the crow flies vs as the car drives. So you’ll find yourself driving along one side of the loch, crossing a bridge, and then driving back along the opposite side. It’s not like there’s a bridge right where you want to cross.

Of course, there’s directional understanding … but that later.

The weather. It’s cold and rainy. It shows the driving. I packed several layers, but I could have used another. I bought plaid fleece gloves at a souvenir store in Inverness. Then I picked up a tweed rain hat at the gift shop at Eilean Donan (what a store it was!). It’s not about the umbrellas, it’s about keeping out the damp (whisky and fires being the best options) and drizzle (raincoats and hats).

On the shores of Loch Ness (but no Nessie)

On the shores of Loch Ness (but no Nessie)

The directions. You can enter a “site” like your hotel and get GPS directions. That says something. And while Glengarry Castle Hotel is 7 miles from Loch Ness, that’s not a 10 minute drive. Oh, and how was I supposed to know we were looking for Urquhart Castle, the ruined castle by the side of Loch Ness. Yeah. So it was much longer.

We’d kinda learned the lesson about driving and geography by the time we moved on to Isle of Skye. Kinda.

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