In July 2013 we took the best decision so far when it comes to holidaying in the UK, we went to the Scottish Highlands, our #1 destination in the UK. We took a flight to Glasgow, where a rental car was waiting for us, then drove up to Fort William, next to Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain at 1,345m, where we stayed at the local Travelodge, which was cheap and clean, but without air condition, which wasn’t ideal during one of the hottest summers this patch of land had seen with temperatures regularly peaking at around 30 or 31 degrees.
Everyone in London among our friends, who had been to Scotland in summer before, had warned us about the mosquitos, so we came prepared with tons of insect repellent (Avon skin care spray works great in our experience, even though it was never intended to repel any insects).
On the evening of our arrival, after having explored the immediate surroundings and enjoyed the sun, we had dinner at Crannog Restaurant & Cruises. I had monkfish with pork belly and black pudding, my wife had cod and asparagus. Both dishes were fantastic and we went back to Crannog again the following evening.
The following day we did what literally every person visiting Fort William does: we climbed Ben Nevis. And we weren’t disappointed. The views were mind-blowing and it was a pretty good work-out, especially in these temperatures.
During the next days we visited Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye as well as Glencoe and had some more great food. I tried haggis on various occasions and in different variations and I always found it delicious. I even looked up recipes, even though I haven’t yet gotten around to preparing a haggis meal myself.
Throughout our trip we were touched by the open friendliness, quiet sincerity and amazing hospitality of literally every local we came across.
On one occasion one of our car’s tyres had burst in the middle of nowhere on the way back to Fort William from the Isle of Skye, 30km away from our destination, and despite there not being a lot of traffic on the road, it took no more than five minutes (sheer luck!) and we saw a tow-truck slowly moving along the road towards us. We waved him over, and in a few minutes the driver had called his boss at home (it was already after business hours) and was able to guarantee us that he’d charge no more than £30 for the towing and have the car fixed by the next morning at 9:30am (and the car was actually ready and good to go the next morning; the driver had also arranged everything with our insurance company and the car rental place).
We’re planning on visiting Scotland again soon and hopefully more regularly.