Earlier this year we decided to load up our Wrangler and organize a trip to Scotland, a land of beautiful nature, a lot of culture and history, and of whiskey and haggis.
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Living in Belgium, we decided that the best route would take us up to Ijmuiden to catch a ferry to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, from where we would have a 400-kilometer drive north to the region of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. The ferry is a great and relaxing way of crossing the North Sea.
The Trossachs National Park encompasses around 1,800 sq. km. of some of the finest scenery in Scotland, and forms the border between the Lowlands and the Highlands. It is an area of contrasts, from rolling lowland landscapes in the south to high mountains in the north, and has many lochs and rivers, forests, and woodlands. Nowadays, the Trossachs are a haven for walkers, cyclists, photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and many other outdoor pursuit seekers, and hosts a huge number of events and festivals both indoor and outdoor each year.
We found a great 4-star accommodation in The Portnellan Lodges near Crianlarich. Our lodge was sitting on the top of a hill with a view across the glen, and included all imaginable comfort, including a great collection of maps for local tours. On our first evening, we immediately started planning, sitting on the terrace, with smoked salmon and smoked whiskey (a Laphroaig 10y Cask Strength). We decided to fill our holiday period with a number of excursions and day trips as follows:
Killin and Ben Williams, Aberfeldy
Killin is a small town, known for its magnificent and scenic Falls of Dochart, with an ancient stone bridge spanning an original clansmen burial ground. It is a great place to stop and have a walk, and standing amidst the bustling waters above the gravesite, one feels a very special mixture of awe and respect for the Scotsmen buried there.
Killin is quite small, and once you exit the town centre, a narrow and winding road takes you up to the Ben Lawers Mountain visitor center from where you can start a hike up to the top at 1,214 meters. We were rewarded with spectacular roads and sceneries, and a great surprise to find a big lake on the plateau on top.