It is time to leave the landscape of lakes, mountains, and long valleys in the center of Scotland and head through the inhospitable wasteland to the north to Thurso in sight of the Orkney islands. Instead of the highway A9, leading along the coast, I also chose deserted roads through endless moors and wetlands.
When leaving the town of Inverness I was accompanied by rain and an unpleasant wind, but after only a few kilometers the weather got colder and only one shower until the evening. From the main road, I more or less accidentally turned past the village of Evanton and instead of watching the coast, I drove into the initially forested highlands towards Bonar Bridge.
From here, the landscape had become more and more inhospitable. The forest was replaced by a large heath and wetlands with many lakes. What looked like a village on the map was mostly a farm and a chapel, and I never met sheep anymore. In addition, the road turned into a tarmac strip just for one car with an occasional extension for avoiding.
Right in the middle of this deserted area, I came across The Garvault Hotel, which promotes itself as the most remote hotel in the UK. If you want to enjoy true peace and solitude, you probably won't find a better place in Scotland. The nearest town is a few hours' drive away.
Along the Halladale River, after more than 100 kilometers in the wilderness, I reached the north coast. We would like to say back to civilization, but even here most sparsely scattered villages will not exceed a few dozen inhabitants.
I spent the night in Thurso, near the northernmost point of Great Britain (outside the small islands) on Dunnet Head. In the evening, the last remnants of the sun's rays wandered through the clouds, providing a spectacular view of the island of Hoy, the closest of the Orkney archipelago. It should be noted that in the evening here in the summer is really late, Thurso lies roughly at a similar latitude to Stockholm, Sweden. By the time of the summer solstice, the length of the day is almost 18 and a half hours.
The next day I woke up again to a cloudy and tidy day. I set off along the beautiful sandy beaches and cliffs right west. If you are attracted by a roadtrip around Scotland, then this part of the A836 and A838 will be among the best. Whether because you meet about the least cars here, because of the beaches and the harsh nature, or because the character of the landscape changes every moment completely.
The next part we will go to the next part of the Scottish series.
Are you fascinated by Scottish castles? Against the dark sky, walls with gothic windows over the centuries lashed with rain and overgrown with rich green grass provoke our imagination longing to know at least a small piece of their stories. Castles and ruins of churches, monasteries and medieval buildings built from the local dark stone are a typical decoration of the beautiful and dramatic Scottish landscape.
The Hogwarts School of Magic is located somewhere in the Highlands, so it's no wonder the landscape is literally interwoven with references to Harry Potter books. J. K. Rowling, who wrote the books, was inspired mainly in the streets of Edinburgh, where she lived at that time. On every corner you can find some unobtrusive reminder from the books, be it street names that look strangely reminiscent of the names of the key characters, or the places where the books themselves were written.
In connection with Scotland, everyone will surely recall the fierce people fighting for independence throughout the history of this wild country, be it the Norman and Viking raiders, or the English and Irish usurpers. For the first time, however, the Romans attempted to penetrate the area at that time inhabited by the wild tribes of the Picts and the quieter Britons under the command of Agricola. However, they soon found that the land was not profitable enough for the long-term stay of the soldiers, so they decided to leave the north of Great Britain again and leave the newly built roads, fortresses and ramparts lying fallow.
Edinburgh is a Scottish city with a radiant atmosphere from Harry Potter movies. Scotch whiskey and history must not be missed here. If you are already in Edinburgh, be sure not to miss a visit to the famous Royal Yacht Britannia. It is interesting to see how not only the royal family lived on the ship. Admission £ 17 per person is worth every penny, plus the audio guide's interpretation is in Czech.
The mountains in the north-west of Scotland rarely exceed 800 meters and roads usually run along rivers or coasts. Therefore, I would not expect here to be as beautiful and high as Applecross pass. Let's go to there!
After a whole day in the wetlands in the north of Scotland, I headed west along the coast to get back to the mountains. They are much lower than those in the center of the country, but it does not detract from their beauty. Because of the harsh climates, heather and grass are often not kept on them, often leaving only majestic gray rocks.
Our Slovenian adventure full of knowledge continues. After visiting the Kranjska Gora, which is surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, we move on to another natural gem - the Vintgar Gorge (Blejski Vintgar, Vintgar Sotesque).
In the morning, we set out to beautiful Highlands situated in the northwest. On our way, we pass snow-caped mountains veiled in morning mist. This tempts us to stop and take a beautiful picture. This time we are heading to a place to what we are looking forward the most to – Skye island. A road bloc complicates our travels. It absolutely confuses our GPS which frighten us a bit. We are running of fuel while gaining kilometers and there are not many gas stations around. Eventually, everything works out well and we continue in our journey.
Autumn is an unusual time of the year to travel. For a long time, we were thinking if to even set out despite less dayilight time, winter, often rains yet Scotland captured us with its beauty and we would eventually buy our flight tickets. There is a regular connection between Prague and Edinburgh. Glasgow is about an hour of car ride from Edinburgh. Yet first we would travel bit further to the west and make a trek in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.
Early in the morning we set out to explore the beautiful Scotish island of Skye. Today, we are about to expect the rain whole day. We are disappointed by that because the place is beautiful. However, as rains are quite common around here it is nothing easy to plan your trip accordingly.
Upon our walk around Loch an Eilein lake, we return to have quick lunch in Aviemore village. Then we set out back to snow covered Scotish nature. This time we walk through a 5 kilometer trail in Ellan Wood, close to Carrbridge village which itself is situated about 20 minutes of car ride from Aviemore.
On this day we set off to central Scotland, to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Loch Lomond is the largest Scotish lake with the area of 71 square kilometers, the maximal depth of the lake is192 meters. There are over 30 small islands and we strive for visiting one of them.
When I first went out into the world at 18, it was Scotland. I still remember the moon in it, when I almost traced it all to this day. For 7 years I wanted to go back and finally it was time. I got on a motorbike in Prague and set off for about 2000 kilometers long way to the northwest.
In the long valley between Fort William and Pitlochry in the middle of Scotland lies a large heath and in the middle of it one of the most deserted train stations. Surrounded only by lakes and heathland, you can still have tea inside it.
Near the famous Lake Ness, there lies at the mouth of the river of the same name into the sea and the ancient city of Inverness. Today it serves as a natural center for the entire Highlands of Scotland. But the city itself is worth a stop and a little exploration.