Gondola ride up the Nevis Range

Cable car ride

The other highlight of our Scottish Highlands trip, was the gondola ride up to the Nevis Range. They call it a gondola, but to me it’s a cable car. Gondolas make me think of the Venice boats navigated by Italian men in straw hats. Anyway, it’s not the gondola ride itself, but the scenery from the top of the mountain.

The mist lifted and fell in cycles when we arrived at the top. I must be out of rhythm with nature because whenever I got to the end of a walking trail and stood at the viewpoint, the fog descended and all I saw was whiteout!

~ Spotted Cow

Trail from the cable car

Foggy view

Viewpoint bench in the mist



Mallaig harbour

The Jacobite steam train stopped at Mallaig for a couple of hours before it headed back to Fort William. When we stepped off, the dark clouds started rolling in. We did a short walk around the picturesque harbour before heading to the pub. Not many photos on this stop, but I wanted to share this one where the dark clouds jostle with the sunlight over the boats in the marina.

Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O

~ Spotted Cow

Jacobite Steam Train

Glenfinnan viaduct

I love train journeys, and our Scottish itinerary was built around the Jacobite steam train that runs on the West Highland Line between Fort William and Mallaig. It is billed as the UK’s most scenic railway, and I can certainly vouch for that. The scenery is gloriously verdant and the highlight is running over the 21-arch span Glenfinnan viaduct. If you recognise it, it’s because both the train and the viaduct have featured in the Harry Potter movies, as well as some others. Indeed, there were several Harry Potter fans on board, recognisable by their broomsticks and Harry Potter lightning scar pencilled on their foreheads.

You can also do this trip on ScotRail, but we wanted the romance of travelling First Class on the heritage steam train. It’s an affordable luxury and I’m glad we did.

~ Spotted Cow

Jacobite steam train

First Class

Out the train window



First night

Giant checkers

Our first night in Scotland was at the Macdonald Forest Hills Hotel at Aberfoyle, near Loch Lomond. The hotel setting is stunning as it sits on the shores of Loch Ard. I had no phone signal while we were there and I couldn’t get onto the hotel wifi. So I was quite cut off from the world, and it was wonderful. It certainly didn’t matter when we took evening drinks on the terrace and admired the view. And when we were hungry, we headed into the restaurant for dinner and still managed to enjoy the view because it had windows all round. We only stayed the one evening, but it set us up in the right mindset for the rest of our trip.

~ Spotted Cow

MacDonald Forest Hills Hotel

Dining room



Road trip

Road trip

The most amazing thing I did this summer was a road trip in the Scottish Highlands for 6 days. The scenery was unbelievable and a lot of the time, the most beautiful bits were un-capturable because it was so big & grand and we were whizzing by. I’m excited about posting the pictures here over the coming sessions, and I’ve included a few starters below. It was very difficult to pick and so I’ve chosen Scottish icons like the flag, the thistle and the highland cow. Unfortunately no Nessie. Boo.

~ Spotted Cow

Scottish flag

Scottish thistle

Scottish souvenirs

Highland cow

Loch Ness life float

Scotland. To the lighthouse.

Mull of Galloway lighthouse

The Mull of Galloway lighthouse, Scotland’s most southerly point.

The Scots have a right to express their view. Nevertheless, I hope that they do not vote to sail off into the sunset at Thursday’s independence referendum.

On the day we went to the lighthouse, it was closed. I would love to have a peek inside, and I hope that if I visit again, that I won’t need a visa and a different currency.

~ Spotted Cow

Cliff edge signFlowers at the edge of the cliff