The time had come to leave my beloved Glasgow to travel the 2-3 hour route to Kennacraig port through the lochs and between the mountains of Scotland. We had a 4 hour window so there was no rush, but I still had a twinge of anxiety since I was responsible for the navigation and plans. It’s because of this anxiety that I am always reluctant to stop anywhere and just want to get where we need to be before I take a breath. Sean was more encouraging that we pull over and take photos and this time I couldn’t argue because it was so beautiful.
The drive from Glasgow to Kennacraig is nothing short of spectacular. It’s through great big mountains full of trees, past shimmering lochs, across tiny one-lane bridges made of stone, and round quaint towns bustling with life and adventure. Each new town we cross through feels like an opportunity missed because we didn’t stop and explore. It makes me sad we had such a ambitious travel schedule and had to “make good time” in order to get to the next destination. The lochs are a place that I desperately want to come back and spend longer periods of time at, and urge anyone planning a trip to Scotland to consider spending days in these places instead of hours.
We pulled over at the Luss campgrounds and visitor center so we could get some pics of the Loch Lomond. The Lomond Loch is the largest loch in Scotland by surface area and second by volume only to the Loch Ness. It is fresh water and has several islands, one of which is home to a colony of wallabies. Yes, you heard correctly, wallabies. The Inchconnachan island is known for the capercaillie (which is a large turkey-like bird) and the peaceful inlets but it’s also home to the wallabies. Apparently they were introduced by Lady Colquhoun in the 1940s, and still roam wild. It is one of the very few places outside Australia which has a viable population of wallabies  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit the island and were only there for a pit stop and some quick photos. Next time: I want to see those wallabies.
We hopped in the car and intended to get back on the freeway only to get lost. We took a few wrong turns but on the brightside we got to see more of the loch shoreline! We did eventually make it back on the freeway and passed through my next favorite loch of the trip. The Fyne Loch is Scotland’s longest sea loch that connects to the Sound of Jura ocean via a canal and is known for it’s oysters and fishing. As you drive around the Loch Fyne you pass the Inveraray Castle which is an 18th-century gothic-style castle that is rumored to be haunted. Also, an episode of Downton Abbey was partly filmed there. It is supposed to have beautiful gardens and walking trails along with a rich tour of the castle. Past the castle is the town of Iveraray which has an old jail that is now a museum and a bell tower that’s open to the public and still gets rung everyday. We drove past the castle and the town in order to make our ferry to Islay but I hope to be back again and spend a few days exploring Inveraray and breathing in the salted cool wind that sweeps through the town.
We have decided that weeks need to be spend exploring the lochs and the towns on the edges the next time we visit Islay. It has the feel of relaxation and adventure mixed-up together in such a dazzling way. Maybe it’s so quiet there because everyone is in awe of the monumental splendor of it all? It makes everyone speechless? That sounds about right. Also on my list for next time we go: a wide-angle camera lens and a tripod to try and capture the true striking nature of it all – although it can be so windy I am not sure the tripod will make a difference. I wholeheartedly recommend a trip through the lochs because it will change your life.