We rented a car in Edinburgh and took a route through Stirling on the way to Oban (where we planned to stay)
We stopped in Stirling for a late breakfast at the Fat Cyclist. Yum! Dustin and I both had banana pancakes, his with a caramel sauce, mine with a nutella sauce. So good….not so healthy.
After breakfast, we toured Stirling Castle. The appeal of this castle is definitely the setting, which offered us great views across the Scottish countryside.
The inside wasn’t quite as impressive as Edinburgh Castle, though still interesting. The big difference was that it wasn’t the remains of a castle, but instead it had been updated to look like it would have looked like back in the day. Just a different “castle” experience. In some rooms, there were people dressed in period costumes, telling stories and explaining the meaning of some of the tapestries.
Like I said, the real appeal was in the views!
We could see the Wallace Monument from the castle. This monument commemorates Sir William Wallace, of “Braveheart” fame.
Throughout the rest of the drive to Oban, my goal was to see some Highland cows. That goal was acheived!
Oh my gosh, they were the cutest…We were allowed to feed them sweet potatoes.
One more cow picture, because..those bangs!
We made it to Oban JUST in time for our 2pm distillery tour at the Oban Whisky Distillery.
We signed up for the Exclusive Tour, which was well worth the 40 GBP/person. The tour itself was interesting and then at the end, we were seated in the manager’s office with four different drams of whisky. The tour guide talked us through “how” to taste the whiskies, discussing color, smell, legs, and of course, taste. After going through each whisky, we added drops of water with glass pipettes. Adding a few drops of water “opens up” the whisky to bring the flavors out. We couldn’t take any pictures throughout the tour, but it was very cool.
After the tour, we spent some time walking around Oban. (Mom/Dad, don’t worry- no drinking and driving, a lot of time had passed between the tasting and the driving)
Eventually, we began the drive to our bed & breakfast out in the country.
All narrow one-way roads. Sheep wandering along side..and of course, driving on the other side of the road too!He got pretty good at this!
We were greeted very kindly at the bed & breakfast with cake and tea, as well as advice on where to eat dinner and tips for the next day of exploring.
We had dinner Creagin Inn near our bed & breakfast. I figured it was time to try haggis, so I went all-in, ordering haggis, neeps, and tatties. Check out this link to read about haggis. Neeps are rutabaga and tatties are potatoes.
The haggis tasted like salty meatloaf. Probably not my favorite dish in the world, but it wasn’t awful.
Beautiful views of the water.
Now comes the downer part…Thursday morning, we woke up to pouring rain mixed with sleet/snow. SNOW! We left Minnesota for more snow…This was unseasonable for Scotland, but I guess you just never know what to expect. Unfortunately, the crappy weather put a damper in our plans. We had planned to take a ferry to the Isle of Kerrera to hike around the 6-mile island, tour an abandoned castle, and have a great day outdoors. However, the host of our B & B told us that the island was very exposed and that we would have a horrible time hiking there. We decided to cancel those plans.
This is what we were greeted with for the hike.
Cold. Snow. Ice. Sleet. But I was determined to tough it out. The trail we took was called “Devil’s Staircase” and it was slippery and somewhat steep. The entire hike took us about two hours.
Yes..that hike. It was rough. I hadn’t brought the right fit AT ALL. I was wearing my Brooks heritage sneaks! Not ideal. They were soaked right through.
Our time in the Highlands was very brief. Too brief. In hindsight, I really wish we would have planned to spend two nights in Oban, rather than just one. There was so much we wanted to see, but we didn’t have enough time, plus the weather didn’t cooperate. Though I enjoyed the extended time in Edinburgh, I do wish we would have done one less night there and one more night in Oban. More time might have allowed us to make it to Skye, which apparently is even more beautiful. Next time!
Lodging in Oban: