Samstag, 20. August 2016

Roadtrip Jubilee: Scottish Highlands & Lake District

I have been holding off on posting random stuff as this is the 100. post on this blog and I wanted to do something special for the jubilee of Qaroline's Qonundrums. What could be more appropriate for this festive occasion than to blog about the mother of all roadtrips?

For the last years my bucket list of places to see has included just 3 places:

a) Lake District
b) Scotland
c) Iceland

This summer I had the chance to cross 2 of them off the list - but of course now I need to go back someday, as there wasn't time enough to see anywhere near as much as I wanted to see. I had only one week off and the opportunity to join friends of mine who had rented a Airbnb in Pitlochry in the Scottish Highlands. Because I knew I had to drive there to save on money (train fares are atrociously high in the UK) and that I would pass the Lake District anyway, I crammed my camping stuff and clothes for all weather eventualities into the car and drove north.

I did not plan too much, I rather wanted to experience the different landscapes without coming to them with too many expectations - but the one thing I knew I wanted to do was to swim in a loch. I ended up swimming a lot - every day when I was in the Lake District - and in the end this trip has been mostly about water.

Much love,

Falls of Dochart - near Killin. My first proper stop after driving through the night.

Falls of Dochart - Killin, near Loch Tay

Pebble beach, Loch Tay, on my way to Pitlochry

Wild flowers on the shore of Loch Tay

Dull, near Aberfeldy. I just needed to photograph this.

Stop on the A9, going to Cairngorms National Park

Loch Morlich, Cairngorms National Park. As always the mountains do not look nearly impressive enough on the photograph. When swimming in the loch (peaty, ice-cold water) they seemed to be really near.

The fish ladder in Pitlochry. A few weeks before I had listened to The Fish Ladder - a Journey Upstream by Katharine Norbury on audiobook. Highly recommended.

River Ness in Inverness

The relentless Scottish sunshine (!) - looking sunburnt and a bit blissed out next to Loch Ness

Blairmount in Pitlochry. Stunning Airbnb, for more info follow the link!

My campsite near Coniston Water wasn't that far from the Atlantic Coast. As I am always a sucker for the seaside, I drove to Haverigg near Millom after pitching the tent on the first evening

Haverigg - towards the coast

Coniston Water - where I went swimming on the first evening

After swimming - celebrating the first night in my new tent with a pipe

Ambleside, Lake District

Estwaite Water, very near to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's place. Saw some of her water colours of Estwaite in a tiny exhibition space at Estwaite Fishery

Lakeside on Windermere - went swimming in there on the second day but at a different access point.

Dove Cottage, Grasmere, where Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived for 8 years. Am reading Dorothy Wordsworth's diaries at the moment (to be honest I originally came here because it features in The Trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon ...)

Houses around Dove Cottage, Grasmere

View towards the Old Man of Coniston from the campsite, zoomed in to cut off the tents

Cream tea in 'Fine Food Emporium - Mrs F's' in Keswick. Was feeling  a bit sunstruck by this point and needed to get away from the maddening crowd.

Last evening and last opportunity for a swim in Coniston Water. Sat in the shade beneath the big oaks on the shore line for a long time.