This is a collaborative post.
What was the first holiday you shared with your significant other? For us, it was a cheap and cheerful road trip around the Scottish Highlands. Michael was 19 and I’d just turned 18 — we were two teenagers with a tank full of petrol, a cheap ASDA tent and blow-up bed and a boot full of our belongings with packets of dried pasta in sauces and pot noodles shoved in the gaps.
We started off in Broughtyferry as Michael’s uncle lives there with his family so we stayed for a few days taking trips to Arbroath and St. Andrews. In Mike’s family, I’m known as the ‘oyster girl’ because, if you didn’t know, Arbroath is a lovely little fishing village and they sell oysters in stands by the sea. I’d never had one before but I thought I’d give it a go when offered. Apparently, you’re supposed to have it go down in one go so I tipped up the shell and in it went. Jeez, it was salty as hell. Mike’s uncle said “Oooh, just think of it sliding down your throat” and that, mixed with the overbearing taste of the ocean, was too much. I threw up. Violently. All over myself. Filling the shell back up with everything that was in my stomach. He started laughing but I was mortified. Unfortunately, it still comes up in conversation to this day!
From there, we drove up to Aviemore and found somewhere to camp overnight. I remember taking a walk around the area together and stumbling across this beautiful little church at the end of a long path. It had a small graveyard to the side and beyond that was just water as we took in the view of the absolutely stunning Loch Alvie. We weren’t engaged by then but Michael was always going on about us getting married and we decided that it would be there in that little church. Ten years on and we still haven’t tied the knot despite booking the church twice — the first time I got run over in a pub car park so that took over and the second time we discovered I was pregnant a few months beforehand. I don’t know if they’ll take us seriously if we ever try and book it again!
The next day, we went up to explore Inverness — stopping off at the side of the road to see the infamous Loch Ness — and eventually found ourselves in Fort William. We spent two days camping at the bottom of Glen Nevis, pitching our tent by a little stream. I’ll always remember Mike blowing the airbed up and it taking forever because we’d forgotten to bring the pump! I could have stayed there forever, it was incredibly idyllic. The mist rolled across the campsite in the mornings, the air was fresh whilst the sun was warm and we paddled in the stream at the bottom of the mountains.
We visited a crystal, fossil and gemstone centre called Treasures of the Earth and it was this amazing little museum. Everything was so beautiful inside and I remember raiding the gift shop afterwards.
From there, we went down to Oban and just as we were getting into the village we crashed the car into the back of an older couple who were too busy petting their dog in the back to look where they were going! I remember Mike being quite shaken and worried, we were only young, but we managed to get the car to the campsite and ring the insurance company from the office. In the end, we even managed to drive it home but it wasn’t quite right afterwards. Luckily, the garage fixed it quickly enough and provided a service too with an oil change, tyre inspection etc.
We spent a few days in Oban before cutting our trip short and heading back due to the car troubles. I bought a sparkly fairy wand for a few pounds and pretended to use it to make everything better which made Mike grin but didn’t actually fix anything of course, apart from our spirits!
It rained heavily one day whilst we were there so we decided to pop into the cinema which was just this tiny room with a screen in and school-style hard chairs. It was so bizarre! The film kept going off and I think we left in the end.
All in all, it was a gorgeous town and a lovely place to stay to finish off our trip. We went up McCaig’s Tower on the very last day and took in the view of the bay, it was wonderful.
Both of us still say that it’s the best holiday we’ve ever had even though we were short on money and we didn’t know where we were going to be staying from one night to the next. I can’t remember where we were, but at one stage we paid to stay in a campsite that turned out to be a farmer’s field, with nobody else on it at all, and we were almost run over by a tractor as the farmer didn’t know that his wife had booked us in. We didn’t stay in the end, surprisingly enough!
Have you ever been on a road trip around Scotland before? What would be your must-see Scottish destination?