Fort William, Scotland
We weren’t sure what we wanted to do today. We knew that we were waking up in Fort William and needed to end up in Morar ( a small town very close to Mallaig) but we had no specific plans. We stayed at Stronchreggan View Guest House, a bed and breakfast on Achintore Road (a road filled with B&Bs. The house was beautiful and the view of the lake from the front yard was beautiful. The host was a bit rude to us, rare so far in Scotland, but there is always someone! Of course if you’re looking for an affordable place to stay, it’s comfortable with good views and the breakfast was lovely. We looked through some brochures in the B&B and decided to hike Steall Falls. I was convinced the whole time that they were called Speal falls so you can watch me annoyingly correct Kim’s right pronunciation with my wrong one. . . Big sister fail! (Note from Kim: Annette is a very good big sister.) The hike was such a good decision. Luckily we got there early and were able to park very close to the beginning of the trail. When we came back down the parking lot was crazy. Somebody was waiting for my spot, and I had to do a 5 or 6 point turn to get out without hitting the cars that had parked behind me. I’m sure to locals there are rules, but one thing we can say about our time in the highlands is that we learned that there don’t really seem to be rules for parking, people just find a space and go for it, but so far we haven’t been blocked in, so it’s not a bad system! (Note from Kim: I saw other people blocked in occasionally, so I’m not a huge fan of this system.) Anyway I’ve gotten off topic! The falls!! The hiking path starts with a warning (pictures below.)
Ummmm Yikes! I think this started my anxiety going a little and a little bit after we started going, I was feeling dizzy and breathless so Kim and I sat down for a little while I gathered myself. I knew that if I gave into it and turned back, this feeling would over come me the next time I went on a hike and I am here to see the beauty of nature here in Scotland! I couldn’t let it overcome, so after a minute, we started walking again and I’m so glad that we did. After a moderate hike of about 45 minutes, we arrived at a beautiful waterfall. The hiking path is very clear, but at some point you come to a place where you can either go over a wire bridge or you can walk the other way and sort of forge your own path over the creek. We chose to forge our own path over the creek. This is another reason why earlier in the day is better than late. (Note from Kim: though I definitely thought it was better to cross making our own path across the river, I did fall on my way back. I didn’t really hurt myself, I just got a new bruise and got my clothes a bit wet. But river rocks are slippery! The water was shallow and luckily I just let myself splash into the water instead of staying dry and hurting myself by falling on rocks. So I’m totally fine, and I definitely scared Annette more than I hurt myself. But if you do this, be careful!). When we got to the wire bridge, there was nobody there and we were able to walk on part of it. When we left the waterfall to go back to the car, there were lots of people in line waiting to cross it and it’s not really a bridge I’d want to cross with other people on it as well! It’s hard enough to steady yourself on what is basically a tightrope. Where is Philippe Petit when you need him? (Note from Kim: I had to ask Annette, and this is the guy who walked across a tight rope from one World Trade Center Tower to he other.) We could have used his guidance to cross! The whole area is beautiful, and we found a nice rock to sit on near the base of the waterfall. We wished we had gone to the co-op beforehand and brought lunch with us, it was such a nice day for a picnic! It was so beautiful that we didn’t want to leave, but since we were determined to see the Glenfinnan Viaducts AND monument today, we had to eventually. Also, we were getting hungry! This blog post isn’t super long, but honestly the pictures speak for themselves! It’s a beautiful area from start to finish and I will never forget this hike! ~Annette
Slide Show of the Waterfall and Crossing the River
Slide Show of the Trail
St Cyrus, Scotland
We weren’t really sure what we were going to do today. We knew we were driving from Anstruther to Aberdeen, but had left the day open so we could get suggestions from locals and we feel very blessed that we did. Shout out again to Jill for giving us the amazing suggestion of going to St. Cyrus on our way up the coast. It was about an hour long drive, but it took a little longer for us since we are slow on thes windy and tiny roads. Driving on the left side of the road didn’t take too much getting used to, but for us, the curvy roads and tiny lanes definitely did. We wanted to get food when we got closer to the destination but quickly realized that we might not get the chance. Lucky for us RIGHT before we reached the beach we passed The Old Bakery and Coffee Shop and stopped in for lunch. They had a great menu, we both ordered sandwiches which came with crisps and a really good side salad all for about $13 total which is super cheap. We were so happy with our stop here. It’s adorable, the food is really good, and the staff was so lovely. When we left, we headed up to what our GPS said was St. Cyrus beach but it was actually the cliffs above the beach. We are so glad we made this mistake because the views were amazing. There actually was a path down to the beach but it seemed a little treacherous and it had been raining so we decided to find a place to park down on the beach instead. We went back to the coffee shop and they gave us directions to the St. Cyrus National Nature Reserve which is where the path started! If you put St Cyrus National Nature Reserve in your GPS you should definitely be able to get to the beach. If you want to go above to the lookout point, just follow Beach Road from The Old Bakery and Coffee Shop, park at the church, and walk down the path. At the Nature Reserve, you can park in the lot and then follow the trail (pictures below) and you’ll quickly be on the beach. If you head to your left and walk a little ways, you’ll eventually come to a waterfall which is absolutely beautiful . Unfortunately because of the tide we couldn’t make it all the way up to the waterfall but we did make it far enough to be able to see it and the rocks on that part of the beach were stunning. If you do decide to take a trip here just make sure to pay attention to where the path joins the beach because we had a little bit of a hard time finding the entrance to the path from the beach and it isn’t well marked on our way back. I could go on and on but really the pictures say everything that needs to be said about this area, absolutely stunning.