more stunning landscapes on the way to Glencoe

the magnificent mountains of Glencoe

Back to mainland Scotland again…

It was time to start our journey to Glencoe on the mainland of Scotland. We’d travelled down from Staffin, staying for our last night on Skye by the Skye Bridge at Kyleakin. This would be our route over back to the mainland of Scotland for the next stage of our road trip.

the bridge to Skye
the bridge to Skye

Having a road connection to Skye as well as a ferry route must add to its overall accessibility for tourists and locals alike. Before setting off, time for a full Scottish breakfast before we hit the road once again. No use travelling on an empty stomach. Well, that was my excuse anyway!

a selection of Hamilton tartans from Lochcarron Weavers
a selection of Hamilton tartans from Lochcarron Weavers

When looking at possible routes and places to stay, we realised that another textiles point of interest was not that far out of our way. It was something that as we were in the area, seemed crazy for Lorna not to visit. Me, I just enjoyed the drive regardless of where we were heading. Although I too wanted to visit Lochcarron Weavers as well. A win-win for both of us!

Family heritage

It was amazing to see the huge variety of tartans on display. I hadn’t really imagined there would be quite so many. Apparently you can even go about designing your own. That could be quite a cool design project to do at some point. There are various official Hamilton tartans already, but it would be fun to look into creating a custom one too!

Lorna stocks up with more materials from Lochcarron Weavers
Lorna stocks up with more materials from Lochcarron Weavers

Lorna was in her element once again. She made the most of stocking up on even more raw materials to experiment with when we get back. Looks like she’ll be busy with some interesting new projects on her return. The ‘Tardis’ nature of our little camper was going to be tested once again! Somehow we had to fit another couple of black bin bags worth of materials in the back somewhere. Lorna must have ideas of grandeur and think we have a big motor home rather than our little campervan!

somehow all this from Lochcarron Weavers needs to fit with us in the bus!
somehow all this from Lochcarron Weavers needs to fit with us in the bus!

The glorious roads to Glencoe

Having made the most of the opportunity to visit Lochcarron Weavers, it was time to get back on the road again to Glencoe. We had been through the area in the past and its epic rugged beauty was somewhere we really wanted to experience again. It really is a full 360º beauty experience when driving through this part of the Highlands of Scotland.

more stunning landscapes on the way to Glencoe
more stunning landscapes on the way to Glencoe

On our road trip thus far, we had experienced pretty amazing weather. However, this was a mountainous region of Scotland, and things can always change quickly! Part of the journey was in warm sunshine, and then around the next valley, it was heavy rain, before going back to sunshine again! I guess you can’t have a trip to Scotland and not get some rain once in a while.

all types of weather in Scotland
all types of weather in Scotland

We had an initial idea of where we were planning to stop for the night. However, on the journey, we saw a place that sounded like it might be an even better option. It had toilets and a small cafe, so hard to argue with those kinds of fancy upmarket facilities 🙂 It’s good sometimes to be flexible enough to change things en-route if you fancy something different. Neither of us likes getting tied into plans that are too rigid.

spectacular scenery surrounds you on all sides
spectacular scenery surrounds you on all sides

Not a bad view for the night

Our new stopover for the night was Glencoe Mountain Resort. Onsite it has a series of micro lodges, 6 electric hook-up points, along with 20 camping plots, showers, drying rooms plus an onsite café with a fully licensed bar. The idea of a hot meal and a beer at the end of the day clinched it for me! The location itself was spectacular! 🙂 With stunning views towards the Buchaille Etive Mor and Rannoch Moor. What an amazing view to wake up to in the morning!

great spot for the night at Glencoe Mountain Resort
great spot for the night at Glencoe Mountain Resort

Having parked and set-up for the night, we made our way to the log cabin cafe to see what was on offer. It had a small range of home-cooked locally sourced produce. I opted for a baked potato, haggis and salad which was awesome and really touched the spot! Beer was decent too, so no complaints from me. There was a big wood-burning stove to keep the place warm, which got a big thumbs up from Lorna! Lovely to relax at the end of the day, toasty warm with fantastic views of the Buchaile Etive Mor through the huge panoramic windows.

warm and well-fed in the Glencoe Mountain Resort cafe
warm and well-fed in the Glencoe Mountain Resort cafe

Sorry, did you say snow?

After the warmth of last night in the cafe with its big wood-burning stove, we got quite a shock first thing in the morning… snow! Not a word that either of us was quite expecting to say first thing in the morning! Mind you, we did think it was pretty chilly when we went to bed. Apparently it went down to sub-zero temperatures in the night!

waking up to snow on the roof of the camper was a bit of a shock first thing
waking up to snow on the roof of the camper was a bit of a shock first thing

Times like this when we are really glad we fully insulated the bus with space aged insulation and both had good sleeping bags with us! Still, quite a beautiful sight first thing in the morning with snow on the roof of the bus, crisp blue skies and mountains off in the distance 🙂 Just goes to show it’s always good to be prepared for whatever the weather may bring. At least we’ve now (inadvertently) done our first subzero night in the bus and survived!

Not the only surprise of the day

Apart from the snow on the roof of the camper and the light dusting on the ground, there was another surprise we hadn’t bargained for. When we arrived and parked up last night, there were not that many other people around. Things had now suddenly changed this morning…

stunning views with a sprinkling of snow on the mountain tops
stunning views with a sprinkling of snow on the mountain tops

The quiet tranquil surrounds of yesterday had been transformed with an invasion of people, vans and a whole host of mountain bikes. I had a quick chat with one of our new early morning neighbours and it seems like we had arrived the day before Macavalanche 2019 was taking place right here at the Glencoe Mountain Resort.

the empty car park was crammed full of vans and bikes first thing
the empty car park was crammed full of vans and bikes first thing

Bonkers Bikers

Apparently this was an epic Scottish Enduro mountain bike event with a crazy mass-start stage down the now snowy slopes of Glencoe. Time to get up for some breakfast and check out some of the hardcore people and bikes doing this event.

Glencoe makes an awesome location for a spot of mountain biking
Glencoe makes an awesome location for a spot of mountain biking

Clearly this was a big and very popular event judging by the ques for the ski lift that we had to squeeze through to get to the toilets and cafe.

loads of mountain bikers waiting to get up the mountain
loads of mountain bikers waiting to get up the mountain

Overhearing some of the conversations whilst we tucked into breakfast at the cafe, it sounded like the early morning bikers had enjoyed a pretty special downhill experience. There were a series of different types of runs taking place during the day, so the cafe was abuzz with people looking forward to the days’ events.

A lot of the riders after having done their first run early had come back to the cafe for a bite to eat before taking the ski lift with their bike back up the mountain again. Clearly gluttons for punishment!

Glencoe you were great

On our initial arrival at the Glencoe Mountain Resort, I’d not really fully appreciated the backdrop to the place. It wasn’t until we begin heading away, that we get to realise fully just how far back and up that the mountains actually go! They really are quite an epic sight! I did a tiny amount of mountain biking and cycle touring years ago, but nothing on this scale! Must have been a serious adrenaline rush tackling the downhill runs up there!

the Glencoe Mountain Resort nestled in the landscape
the Glencoe Mountain Resort nestled in the landscape

With blue skies overhead (at least for now), unfortunately, it was time for us to push on. We would be leaving the mountains behind for a new phase of our road trip. The homeward bound section…

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