Even though after actually making it up Ben Nevis we definitely deserved it, we couldn't sleep in as long as we'd like otherwise we'd miss breakfast that ends at 9am. At least it wasn't in-the-car-at daft o'clock like the day before! It was scheduled to rain, but only drizzled on us a little, even though we never did see any blue sky peek through the clouds. We were sure glad we tackled the Ben the day before with the beautiful weather!
We started out by driving to Fort William to the Ben Nevis distillery for Ben to scratch his whisky itch. I did buy another mini-bottle of Ben Nevis because the blue label was prettier for my shot glass shelf. ;) We got a photo of the Ben Nevis distillery in front of the real Ben Nevis, only just then realizing how really high up it was! We actually CLIMBED that thing TO THE TOP!!! whoa...! See, you couldn't see the summit from the beginning of the hike, so the scale of the excursion isn't obvious when you start out...maybe they've done that on purpose? ;)
Britta, Ben & Ben (Nevis) from the shores of Loch Linnhe
Since we had been told that the Glenfinnan Viaduct, where the Hogwarts Express chugs along in the films, was fairly near the area, we kept on driving. Right by the best view of the viaduct is also a monument to yet another Scot helping Bonnie Prince Charlie, with a beautiful loch behind, so even more photos of course. Too bad I left my Gryffindor scarf at home! ;)
Ben & Britta waiting for the Hogwarts Express ;)
After some souvenir purchases at the little shop (sadly no HP merchandise except the playing cards, which weren't unique enough for me), we scarfed the last of our Ben Nevis lunch provisions, since at the hotel we had the full breakfast with sausage, bacon, grilled tomato, fried egg and black pudding to tide us over as long as possible, then we headed back through Fort William for Ben's first glimpse of Glencoe.
Still overcast and now about 3pm, we decided we'd save the Glencoe visitor's centre for Saturday morning as we headed south for Uldale, so we tackled the Lost Valley hike. I had done this hike back in 1997, and I remembered it being no problem and not too long, and with the Glencoe website instructions saying 2 hours for only 2 miles, it seemed okay even for Ben-Nevis-aftermath day. Well, even Andy agrees with us that something must have happened to that path in the past 8 years, since it sure was NOT "clearly marked" in several places and much harder than I remember! Granted, we stopped for a lot of photos and were going slowly since we were already tired, but it took us 3 hours, since in many places the path was difficult to guess, and we had to backtrack a lot. I kept apologizing to Ben since this was supposed to be an easy hike, but we all think that the scree (loose rock & gravel) that is so prominent on every Scottish Highland hillside keeps coming loose, cluttering up the paths, plus there were a few trees that had even fallen across the path.
At any rate we did make it eventually to the top to see the Lost Valley, which appears in the Prisoner of Azkaban film! In the segue to winter shot, where Hedwig flies through, bringing the snows behind her, that is the very same valley. When I was in the theatre watching PoA for the first time, I gasped when I saw that scene whispering "I've been there!" Silly me, I know!
Britta & Ben at the Lost Valley of Glencoe - finally! ;)
On the hike back out, we didn't have clear skies but we did have glorious light at the end of the glen, which of course was photographed profusely, then on the road for dinner at the hotel yet again. They change the specials every night, and it has all been delicious plus is conveniently charged to our room, so why not? After dinner we went out behind the hotel for the view of the loch as the sun was setting, with more photos, and a short visit by a friendly black lab.
Tomorrow we say goodbye to Scotland as we drive south through the Scottish Borders and into the Lake District to Uldale, staying at The Snooty Fox Country Inn. Seeing our luck so far with small private country hotels not having phones in the rooms, we don't hold out too much hope for being able to post what we've been writing each night quite yet, but at least there is London Monday night, when we have wifi in our hotel! :)
Until next time!