It’s high summer here in Toronto, with all its green leafiness and blazing sunshine. Jeff and I are going full tilt preparing for a new adventure that I will reveal to my adoring public quite soon, so it’s the perfect time to procrastinate and write about our time in the Scottish Highlands this past April instead.
We didn’t have many days to spend in Scotland so we chose to see only a fraction of what we would have liked, with the idea that we’d relax and really get to experience what we did see. We stayed in Fort William for three nights, and drove through Glencoe to get there. Each day we planned day trips with the proviso that Jeff would decide how far he felt like driving.
And drive we did – one day we drove from Fort William to the bridge to Skye (and have vowed to explore more of Skye on a future visit), on another we re-visited Glencoe and took a small hike on one of well-marked trails provided, and also drove to Glenfinnan. At one point we passed a small village where one of Jeff’s ancestors had lived briefly after his family was transported off the Isle of Skye and before they moved to Canada.
As obsessed as I am with Outlander, I was oddly happy that they weren’t filming at the time – although I’m not really one for tracking down location shoots and approaching actors (my future husband Sam Heughan included), the prospect, however unlikely, would have rolled around the back of my mind and distracted me from simply enjoying the scenery.
When we arrived at The Lime Tree in Fort William the first thing I smelled as I walked up to the front door was peat smoke. They had a wonderful fireplace in their front sitting room and due to the chilly rainy evening they had lit the fire. What a welcoming scent and great introduction to the Highlands! Now any time I drink a peaty Scotch whisky I am instantly transported back to that evening.
We were very lucky with weather – aside from a drizzly first day that turned into hard rain by the time we arrived at Fort William, we had partly sunny days and great spring weather for the rest of our visit. But even the rain wasn’t a problem – the mountains? the hills? (as Canadians who’ve seen the Rockies we vacillated between the two terms the entire time) were just as stunning in the mist and rain.
It truly was one of the most beautiful parts of the world I’ve ever seen, and one of the most unspoiled. Here in Ontario most bodies of water have cottages dotted around their perimeter so you rarely see land meet water without any man-made interruption.
Some other highlights? Meeting a young red stag and finally getting to see the flower I’m named after.