Scotland, Day 8: Travel to Inverness, Glencoe Valley, Loch Ness, Moments of Indecision, Drinks at the Malt Room
Our stay in Oban was very brief (just one night). Our main draw, really, was for the tasting at Oban Distillery (we’re both fans of Oban). But we were hard pressed to really imagine staying around for more than a day.
We got a recommendation from our host at the Whisky Vaults Hotel to visit Glencoe Valley if we could. It wasn’t part of our route, but we’d read enough about it that a slight detour was worthwhile (thank you, Rick Steves). And boy, was it.
A little coffee, and a little snack, before hitting the road.
An impossibly narrow, one lane bridge.
A real fake copy, meant to deter speedsters.
This sign has been a long time coming, apparently.
Right as we entered Glencoe Valley.
A bit later, we found a good parking lot thanks to Rick Steve’s travel Scotland book (this tip alone was worth the price of the entire book).
A bit further down the road, Liz and I found a fairly secluded area where we could pull over. We trekked a good while along an older road that ran parallel to A82, and walked this path a good long while.
It was actually difficult for us to stop walking, as we were looking for a “lookout” spot… but never quite convinced we passed it. There always seemed to be something more just around the next corner, something worth walking another 100 yards just to see.
Waiting at a (one lane) bridge.
To get to Inverness, we ended up driving around Loch Ness. Which is way longer/thinner than I realized (in my mind, it’s just a huge circle of water).
The road around Loch Ness had turn after turn after turn. It honestly felt like I was getting an upper body workout, given how frequently I had to maneuver the car. It wasn’t a slow, scenic drive and felt more like an endurance of constant motion.
We were able to spot a small little area where we could pull off, and walked down to the actual loch.
Liz, who did end up spotting Nessie. But when I turned around, I saw nothing.
Loch Ness was something we both read about as kids. And though it was a brief visit along its shores, I felt very lucky to have physically been to a place that I read about, extensively, as a child.
Looking back up the embankment, to where the car was parked.
A photo for posterity: on arriving at our hotel, we were upgraded to a larger room (but it was situated in a different building, across a parking lot from the main building.
After arriving, we debated a bit. And Liz determined that she would prefer a room in the actual main building itself (which had a pool/sauna, and was a draw for us staying here).
So I went to complain/ask if we could change our room. And the hostess at the main desk obliged. And so we moved all our bags over to the main building.
And then, on spending a few minutes in our (smaller) room… we could hear all the noise of each and every neighbor. There were door slams, shouting, it was loud.
We then realized our first room was actually much, much better. And was, indeed, the upgrade they claimed it was.
And so I had to go back downstairs, hat in hand, to ask the hostess at the main desk, if we could actually go back and get that original room they booked us in.
Not my greatest moment, as we’re not usually “those crazy American” travelers. But changing rooms both times was technically the right call. I ended up taking the hit for both requests, and I’m sure we were the talk of the evening among the hotel staff.
I did end up sliding 20 pounds to the hostess, for her accomodating us so much. But I still felt like an obnoxious American.
Little did we know just how much we’d enjoy our time here.
Seating was tight, but we got a small area in the middle. Our visits here had us talking with other groups, the close space allowing for some interesting/fun conversations.
A few of the drams we wanted to try ended up being stored in the upstairs tasting room, a more private area for groups. Our server, Charlotte, ended up taking us upstairs, as the bottles we were wanting to try were up there.
Charlotte, showing off the collection (which we’d later learn was organized by color).
As much as I love the notion, organizing whisky by color is the same to me as organizing books by color. It’s madness. Sheer madness.
Outside our original room. So nice, we asked for it twice.
Scotland, Day 1: Driving to Glasgow, Dinner at The Butchershop
Scotland, Day 2: Auchentoshan Distillery, Kelvingrove Park, Dinner at Fanny Trollopes and Bon Accord
Scotland, Day 3: Glasgow Necropolis, Glasgow Cathedral, Tasting at Glen Goyne Distillery, Dinner at Stravaigin
Scotland, Day 4: Island Hopping to Isle of Arran, Lochranza Distillery, Isle of Islay, Late Arrival at Islay House
Scotland, Day 5: Bunnahabhain Distillery, Lagavulin Distillery, Dinner at Islay House
Scotland, Day 6: Bowmore Distillery, Bruichladdich Distillery, Isle of Jura, Jura Distillery
Scotland, Day 7: Travel Day, Dunchraigaig Cairn, Oban Distillery, Whisky Vaults