The Allen’s came to town and we are still not sure how to put into words what their trip meant to us. Matt and Shannon traveled long hours from Denver, took time away from their jobs and made their first trip without their sweet son, Jude. The big and small sacrifices they made for this trip to happen were not lost on us. There were moments where I noticed our two worlds merging – excitedly showing off our new life in Scotland alongside the familiar faces of old friends from home. They blessed us with a suitcase of our favourite brand-name snacks from the States, poured blessings on us through prayer and it was extra nice of them to bring along some Colorado sunshine.
Day One: Buchanan Bust Station, Glasgow. Bacon rolls. Train to Edinburgh. Water of Leith. Inverleith Park. Vinyl shops. Stockbridge. Coffee @ Cairngorm. New College. Royal Mile. Grassmarket. Grayfriar’s Church. The Meadows. Dinner + whisky.
Day Two: We started a morning tradition with the Allen’s of having a ‘slow brekkie’ or slow breakfast. This included sipping countless cups of coffee, in our pajamas, listening to Matt’s playlists and frying up some delicious food. Our day in Edinburgh was full and mixed the best of city + hills. Holyrood Park + Arthur’s Seat. Hike up the Crags. Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop. Old College. Calton Hill. National Museum. Coffee @ Brew Lab. St.Gyles Church. Dinner @ The Scran + Scallie. Fish Pie + Sticky Toffee Pudding. Drinks @ The Last Word, Stockbridge. Circus Lane. More whisky…
The Scottish Highlands live up to the hype. They are what you have heard and more. Sunny skies, sideways rain, other-wordly landscapes, enchanting animals, unique colours and foliage, hills for miles, snow-capped mountains, remote villages and places you would imagine only trolls and fairies living in. The road trip was carefully planned yet adventurous, rugged yet stylish, wild yet tame, budget-friendly yet indulgent, and at times I had to ask myself, is this really happening?
Day Three: Slow brekkie on repeat. Rental car. Drive to Aviemore. Cairngorm National Park. Loch Morlich. Reindeer Centre. 10K Circuit to Ryvoan Bothy. Prayer on the summit. Views at An Lochan Uaine– Emerald Lake. Lunch @ The Winking Owl, Aviemore. Loch Ness + Urquart Castle. Dinner at Oakwood Restaurant, Dochgarroch. Smoked Scottish Salmon + Venison Goulash. Raspberry Cranachan. Drive to Drumnadrochit. Loch Ness Glamping B+B. More whisky…
Day Four: Waking up to Highland cows + sheep out our front doors. Drive to Torridon on the most dangerous/beautiful/narrowest road I have ever been on, The Bealach na Ba. Stopping the car to see baby cows (I know they are called calves, but I prefer baby cows). Gauking unashamedly at baby lambs (again… I know…) Traditional Scottish lunch at the well-known Applecross Inn. Hake and prawns. Fish + chips. Langoustines (not what Shannon expected but she was a trooper). Drive to Skye. Shepherd Huts B+B. Fairy Pools. Prayer. Stargazing.
The Bealach na Ba : Torridon to Applecross
Day Five: Blue Herron out our window. Birds chirping instead of a phone alarm. Morning greetings from rescue donkey’s, George + Gilbert. Slow brekkie delivered in picnic baskets by our lovely host, Janet. Whisky Porridge. Grapefruit. Fresh coffee. Drive to The Old Man of Storr. Magical black, white and emerald landscape. Lunch in Portree. Fishcakes. Cullen Skink. Drive to Ft. William. Ben Nevis, 1345m. Glencoe. Charming cottage, Tigh-na-Gare, located in Arrochar on the bank of Loch Long. You guessed it, more whisky.
Day Six: Slow brekkie. More coffee. Drive back to Glasgow. Car game of ‘Lost at Sea’, wow still laughing about this ‘team-building and communication’ game. Bittersweet parking lot goodbye’s. Gathered around the Allen’s suitcases at the airport. Prayer for traveling mercies and that God would seal this trip on our hearts always.
Our friendship with the Allen’s, this visit, this experience came at the time we needed it most. It was only a week before Ryan would leave for his semester in Germany and we were more than encouraged by it. This trip reminded us of God’s provision, his goodness and an appreciation for the natural beauty in our world- what a privilege it was to share with such dear friends!
With love from Scotland,
-Thanks Matt for being our friend AND for being an incredible photographer. You documented this trip like a boss. – If you are interested in the places we stayed, I have linked to websites for our choice of accommodation. – Curious about Scottish cuisine? Click on the links to find out more about some of the traditional Scottish food we tried along the way! – If you are in Edinburgh, links also included for a few of the best places to sip in the city.