Today we are starting out on the Gino Rondelli tour of Scotland. The first day’s campsite is in the town of Aberfelty in 85 miles, but there is a lot to see on the way.
The first stop was in the town of Falkirk to see the 30 meter tall Kelpies. A Kelpie is a shape-shifting water spirit that is said to inhabit the lochs and pools of Scotland. It is usually said to appear as a horse, but can also adopt human form. These Structures flank the lock here are it would be quite something to come thru here in your boat.
From here it is a short drive to the Falkirk wheel. This is a rotating boatlift that connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union canal. It opened in 2002 to reconnect the canals for the first time since the 1930’s.The wheel raises boats by 24 meters (79 ft), but the Union Canal is still 11 meters (36 ft) higher than the aqueduct, which meets the wheel. Boats must also pass through a pair of locks between the top of the wheel and the Union Canal. The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world.
The tour continues with a drive by of the Stirling Castle and then onto the Wallace Monument. The tower stands on the volcanic Abbey Craig, from which William Wallace was said to have watched the gathering of the army of King Edward I of England just before the battle of Stirling Bridge. You can climb the 246-step spiral staircase to the viewing gallery inside the monument’s crown.
From here we got onto some of the small roads to wind our way into Aberfelty. We got off easy with just a cloudy day and no rain for camping.
The destination today is the long way to Strontian in 126 miles.
The route today is up and around the Loch Tummel and then back around Loch Tay.
The rain started around Killin and got worse and worse.
Despite this the views over the pass on the A82 in to Glencoe were amazing.
From here we got the ferry to Strontian. It was still pouring and options are very limited here. We finally found a hotel with a room, but it was a bit like being in a twighlight zone episode. There were only 3 guests in the large hotel and the owner was drunk at dinner and breakfast.
Despite the continued rain we had to leave the atmosphere here. Our plan was to get to the westernmost point in the continental UK and to the Commando memorial near Fort William.
The road here is single lane with passing places and may actually have been some of the most dangerous driving we have done because of the speed of the oncoming cars on the corners.
We continued down the single-track road along the coast until we reached the most western point of the Continental UK at Ardnamurchan Point. Here there is a lighthouse and you can see the Wee Isles of Rhum, Eigg, and Muk, which are important to us since Sara’s sister actually lives on Rhum and Eigg Drive at home!
The rain continued on and off, but we were lucky to get a sunny break when we stopped to pay our respects at the Commando Memorial in Spean Bridge. It sites on a hill with an incredible mountain view including Ben Nevis. This is the highest peak in the British Isles at 1,344 m (4,409 ft).