Diary blog: Ben Nevis, Ben Arthur and more of Scotland

After two nice days on the Isle of Skye, we take the ferry and return to the mainland of Scotland. After we have dropped off Fenne and Jur (family of Ries) at their hotel in Fort William, we drive to the parking lot where we go free camp tonight. Curious about the last days of our road trip through Scotland? Then read onwards!Scotland

The awesome Ben Nevis

Fort William is a tourist hotspot in the west of Scotland. Two reasons why the city is so touristy: it is the start (or the end, just how you look at it) of the West Highland Way and it’s located near Mount Ben Nevis. We are here for the latter: the highest mountain in Scotland. With 1345 meters, that doesn’t sound that high at all. But, apparently, the climb to the top of Ben Nevis is a tough and sometimes dangerous climb. A bit reckless, we had planned to hike it, but after doing some research, we decide that it is not wise without a guide.

Free camping and the North Face of Ben Nevis

And so, after a night of wild camping at the Braveheart Carpark, we make another hike: the North Face of Ben Nevis. As the name suggests, we have a nice view of Ben Nevis while walking. We walk through a dense forest, along a clear river, which is getting bigger and wider. The higher we get, the better the view of Ben Nevis gets, the mountain contrasts erratically with the blue sky, on the top we see a little snow.

In the beginning, it is quite cold, but after walking for an hour, the sun breaks through and we can take off some layers of clothing. The last nine days we have experienced every type of weather you can imagine. From hot days in Edinburgh to snow in the Cairngorms. And from the rain on the Isle of Skye to a watery spring sun now. This unpredictability is typical for Scotland and yes, an hour later the weather suddenly turns and dark clouds come around the summit of Ben Nevis.

Are you planning on making a road trip through Scotland? Then check out this Scotland itinerary for 1-2 weeks! 

ScotlandSchotland Glenfinnach

To the hospital and the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Back by the car, we decide to drive to the Fort William hospital. Yesterday we discovered three more ticks on Ries’ leg and we want to be sure to check the bites. Once there, Ries is treated by a young resident. Fortunately, he can reassure him quickly, nothing seems to be wrong.

Then we quickly decide to drive on to the Glenfinnan Viaduct. This viaduct is known from Harry Potter films, among others. Ries has discovered that today a steam train (The Jacobite) will come by at exactly 3.15 hours resulting in some beautiful images. After a short hike (Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail) we arrive at the viaduct where we, together with some other tourists, wait patiently until it is 3.15 pm. And then, announced by a low long whistle, the steam train rolls up the viaduct. It is a beautiful sight, the black-red train in the Scottish hilly landscape. We hear dozens of cameras click around us and we also take the necessary photos and videos. After fifteen minutes he drives on slowly and we start the journey south.

For the Harry Potter fans: you can also drive a bit with this beautiful steam train. Click here for more information about this cool activity!


Glencoe and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Via Glencoe, we drive to the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Because we have already been here in December, we don’t stop in Glencoe, although the view of the mountains is beautiful again. Our last night in Scotland we stay at a nice campsite: Stratfillan Wigwam Village. There is a sheltered kitchen, hot showers and you can make a campfire, all in all, an amazing campsite! After cooking (a leftover meal including pasta, beans and tomato soup), we light a fire and sit and watch the sunset with a glass of wine. A perfect last evening! For the last time, we crawl into the campervan and fall asleep under a clear starry sky.

Free guide: all you need to know about road tripping and camping in Scotland!


Ben Arthur – and back to Edinburgh

The alarm goes off early, even though it is our last day in Scotland, we are planning to do something fun. Our flight only departs at 7 p.m. and we don’t have to return the car around 3 p.m. so we drive to Loch Long, where the Ben Arthur hike starts. Ben Arthur, also known as The Cobbler, consists of three mountain peaks in the Arrochar Alps. The view that you have from the tops seems to be beautiful.

We start in good spirits on the steep journey up. Unfortunately, it starts to drizzle a bit. “Hey, we are not made of sugar!” I call to Ries and so we walk on stiffly. But when the clouds start to lower and lower, we come higher and higher and at a certain moment I no longer see the steps, we decide that we won’t reach the summit today. We turn around and walk back to the start in disappointment. Once downstairs at the car, it starts to storm a bit, we are nevertheless happy with our decision to walk back.

Two hours later we handed in the car and it’s time to say goodbye to Scotland. The past ten days have flown by! Until next time Scotland, because we are not done with you, that is for sure!

All about money, expenses and prices on travelling can be found in our Scotland budget blog!


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