27th July 2020
Our tour of Scotland took us from Edinburgh to Loch Lomond, Loch Fyne and Inveraray. We travelled through beautiful Argyll around Loch Awe and on to our destination – the much-loved harbour town of Oban.
Local Flavours with James Campbell Tours brings you the best experiences in travel. All our itineraries are carefully designed so you get a wonderful flavour of the destinations you visit.
I am travelling with a friend, Patrick Findlay who is also a music producer and audio-visual artist. The purpose of this trip is to do some filming and photography.
As we left the city of Edinburgh and the expanse of the green countryside lay ahead of us, it felt so good to be on the road and travelling again. This is July 2020, and while the roads are never too busy here in Scotland’s countryside, they are still very quiet due to the effects of Covid-19. It only takes us an hour and forty minutes to reach the western side of Loch Lomond and our first stop of the day. Like the Forth Rail Bridge, Loch Lomond is one of those places where locals and tourists love to visit and both places claim unimaginable beauty, the former a man-made wonder, the latter a natural one. The Loch is looking its usual stunning best. It is the largest loch in the United Kingdom and today its waters are dark, the mountains around it are green and sitting around them like cashmere scarves, are white fluffy clouds. We stop for photographs and to enjoy the peace and quiet. There are a handful of tourists and day trippers around and with everyone social distancing it makes for a very pleasant sight-seeing stop.
We continue past Loch Long and the Rest and be Thankful photo stop to Loch Fyne and the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, situated on the Loch’s western shore www.lochfyne.com The restaurant is well organised with current Covid-19 protocol. Staff are on hand to direct and all social distancing measures are in place. We continued to the Georgian Town of Inveraray and it was nice to see a gentle bustle of people walking around the town enjoying some warm dry weather. Most shops are open and again social distancing measure are working well. I felt safe walking around Inveraray, there a lot of space here including that wonderful green in front of the town by the loch.
Our journey to Oban took us through the most scenic roads of Argyll, past Loch Awe and the ruined 15th Century Kilchurn Castle, on to Loch Etive (one of our favourite Lochs in Scotland), where we stop to admire the stunning land and waterscape of this peaceful area.
We opted for fish and chips Al fresco style as there was no option for sitting in. It must be said fish and chips in Oban is a must! Oban’s fabulous seafood restaurants are open, and all looked to be well organised.
Day 2 – We were up early, it is nice and warm, the sun is making appearances through the white, fluffy clouds – our favourite kind of day!
We travel north and arrive at the beautiful Loch Creran. This is a drive by loch for most, but we love it and we detour around it. It is so peaceful, and the views of mountain and loch are serene and stunning. After our visit we continue to Loch Linnhe and Castle Stalker viewpoint. The Castle Stalker View Café is open, and the staff are welcoming and friendly. We popped in for coffee and like the other places all social distancing and safety Covid-19 measures are in place and it feels safe to be in here. Glad to say the coffee and home baking is as good as ever! The views of 14th Century Castle Stalker are really outstanding from the viewpoint and your photographs will give you that ‘picture postcard’ shot of the Scottish Highlands.
We continue north to the amazing and stunning landscape of Glencoe. Here we spend the rest of the day walking and taking pictures of this most breath-taking landscape. Today it is sunny but believe me, as a tour guide who travels this glen almost once a week in summer, it doesn’t really matter what the weather is like here. I have seen it with mist and rain and this type of weather can make it one of the most atmospheric places on earth. Today we have blue skies with white cloud which is perfect for walking. While the car parks are busy with hill walkers, there is plenty of space and we did not see many people around.
We continued to Buachaille Etive Mor (That famous pointy mountain at the southern end of the glen) for a walk and more stunning photographs.
It is worth noting, that The National Trust for Scotland visitor centre in Glencoe was closed but it is due to open on the 1st of August. Check their website for opening hours www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/glencoe/planning-your-visit?lang=#opening-times
On our journey back to Oban we detoured to Port Appin, another favourite spot on our tours. I do love this little enclave of harbour, village and gorgeous restaurant and bar www.pierhousehotel.co.uk We managed to photograph the lighthouse out on Loch Linnhe just as the rain drops were falling from the gathering clouds.
Our evening was spent back in Oban where we enjoyed a wonderful meal at one of our favourite restaurants – EE-Usk www.eeusk.com All social distancing measures were in place.
Day 3 – We depart and head for home. Mission accomplished! We have some fantastic film and photography footage and our little trip into the Scottish Highlands has been a wonderful escape from the constraints of current city life. There are no crowded places and what a pleasure to get out of the city and experience some normality in Scottish country life. We make a short stop in the beautiful Trossachs National Park for a bite to eat and buy some local gifts and coffee, most places here are open. We travel back to Edinburgh enjoying those famous views of Stirling Castle, The Wallace Monument and, further on, The Kelpies and we are already looking forward to visiting those iconic sites, as well as our other favourite places on our private and tailor-made tours of Scotland.
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