Spending the summer in the Scottish Highlands is usually a dance between wind, fog and rain – except this time, the sun was shining bright and greeted us with a warm breeze! When I arrived at the most beautiful old cottage, Balnald Farmhouse near Fortingall, to meet my husband and our families, I took some time to take photos around the property while the sun was still shining and the golden evening light provided a lovely toning. The house dating back to the 1880s is such a cosy place to stay and we enjoyed having a jacuzzi and a tennis court over the holidays! The garden even features its very own stone circle!What I also loved about it was the huge kitchen with a very perculiar oven that always stayed warm – you could literally always have a cup of tea for the water was always heated.
The next morning after I arrived I woke up really early, around 4.30am, and found the house quiet and the garden full of dew and fog. I decided on taking a little walk and explore the neighbourhood. I stumbled upon beautiful cottages and an old graveyard with a yew tree, that was 5000(!) years old – what a sight!
On another day, we were heading to Loch Lomond, where we all took a tour on the Loch with a speed boat (any adrenaline junkies out there?) That was so much fun and we got to experience the longest lake in Scotland from a whole different angle! After that, we drove back home and stopped at a beautiful river with stones to climb on and relax our feet in the cooling water.
We wanted to visit the valley of Glen Coe and on our way, we came across the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary (OMG!) near Oban on the west coast and I begged to visit it since I’m crazy about animals (especially otters!!) and my husband and I got to meet rays, seals and – yes, you guessed it right – otters! The sanctuary is not that big, but I highly recommend it to everyone in love with rescued animals – you can read more about it HERE.
Another stop was Castle Stalker (originally Caisteal an Stalcaire), a castle from around 1320 lying in the middle of Loch Laich. Since it was low tide, the water was gone, but it looked beautiful nonetheless and my mum and I got to explore the area a bit.
Having finally arrived in Glen Coe, I was blown away! The waterfalls along with the fog above the mountains was just very impressive! That’s what I love about this country: It’s harsh, it’s rough, but at the same time it’s so full of heart and beauty.
But there was yet another highlight waiting for me: riding the Jakobite Steamtrain, the very one that inspired J. K. Rowling with her story of Harry Potter (can I get an AMEN! please?). As a major potterhead, I was very excited to travel to Mallaig via the train (no, unfortunately not to Hogwarts). The fisher village is very small, but it’s the gateway to the Isle of Skye.
On our way back home to Perthshire we came trough Glen Coe again and it was even more beautiful than before, since the last golden sunrays touched the mountains and there were no tourists left. It was just so quiet and I really enjoyed this brief silence. I could’ve stayed there to watch the stars come out, but it was time to head home and enjoy the evening with some tennis and a bath in the jacuzzi.
Before we had to fly back to Germany, we went hiking behind the cottage. The area was quite impressive – lots of small streets, lots of sheep and lots of sunshine! When we found a big waterfall, we couldn’t help ourselves but take off our shoes and cool our legs in the flowing water. There was a little pool in between and we spent some time sitting there with our legs in the water, until our bodies got used to the cold (what a joy!). And, last but not least, we finally met some Highland Cows on our way back to the cottage – so cute!
I can’t wait to see you again, Scotland ♥️