It’s been quite a long time since my last post. I kinda had a great time and an equal amount of not so great time last week. But, all in all, it was good. Because, I come up with materials for my blog!
October 16, 2009 was a happy day for me. My father & his colleague arrived here in Glasgow en route to Amsterdam. Like a good son, I welcomed them into my apartment and made sure they are comfortable and taken care of. I personally think, I’m really good at hospitality. It’s a tradition in our family on special occasions, we make a non-veg dish. So, I made Chicken Curry and Rice which was quite easy to cook except the chicken cleaning, dicing onions and cleaning after the cooking ordeal. They liked my cooking. I was glad they did. Then, the real fun part popped out. My dad wanted to go for a day trip to the Scottish Highlands. After the initial ramblings over different tour operators and places to visit stuffs, we settled for Rabbie’s Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands Day Tour. The reason we chose them is because we didn’t have any other options! But, we never thought, it would be the BEST trip we have ever had! And, without further delay, a gist of the good times follows below.
October 17, 2009 – 8 am – Sipping Costa coffee (Sorry, Starbucks! I said to my dad “Let’s try Costa” ) in the cold and windy Scottish weather, we were waiting to embark our “Scotland in a day” tour to the majestic yet beautiful Rannoch Moor mountain ranges, scenic Glencoe village, various Lochs & Glens and finally to the place of the world’s best-ever fairytale of the Loch Ness and it’s monster.
By 8:30 am, after all routine checking and welcoming and other mundane stuffs, we set out for a fascinating road trip which I never ever imagined or expected. My penchant for traveling and history was revived by our tour guide Mr. David Marshall Campbell. Our Scotsman was so good in his Scottish History, I listened to him in awe! Not because of the heroic historical figures like William Wallace or Robert the Bruce that he talked about or how the Scots could be so strong against the armed might of the Romans or the Vikings. I was amazed by how he made all those historical events and figures so amusing which made me to ask him a lot of questions instead of what many people out there would do during a history class; SLEEP!!!
Our tour passed the picturesque Tyndrum village overshadowed by the Ben Lui mountains, breathtaking Loch Tulla, magnificent and historically important Glencoe where the clan massacre of the MacDonalds by the Campbells took place in 1692 and apparently, our tour guide was a Campbell too! And, after that first leg of our tour, we passed through various historically important sites along Fort William before entering the “Great Glen” which comprises of pristine fresh water bodies viz. Loch Linnhe, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Dochfour and most importantly the Loch Ness, the largest freshwater reservoir in the United Kingdom. Those places were the gory Highland Clearances took place. Just like how the retail stores force their useless and unsold stock on customers as “Stock Clearance Sale”, these highland clearances were responsible for the forced displacement of many Scottish Highlanders to various parts of Scottish Lowlands and other parts of the world during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Finally, we reached the Loch Ness flowing through the Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus. We stopped for a cruise in Loch Ness and for lunch. The sailor of the cruise boat was talking about the historical importance of the places, castles and other stuffs on either sides of the Loch Ness. But, who cared! We were all busy taking pictures!!! It’s was so rejuvenating to be with Nature. After having some real Scottish food (Fish and Chips) for lunch, we started our return journey to Glasgow through various other important sites like the Commando Memorial which was used by the British Commandos for training during the World War II. After spending a couple of minutes at the memorial, we continued our return to Glasgow and suddenly an improbable thing happened; I slept!!! The final leg of our tour began when we stopped at a small town, Pitlochry for evening snacks and refreshments. By the time, we neared the famous William Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle, it was pitch black. But, we managed to High Five these stellar architectural marvel on the way.
We reached Glasgow around 8:30pm, completely exhausted but with sweet memories of our trip, our co-travelers and our tour guide, David Marshall Campbell.