July 20, 2014

Scotland - Road trip (part 3: Fort William)

Following the cool visit at the Dalmally Station and fun drive through Glen Orchy, we got into Fort William in the evening so we checked into our B&B, the Torlinnhe Guest House, for the next two nights straight away.

I have to say all the B&Bs we had stayed at so far had been excellent but it didn't stop us from being impressed with the Torlinnhe Guest House! Just check out the view from our breakfast table... I didn't take any photos of the breakfast spread but believe me, everything was perfect and very delicious.

Within 5 minutes drive to the Fort William town centre, this B&B has beautifully decorated rooms, speedy wifi and very very helpful and kind hosts. Before we arrived, I was asking for various details about Fort William, other places to see etc and each time I received excellent details promptly. Sue even sent us a detailed itinerary! There is nothing like local knowledge!

So we had a wonderful fun filled all weather day along the Fort William to Mallaig round trip!

We saw some castle ruins, a sailboat coming through a canal, climbed a really narrow monument tower (glenfinnan), visited the glenfinnan station and the viaduct (important history of the West Highland line and more recently Harry Potter!)...

We saw some pheasants roaming along the road side, some sheep on the road (literally!), some deers but we weren't quick enough with the camera, visited the gaunt ruins of Castle Tioram (stand on the tidal island of Eilean Tiora, said to be dating back to medieval time!). 

We also saw some seals sun baking (Garbh Eilean wildlife hide).


Of course we talked to few more friendly locals again. 

I probably have left off something... but we ended the day with a great meal sitting under an Aussie flag at the local pub prepping for the soccer World Cup.

And to top that off, we came back to our room with our cleaned laundry neatly folded on our bed! Yes the Torlinnhe Guest House offered laundry service for a small fee and Sue even kindly took good care of my knitted socks!

Whoa, I had hoped to cover the Isle of Skye in this post but I'd better do a separate post for that cause we have loads of pics from there too!!!

Until next post... 

Scotland - Road trip (part 2: Inveraray to Glen Orchy)

From Loch Eck, we drove to Oban with a stopover at Inveraray... Just as you think you have seen the prettiest places, there are more!

Inveraray is the traditional county town of Argyll and ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, who founded the town in 1745, alongside the Inveraray Castle. Much of the town were built between 1772 and 1800.

I actually saw a documentary about the Castle and I knew I had to visit it. Not because it was on Downton Abbey, it's more because of the way the whole Estate is being run.

The Duke of Argyll himself wasn't on duty but we saw the Duchess hanging out with their children on their pushies in the "front yard". We exchanged some hellos and as we drove out, she waved again! 

Cute town right?

Next stop Oban... a friendly town with a couple of cute crafty yarny shops. Also a great base to visit the surrounding islands.

We stayed at the Barriemore Guest House on Corran Esplanade (pictured below). It is only 10 minutes walk into the town centre so we didn't drive our car while we stayed there. It's a Victorian building with lots of period features. Friendly and helpful staff with excellent wifi as well. 

From Oban, we went to Fort William, via Dalmally... and we were so glad we took this detour!

I read about HeartFelt by Liz when I was researching for this trip and marked it down as a place to visit. Then the day before we left Oban, I realised that the studio wasn't to be open on the day we would be in the area... We decided to go anyway since we had plenty of time and might as well check out the local smoked salmon place along the way.

So we set off from Oban to Inverawe smoke house first and what a lovely place. The Inverawe Visitor Centre has a great museum of the smoking processes, excellent display of the family history and picturesque walking trails. We only did a short one as it was raining but I can see how lovely it would be on a fine day!

Then we went to Dalmally. Heartfelt by Liz is located at the Dalmally Station. I didn't really know what to expect cause I couldn't get my head around a shop/ studio sitting right on top of a railway station but the whole thing just intrigued me. We drove into the car park, it was raining hard, we sat there, looking out. Then the rain eased a few minutes later and we saw a lady tending to her gardens. I whispered to Terry saying that must be Liz! We got out of the car and she said hello! I thought YES! that's my opening.... we said hello, big smiles and started explaining that we read that the studio was closed but thought we would drive by anyway. Liz was so friendly, offered to show us around and didn't mind opening her doors to us!

We learned all about the railway station, the amazing restoration work her partner Graham and her are doing. All just so inspiring!

We also met Angus, the dutiful shop dog & station guard. He is just so adorable...we bonded straight away!

Liz & Graham talked to us about natural dyeing, acid dyeing, felting techniques, wooly events, sheep breeds, Scottish weather, midgeys, sustainable living, pets and lots and lots of things. Liz are so encouraging of my crafts and I think she was rather taken with Bertie :) cause she wouldn't let him leave without a fitting a pound coin in his pouch!

Anyway two hours or so later, we left, with one skein of Liz' own hand dyed yarn, a list of books to get :) and lots of crafty ideas and inspirations. As we were leaving, they directed us to go to Fort William via Glen Orchy - see how beautiful!!

We will cover Fort William and Isle of Skye in the next post...