Saturday, July 29, 2017

British Isles #23: The Great Glen to Glencoe

The large and deep fault line carves itself across the Scottish Highlands, from Inverness on the east to Fort William in the west. They call this The Great Glen and in the valleys lie many lakes including the infamous Loch Ness, as well as Loch Lochy and Loch Linnhe. Mountains rise above both sides. Needless to say, this is a stunning landscape and scenic drive. The A82 stretches from Inverness to Fort William, following the glen as you drive along nearly each lake. 

About a half hour from Fort William sits this architectural wonder: the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Atop of these arches, travels the West Highland Railway (or perhaps you've seen it carrying the Hogwarts Express). This is an easy site to get to with parking just off the A830 and short walk through a bit of woods and along a stream (or a "burn" in Scots).  It is massive, impressive and built over 100 years ago (1897). Definitely worth a stop if you are in the vicinity. You can travel the West Highland Railway which surely journeys through some spectacular scenery. Perhaps one day I'll venture back and hop aboard. (FYI Highly recommend Clan Macduff Hotel in Ft. William, situated across the loch - splurge for a loch view balcony).

From Fort William we continued southwest on the A82 through Glencoe and past several evocative Mountains including Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Britain. It was moody and overcast, with intermittent rain and fog along this most scenic of drives but it didn't spoil the scenery. Being in a rainy mountainous area, there were waterfalls aplenty - some very near the road or a short hill walk away, dozens of white water ribbons adorned the mountainsides. Quite breathtaking, sublime and humbling. Don't miss Glencoe if you are Scotland. 

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