I have lived in Scotland for almost two years now (with a one year break in Oklahoma) and those of you who know me, know that I haven’t always been too fond of it. However, recently I have started (thanks to my boyfriend) to venture out of Aberdeen and see the stunning side of Scotland that so many people fall in love with. A few months ago I went on my first Scottish hike and climbed my first munro and in May we went on a road trip to the West Coast.
We started from Aberdeen quite late on Friday because I still had an exam that day and drove north-west towards Ullapool. Since wild camping is legal in Scotland, we decided to just stop wherever we got tired and put up our tent. Even though that did not quite work out, seeing as the first place we stopped smelled like a fish factory (and i DO NOT like fish) and had dead crabs all over it, our second attempt at finding a camping spot was a full success and we fell asleep with, and woke up to, this amazing view:
While we weren’t all too smart and put the tent up on a spot with a massive bump in the ground, we still got a good night’s sleep and after a quick PB&J breakfast in the car, we set off for Ullapool to hunt down some coffee.
Before this trip, I had never heard of Ullapool, but it is an adorable little town, and, as I learned that day, the place where most ferries to the Scottish Islands depart. The hunt for coffee before 9am was rather unsuccessful, but after nine we found a charming little coffeeshop and we spent the wait time exploring the streets and boats of Ullapool.
After the coffee break, we headed up north, planning to drive up as far as we could and then hike to Sand Wood Bay, the most remote beach in the Uk. The drive was stunning, and once again we were lucky with the weather and had barely any rain. We stopped at some of the most stunning view points I had ever seen in my life.
After that drive, we set off for the two hour hike to Sandwood bay. The hike turned out to be more of a walk, being rather flat and not too exhausting, even with all our camping gear on our backs. Once we arrived, we set up camp at the perfect flat spot. The only trouble was finding a bit of ground that was not completely covered in rabbit poo. Once again, the weather gods were kind and it only started raining once we were in our tent. It poured down most of the night, but conveniently stopped raining the minute we decided to leave our tent in the morning. Sandwood bay beach is not only the most remote beach in the UK, but I am convinced it is also one of the most beautiful ones, and definitely worth the hike!
Later the next day, after exploring the beach and cliffs (and almost getting stuck on a cliff because of slight confusion about whether the tide was coming in or going out) we hiked back to the car park and once again set off to find coffee. Our stop at the nearby hotel was unsuccessful as far as coffee goes, but the parking lot was filled with insanely pretty old timer cars.
After that short stop, we headed on to Durness, where we finally found some (rather bad) coffee and visited Sango Sands, a beach that has repeatedly been named the most beautiful beach in Scotland.
From there we headed on to the Smoo Cave, which is located just outside Durness and was formerly used as a shipping harbour. We just used it to practice bouncing stones on the flat water surface outside the cave.
Again, we were luckier with the weather than anyone should be on the Scottish west coast and for the first time wished the car had air-conditioning because it was so sunny and warm. From there on, we headed back to the east coast, taking only two more stops, one at Dunrobin castle (which is not a real castle, and not really that old but kind of looks like the Disneyland one) and one in Inverness for some food at Sam’s Indian, which I highly recommend if you have a VERY high spice tolerance!
The entire time on the trip, I was thinking how nice of a motor bike route it would be, too, so if you’re a biker, GET TO THE WEST COAST!
If you’re like me and you only spend time in Aberdeen, you might think that Scotland is overrated, but this trip has definitely shown me that, if anything, the country still doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Scotland, you’re a stunner, and I almost miss you a little now I’m home in Austria for the summer!