As you may have gathered following yesterday’s not-really-a-post, I’ve come back to Scotland. After leaving Portsmouth the other day I headed straight for Liverpool, where I stayed with my friend Tilly and her boyfriend Luke. Luke says ‘you know what I mean’ at least every other sentence (I am being literal), hence the honorary naming of today’s post!
On the Saturday night I got in quite late, then we settled in with a few bottles of wine. It was all good fun: Tilly and I worked together in 2007 and have been catching up regularly since. We had a lot to talk about! Haha we’d just finished discussing all of the gossip regarding people we used to work with when suddenly Tills puts on this serious face, turns to me, and says “Laura, you’re intelligent..?”
“Uh… what do you need?” I asked. She then explained that they’d dropped the TV remote down the back of the radiator quite some time ago, and couldn’t figure out how to retrieve it. Drunk Laura is always up to the task, so naturally we started dismembering the room.
First I tried levering it out with a flag post, but it was a bit too floppy. It was also a bit skinny, so next we pulled out lots of pairs of socks and strapped them to the end of it, hoping to make a platform for the remote. So that was a good way to get some socks stranded.
I then complained that I actually couldn’t see anything I was doing, so Tilly got out her phone to use as a torch, and rested it on top of the radiator. Needless to say, it dropped down to join its buddy the remote within a few minutes, and we both lost it in a giggling fit which was far too prolonged. We moved the bed away from the radiator and I tried to knock the phone down off the skirting board so she could grab it, and eventually that worked out.
At some point in the middle of this I’d started eyeing off the curtain rods lustfully. So, next thing you know, I’m standing on the window ledge with Tilly holding my ass so I can use both hands to take the curtains down. Until, that is, she forgot what she was doing and walked off. I don’t even know what magic held me there!
Using the two parts of the curtain rod, I was trying to chopsticks the remote out when Luke walked in. To see the curtains sprawled drunkenly down the wall, the bed a dismembered island in the middle of the room, socks everywhere—and Tilly and I laughing ourselves stupid. He departed a short while afterward, not quite sure how to deal with us, I think!
Soon afterward we managed to retrieve the remote—hurrah—and we heard Luke’s voice from the living room, asking Tilly to set me onto all of the other impossible tasks.
I was super disorganised and hadn’t really arranged where or when I was going to in Scotland, especially given that everywhere and everything is booked out at the moment. My initial plan was to go to Glasgow for a night or two, hire a car to drive to Glencoe, then head off to the east/north. That would have been fine were there any accommodation, etc. I believe the teams bagging championships is on at the moment or something. So I spent Sunday still at Tilly and Luke’s place, trying out a million different plans.
Eventually I settled on heading straight to Fort William, bypassing Glasgow (and therefore not seeing my friend Rach :(). Thus, I spent all of yesterday travelling here—we left Tilly’s at 07:20, and I got to my hostel at around 19:00.
Today I made it my mission to find a car to hire. Ever since I was first in Scotland in late 2008 and saw Glencoe Pass, I’ve dreamed of taking a car there and taking some photos. That time, I dropped by Glasgow to see Rach, then caught the bus north to Glen Nevis (next to Fort William), in order to check out the museums about the Jacobites etc. Incidentally or not, on that occasion I ended up accidentally climbing Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. But back to it: the bus north only had to travel around 200 miles, but it took something like 6 hours. And it, was, amazing. It’s a bus I could take just about every day, because the scenery is insane. My mind was absolutely blown: you’d go from these prehistoric landscapes where you expect to see a t-rex lunge out, to these plateaus with thousand-foot jagged mountains thrusting from the ground, to the lushest and most beautiful valleys you could ever imagine. It seemed to me that Scotland was like a land for giants: at some time, thousands of years ago, they’d gotten sleepy of gambolling around the place and had settled down for a nap. Eventually they’d become covered with moss and been renamed munroes—and one day they’ll wake up and roam around once more. It’s all just spectacular.
Anyway, being on the bus on that occasion, I couldn’t exactly jump out to take photos, and I’ve been dreaming of Glencoe Pass ever since. So car hire was mandatory! I hadn’t pre-booked (of course), but strolled on down to the car hire place. They said they were out, but to try next door. Next door were also out, but the guy called the final car hire place in Fort William, and they had exactly one car left. Way more than I wanted to spend (and as I’m sure anyone who ever reads this blog knows, I’m constantly stressed about money !). But how often am I in Scotland? So I took it. It’s a Ford something, and it’s actually a really nice drive—though confusingly it keeps telling me to shift up a gear when it’s only at around 1500 revs. Stoked to have a manual, too.
After the guy from car hire place #2 was kind enough to drop me off to get the car, I promptly returned to the hostel because I needed to google the speed limits. Haha I’d forgotten that I don’t know them here: I remember the first time I drove in the UK I kept getting confused by the ‘national speed limit’ sign. Being that I had no idea what the national speed limit actually was. Ian, a guy who works here at the hostel, gave me immense amounts of shit about it. Well, that and my complete lack of clue as to what I’m actually doing.
Next it was off to Glencoe, via every possible ‘scenic route’ I could find. I’ve taken an intimidating number of photos: in a way, I’m glad the weather’s so bad, or there’d be even more. I’m definitely not going to go through them all tonight. Maybe in a week or so, when I’m in Aberdeen.
I stopped in Kinlochleven, where I somehow forgot to go and see the awesome waterfall, but I did have the best cake I’ve ever eaten in my life from the ‘Wee Charity Shop’. Thence to Glencoe Village, where I had a fairly unsatisfactory lunch at the cafe, before heading to Glencoe Wood.
‘Why Glencoe Wood?’ you may be wondering (or not). Well, about 18 months ago I saw an ad on facebook for this website, whereby you buy a square foot of land in Glencoe Estate for around $50, and thereby become titled aristocracy. I thought it was a hilarious thing to do on a pay day, so went for it. Technically in the UK, my legal name is preceded by ‘Lady’. My legal names just keep multiplying. Anyway, I headed to the wood to go and visit my square foot.
I didn’t have a GPS so only found within around a hundred metres, but had a great time: other people had found their plots and put things there. There were flags (disproportionately Australian), more flags, quite a lot more flags, plaques, signs, a memorial stone in one place, and then my favourite—a fortress. I was SO impressed!:
I was feeling a bit tired but then realised I was completely derptarded if I didn’t head off to Glencoe Pass despite the rain that was quickly settling in. And my goodness am I glad I did. Honestly, it’s so beautiful and overwhelming. I may have gotten a little emotional. I’ve included another 360 panorama below, but I really recommend that people try to make it for themselves. It’s just ridiculous, and my photos certainly don’t do it justice.
I’ve definitely had a million mishaps so far (as is usual), but someone else needs the power-point, so I’ll wrap up for now. I’m off for an extremely soggy hike tomorrow (hello, torrential rain—but there’s also no way I’m wasting the money I spent on car hire in order to get to places!), then spending the next two nights on the Isle of Skye before Edinburgh on Friday.