By in Personal

Road trip yesterday

Me and the other half went on a road trip yesterday. We had planned to go to Loch Lomand and just spend a few hours there, but the weather was terrible and we were not inclined to spend hours walking about in the rain. Although we did spend enough time there to make friends with some ducks and then be attacked by some other ducks because they thought we had food that we were not giving them.

Depending on which part of the Loch you want to visit (there are several different visitor attractions dotted about the place), Loch Lomand is only around an hour away from Glasgow. It took us nearer two hours though because we had to travel to the other side of the city first as I had to go to my work's main office to pick up my fancy ID badge that I need for working in the new hospital. While I was there they decided to take me down to the call centre and show me how all that works (I have no idea why, its not part of my job or anything) and book me in for some shifts next week.

The first stop off on our journey was Luss, which is where one of the main visitor centres is. Going to the visitor centre (and therefore car park, which is what we were really looking for) involves going down a small road just off the main road, but what I didn't know was that you then immediately have to turn left into the car park. I missed the turn and had to drive a few miles down the small country road to get back onto the main road to come back to the turn for the car park.

Anyone who has driven in some of the more rural parts of Scotland will understand why I had to do this. You cant make a U-turn on these types of roads and there are rarely any other turns you could take that would bring you back to where you need to be. These types of roads would probably terrify most drivers who like me have only been driving for a little over six months, but I am right at home on these types of road since I am originally from the middle of nowhere myself.

We got back to the car park, made friends with a duck, and grabbed a coffee (which was horrible by the way, one of the things I love most about the city is that you are never more than ten minutes away from a decent cup of coffee). We decided to sit in the car and drink our coffee since it was pouring with rain, then we took a walk along the shore for maybe ten minutes before heading back to the car where more ducks had gathered. The other half stupidly fed them a roll and all of a sudden we were being attacked by ducks and seagulls! Now with where we are from you think he would know better than to feed birds of any kind because seagulls are never far off, but he clearly thought this was a great idea.

We got away from the various birds and got in the car and sat for a while trying to figure out what to do next. It wasn't exactly the weather for taking on any of the many outdoor activities available around Loch Lomand, and neither of us fancied getting soaked. So I suggested that we just drove further down the road towards Arrochar which is a small village surrounded by mountains. Its sort of like a homecoming for me since I am from Argyll originally and used to travel through Arrochar often.

The mountains were all covered in snow, which seemed a bit strange for April. Especially since last week we had the hottest day of the year. But it made for a beautiful site. Unfortunately it was too dark and misty to get any decent photographs.

On the way into Arrochar there was the worst roadworks ever. Again something I am reasonably used to given that I am from the countryside, but these were taking the micky. Because there is only one road in, they cant put up a diversion so they have to use a convoy system to get the cars through. They have to stop the traffic in both directions to let the guys in with their trucks and machines and if they are going to be doing anything that involves working on both sides of the road. We were stopped at the red light for almost half an hour before the convoy vehicle arrived to escort us through!

Thinking I was not going to wait in that again on the way back, I decided to dramatically extend our road trip. Instead of going back the way we came we would instead drive over the Rest and be Thankful (its a big mountain by the way), stop at the top to eat our sandwiches then drive down the other side, round to Dunnon then over on the ferry to Gourock before driving back through Greenock and Port Glasgow onto the M8 to get home. Our only hope was that the Rest would be open, that road closes often due to rain and/or snow which either makes driving conditions impossible or causes rock slides making the road unsafe. Given that I drive a small 1.2 litre Renault Clio I would not make it up the Rest if the driving conditions were bad, you need a 4x4 vehicle for that road really.

Thankfully the Rest was open and we enjoyed our picnic at the top, although we chose to eat in the car rather than get soggy sandwiches. I was very proud of my wee car making it up the mountain. I hadn't let on to the other half that I knew we might not make it and be forced to try and turn round to get back down.

We then drove down and took the turn off for Dunnon. Anyone who has ever been there knows that these are some of the scariest roads in the country. Not necessarily because they are dangerous roads (which they are) but because the people who drive them regularly don't tolerate people driving slowly and tend to do silly things like overtake on blind corners. Its a beautiful part of the country though, with the forest on one side and the loch on the other, had the weather been a bit better it would have made for some lovely photos.

We drove past where my gran used to live in one of the tiny villages outside of Dunnon then on to Hunters Quay where you get the ferry to Gourock. We waited a short time before boarding the ferry and getting back on the road home. I wouldn't normally go on the M8, its a horrible motorway but the road towards Ayrshire was closed due to an accident so it was the M8 or nothing really. Thankfully rush hour was over by this time and the drive home wasn't too bad.

I tried to make a graphic showing our route but graphics aren't my thing so I failed miserably. I think we will make a similar trip once the weather improves and I will be able to take some photos along the way. Or the other half will I guess, I will be driving.

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MegL wrote on April 30, 2015, 9:11 AM

Some scary roads over there but some beautiful scenery too.

iwrite28 wrote on April 30, 2015, 10:19 AM

I hope to visit Scotland someday...

JohnRoberts wrote on April 30, 2015, 10:39 AM

I have been to Loch Lomand on a tour I took out of Edinburgh where I was staying.

melody23 wrote on April 30, 2015, 11:48 AM

Some of the roads in Argyll are terrifying. Its mostly because they involve going up, down and around mountains and are often poorly lit at night.

There is also some of the most beautiful scenery and plenty of parking/picnic areas dotted about along the way for people to stop and enjoy it, unfortunately yesterday wasn't the day for making too many stops with the weather.

melody23 wrote on April 30, 2015, 11:50 AM

It's a beautiful area for sure, the weather just wasn't on our side yesterday unfortunately but it was still nice to get away for the day. Although I love living in the city, I do miss the calm of the rural countryside occasionally.

melody23 wrote on April 30, 2015, 11:51 AM

It's a beautiful country, especially where we were yesterday. Its hard to believe that you are only an hour away from the city.