A Week in Scotland: Loch Lomond & Loch Fyne

If you follow me on my Instagram, you might have seen that last month I went on my first holiday in a long time. We stayed in a lodge at Cameron House on Loch Lomond, Scotland (which made the news at the end of 2017 for a bad fire in the main house, which is still being rebuilt).

DSC01569

I can’t tell you how ready I was to spend some real time outside, surrounded by beautiful scenery. Having spent 3 years living in a city centre, I was definitely in the mood for some fresh, fresh air. And for that, where better to go than Scotland?

DSC01647

If you know me, you know that I have a particular love for trees, which made the scenes around Cameron House perfect for warming my heart. There’s just something about trees, and forests in particular, which have such magic imbibed into them. Why else would so much European folklore take place in forests? So, of course, my camera came everywhere.

DSC01722DSC01770

Early on in the week, we went on the Loch Lomond ferry tour – an hour long trip around the lake, to admire its beauty from all angles. The weather happened to be really moody when we went, but stayed just clear enough that we had some really spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding hills – and I think I was just about able to capture some of it on camera. If you visit the loch, I’d recommend the ferry trip any day.

DSC01837DSC01892.jpg

The next place I’d recommend? Loch Fyne. You might have heard of the restaurant chain – well, this is where it originates. We were fortunate enough to have an absolutely gorgeous day when we visited; the entire lake was crystal clear and, well, the photos speak for themselves. Quaint little boats, lots of seaweed as it’s a salt water lake, and absolutely stunning hills to boot.

DSC02185DSC02188DSC02200DSC02201

In fact, the photos from this particular day have been keeping my Instagram going for a while. Each angle had something different to offer, and it was truly spectacular to have it all right in front of you. Behind us was the town of Inveraray, site of Inveraray Castle and Inverarary Jail. The castle has a history dating back to the 1400s, though the building itself is more recent, and has some beautifully maintained grounds. The jail, which housed adults and children alike, allows visitors to walk into the old cells, while the audio guide explains what barbaric punishments and terrible conditions prisoners had to endure when it was in use – it has been closed since 1889. It may sound bleak, but if you’re a history geek like I am, it’s definitely worth a visit.

DSC02213DSC02223

The third and final place I’ll mention in this post is The Hill House. No, not related to the book, the films or the Netflix series about a haunted house. This is simply… a house on a hill. Except, it’s a bit more intriguing than that: the National Trust have taken care of this house because, built in the Victorian Era, it was created with an extremely out-of-the-norm art-deco style. Unfortunately, the man who had the house built didn’t quite take into account the amount of rain the house would have to endure, and so it’s always had a perennial damp problem. The solution? A really, really big box.

DSC02101DSC02079

Under the great metal cage lies the house, turrets and pebble-dash and all, and the strange opportunity to walk not only through the house, but over it as well. The outside seemed to me to be rather unassuming, but the inside was unexpectedly light and airy, though unfortunately I didn’t take many photos so I can’t show you here. Take my word for it – it is like one ginormous art piece; from the walls to the doors to the furniture, everything is carefully selected and feels oddly ahead of its time. Me being me, of course, I managed to whack my head on one of the metal wall lights while admiring the piano. Tall and clumsy, anyone? No? Just me? Cool.

So, that pretty much concludes this long-overdue blog post. We weren’t too concerned with rushing here, there and everywhere on this holiday, so we had a couple of quiet days as well. I even got into a swimming pool for the first time in years – though in order for that to happen we did dedicate an entire day to finding me a bikini… But it isn’t the time or place for that story! Either way, I’ll always maintain the relief from finding yourself some quiet time outside, surrounded by nature, is never to be underestimated.

Where was the last place you went on holiday?

DSC02230DSC02237

Summer Envy

If I had the chance, I’d definitely live somewhere with more sun. Living in England has its perks – London, the history, the scenery – but as someone who constantly craves Vitamin D, it’s not the best. I’m not sure for how long I’d live somewhere else… I’ve always thought about living in New York for a time (not that I think that’s any sunnier than here, it’s just an amazing city I’d love to experience), but not indefinitely.

It’s days like these (23 degrees plus) that I love. The feeling of not shivering is very freeing. If I could spend all my days dressing in shorts and t-shirts, strappy (tank, if you’re anything other than English) tops and skirts, and little dresses, I definitely would. Although, having said that, I do appreciate a comfy jeans-and-jumper day. But not as much.

I get the feeling I’m just eternally pale, though. A couple of years ago I spent a month straight in Florida – the sunshine state – and got no darker. #Bonewhiteforever.

When people upload pictures online of their eternally-sunny country, I sit there and envy them. Faced with the prospect of a cloudy day in England 99% of the time, when there eventually is a sunny day, it makes even getting out of bed 100% easier.

It was amusing when me and my friends were deciding on where to go for our post-exams week away, and one of them suggested somewhere slightly north of us. I objected profusely. I am not going somewhere cold as soon as summer hits.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I’ll never visit colder places – Iceland was one of the best trips of my life. I’d love to go back there, especially when it’s a little colder actually, because there wasn’t all that much snow in October. The pictures of Iceland when it’s January/February sort of time are stunning, just because of the complete blanketing of snow and ice.

Back on the summer envy though, the colours are so much nicer when it’s sunny. Anyone else noticed that? Compare two different pictures of the exact same place, one from a cloudy day and one from a sunny day, and the sunny day picture just looks infinitely… happier, I guess. There are very few exceptions to that general rule, and I think that’s only because some places in England are just so eternally damp that to see them dry counts as plain weird. But even university prospectuses make use of this little trick – they all only use pictures of the university buildings at their best and brightest on a sunny day, to make it look more appealing. The grass looks greener, the rooms lighter… the list goes on.

When I eventually move out of my home (after uni), I’d love to go somewhere where, even if I’m still in England, the rooms are brighter and more open. I think open plan is really nice, though my mum’s not such a fan, just because it lets the light travel unobstructed through the place. Walls just make a place dark.

But yeah. That’s this weekend’s thought, anyway. Well, that and the idea that in three or four years’ time, it’ll be my first summer where I won’t be facing the prospect of exams, and so won’t have to spend all day on nice days stuck inside just so I can see my laptop screen. That time will come eventually, I’m sure. *harumph*

e9957-katy2bx