On Tuesday morning we had breakfast with Dick & Margaret, admired their garden, packed up and headed out to start our drive towards Scotland. I’m so jealous of all the beautiful flowering trees and bushes they have, but I know that our backyard couldn’t look like theirs because our climate and temperatures are very different. I thought it was nice how so many things from their garden are gifts from others and have a story behind them. The entire rest of the day was pretty much just a driving day. There were lots of fields of yellow flowers along the road called rape seed. They look beautiful, but apparently a lot of people don’t like them because of their allergies, but they sure look lovely! At night we crossed the border into Scotland and stopped to sleep. We arrived around 9pm and had to stop at several campgrounds (one was closed and looked run down, another was only for motor homes, but the third we finally lucked out). Our home for the night was in the town Kirkpatrick-Fleming at a campground called King Robert the Bruce’s Cave Caravan and Campground. Pulling up in the dark, we weren’t sure we would be let in, but luckily a woman answered the office door and warmly welcomed us to the place. It was cold, but we set up our tent, ate our dinner and went to sleep. I was cold the whole night even though I had almost all my clothes layered on me!
Wednesday May 12:
In the morning we organized our stuff in the car finally using the nice drawers that Stani built under our platform in the back of the car. Stani has the right drawer for his stuff as well as tools and a first aid kit and I’m using the left drawer for my clothes as well as the guidebooks and maps. The drawers are nice, but certainly anyone who likes to have numerous changes of clothes would not be happy with the allotted space. My 3 pairs of pants, 1 skirt, 1 dress, fleece, sweater, 3 long sleeve shirts, 2 short sleeve shirts, jean jacket, underwear and 3 scarves all just fit. On top of the platform we have two plastic bins with lids (it’s actually a file folder bin). One is for food and the other is for cooking equipment. So far it seems like a good system. We’re trying not to have too many things on top of the platform so that our car attracts less attention.
After the car was ready, we took a short walk down a path to the campground’s namesake…King Robert the Bruce’s Cave. The story goes that King Robert the Bruce (who was king of Scotland in 1306) hid in this cave for 2-3 months in the winter, hiding from the English. It was here in his solitude that he caught sight of a spider who was trying to build a web on one of the small peep holes from the cave. This spider tried and tried but couldn’t seem to have success with his web, but King Robert the Bruce noticed that the spider didn’t give up. Instead he kept on trying. Finally after many unsuccessful attempts, the spider was able to figure it out and built his web. King Robert the Bruce was so inspired by the spider that after he left the cave, he gathered a small group of Scotsman who then defeated the English army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 helping to retain their independence from England. According to the brochure at our campground, this story is where the saying” If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” comes from.
We then began a picturesque day of driving from Kirkpatrick-Fleming to Glen Coe. The drive was a real treat full of green rolling hills, lochs and winding roads. We stopped for a picnic lunch overlooking Loch Lemond. As the day continued, the views became more and more impressive. Stani said the scenery reminded him of his motorcycle trip through Norway. The area near Glen Coe is a popular place for hikers, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. We of course were just passing through and our time was short, so there wasn’t time to enjoy any of these activities, but it would be a beautiful place to spend more time exploring. We found an great campground in Glencoe Village called Red Squirrel campground. Our site was situated on a grassy area at the bottom of two mountains. We set up camp and celebrated the beginning of our trip with some delicious ice wine that Stani bought in Austria several years ago. A perfect setting for our celebration!