Driver Diary Part Five – Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands

What a day.  Not a cloud in the sky and already warming up nicely.  Back in the day, this might have meant a hot and sweaty day at the wheel; but my coach is a haven of air-conditioned luxury and I absolutely love driving these roads in weather like this.

No matter how often I see them, some of the views simply take my breath away.

It’s an early start today as we’re off to Inverness and we’ve got a full house.  All from the same party so it’s a bit like a private tour which is brilliant. Everyone is up for a bit of fun.

I decide to kick off with a quiz.  This group are all University lecturers so I decide to test their knowledge.  As it turns out, it’s pretty impressive but I reckon I’ve still got a few things up my sleeve for later.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Loch Lomond looking more stunning.  The sun is shimmering on the mirror like water of the southern end of the Loch and we make an unscheduled but necessary photo stop at Luss.

There are occasional oohs and aahs from the guests as we head up past Loch Lomond.  It’s like being on a game show and the crowd watching the prizes being wheeled out!

But they ain’t seen nothing yet.  I know what’s coming and even I’m excited to see what reaction we get to Glen Coe.  Unsurprisingly, my guests are stunned into silence, apart from the occasional gasp as we go deeper into this incredible landscape.

Spean Bridge is looking at it’s best today and it’s great to see my guests eating al fresco for the first time this year.  It’s around 20C – comfortable even for those used to the tropical heat of London.

I manage to squeeze everyone on the Jacobite cruise on Loch Ness.  It’s pretty busy with t-shirted tourists keen to soak up the vitamin D and do some Nessie spotting.  One of my guests even produces a photo of Nessie (or ‘big stick’ as I like to call it).  Manage to spot some fishermen hauling in what looks like a pretty large Pike.  Impressive.

There’s also time for a quick tour of Urquhart Castle – a highlight for our history buffs and my chance to quiz them on some of the lesser known ‘facts’.  I’m struggling to stump these guys so give up on history and try a music quiz.  I win and suggest more studying time on bagpipe music.

It’s so clear today we can clearly make out the funicular railway heading up the Cairngorms.  Normally carrying skiers, in the summer, and today especially, it’s carrying those keen to take in the stunning views from the top which is over 4000ft straight up.

I love the run into Glasgow from here.  Our stop in Perthshire for refreshments sets us up nicely for a glance at the world famous Wallace Monument (think Braveheart) and imposing Stirling Castle before finally arriving in Glasgow bang in schedule and in plenty of time to enjoy the evening sunshine.

Much as I’d like to join my crowd of happy customers, it’s off to the depot for me and an early night.  The Isle of Skye beckons in the morning.  I’m hoping the weather holds…

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