Our Scotland Adventure Part I // Loch Lomond & Isle Of Mull

I've been meaning to incorporate a little more of our personal lives into our posts; we get to share in some of your most important moments in life, so it's only fair that we should share back! So, without further adieu, here's a little glimpse into what we like to call our greatest trip yet!

DISCLAIMER: I have too much to say, and too many pictures, so it'll be a series. Haha. Some of my cell phone snapshots will scatter throughout the post as well.  If you click on the smaller images, they'll open up larger so you can see them.

This very same time last year, Matt & I were flying home from our vacation of a lifetime. We spent 17 days in Scotland together, touring the highlands, the isles, and a few other places in between. It was a trip we’ll always remember and it was special for a few reasons: 

  1. Three days before our trip, we found out we were pregnant. 
  2. Also, coincidentally my 30th birthday. 
  3. We were meeting clients there for an engagement shoot (such a random thing, as they are also from around here, but attending school and working in Scotland). We already had our tickets booked when they hired us for their wedding, so we mentioned we were headed their way and that a meetup for engagement shots would be amazing!! KISMET. :)
  4. We booked a photographer to take us hiking to some remote spots at sunrise & sunset for two days!
  5. We both hated our honeymoon; Sitting on the beach - bored - is just not our thing, so this was our “do-over", and our first trip together outside Canada in 7 years (likely our last trip together for at least a few years, as well... haha). We still love you, Soren.

We decided to keep the pregnancy quiet and only tell our family, so we left feeling like we had a little secret from the rest of the world, which we got to celebrate on this trip! Well... I didn’t exactly get to “celebrate”, as morning (all day) sickness hit after our first week, and it was difficult to keep my cookies down as Matt drove the bumpy, very narrow, very winding roads of Scotland. There were a few “please pull over now” moments along the way.

We collaborated with a company called “Absolute Escapes” from Edinburgh, who worked with us to create the perfect itinerary for photographers like us. They rented our car, set us up in our B&B’s, and mailed us a giant travel package explaining which routes to take, which restaurants we should visit, sights along the way, as well as tips on Scotland’s customs and traditions (so we didn’t look like idiots on the road, or in pubs). Also included were books on each area we visited. I would HIGHLY reccommend calling Andy Gabe from Absolute Escapes. He was so incredibly helpful and we had the BEST B&B’s ever. Seriously, look them up for your trip if you’re headed to Scotland. You will not be disappointed. 

When we arrived in Glasgow, our first stop was to get the rental car. Let me tell you now, that after traveling for 24+ hrs with little sleep, hopping into a manual transmission vehicle, where you’re on the opposite side you’re used to, then getting onto a road in the middle of a city where the traffic is going the opposite way messes with your brain. I was pretty sure our trip was going to end right there. Haha! 

We decided to get out of the city as fast as we could to find some more “country” roads to learn on, then headed straight for our destination: Loch Lomond. We made it... but with no cash. Apparently in Scotland's parks, you need to PAY to use the toilet. Yep, you read that correctly. I ended up approaching a man and his family in the parking lot - pregnant and in desperate need of a washroom - and he laughed before giving me some change. Later on, I was able to track him down to pay him back, like a good Canadian. ;) 

Click on the images below to see them larger.

Matt and I had a walk around Loch Lomond, found some of the sweetest old houses, and a stunning old church. We headed back to the car for a snooze before shipping off to our B&B for the evening, "The Corries". It was tucked up on a forested hill, with the most zig-zagging road I’d ever seen. Wide enough for our tiny car, but that’s it (as we soon learned was the norm here in Scotland, as well)! Brody, our host for the night, pointed us toward a pub at the bottom of the hill for dinner. We grabbed an umbrella and set off on foot. I don’t remember what we ate, but I do remember sitting, exhaustedly, in ginormous leather chairs, and almost falling asleep. This was prior to the uphill hike back to the house... The next day we said goodbye to our hosts and headed off toward one of our favourite places on the planet: Tobermory, on the Isle of Mull.

One of the houses near Loch Lomond. (Like a fairy tale!)

One of the houses near Loch Lomond. (Like a fairy tale!)

The drive was STUNNING, in a word. We took the scenic route from Loch Lomond to Oban to catch the ferry, stopping at the “Rest and be Thankful” Viewpoint along the way. It was very easy to grab a seat on the bench there and look out into the vast valley and feel thankful. Wow, what a view. We pulled over many times on our route... haha... anyone who’s ever taken a trip with us knows that’s our MO. We see pretty, and we pull over.

Rest & Be Thankful Viewpoint

Rest & Be Thankful Viewpoint

Another view of Rest & Be Thankful

Another view of Rest & Be Thankful

A stunning view from the roadside.

A stunning view from the roadside.

We arrived at Oban, and took the ferry over to the Isle of Mull. We stayed at Cuidhe Leathain (pronounced Coo Lane) B&B for 3 days. This B&B was simply incredible. Every surface of each wall was covered in photos or nicknacks from a century ago, the breakfast was a 4 course meal, and the hosts... oh, the hosts were the loveliest elderly couple you could imagine. So many tips about where to go, and what to see. We didn’t want to leave them!  The evenings were spent having tea and biscuits in front of a cozy fire, sitting with the dogs.  

Tobermory in all its glory. Our B&B was up on the hill behind the church. 

Tobermory in all its glory. Our B&B was up on the hill behind the church. 

Click on the images to see them full size.

A little tour of the B&B

Mull is every photographers dream, with Tobermory, a quaint harbour village lined with colourful buildings and fisheries, acting as a most beautiful centrepiece. Aros trail was decorated in moss as it ran along the coast, and its waterfalls poured into the bay. I can’t even tell you how many times Matt and I would just look out the window of the car and tear up. The beauty of this place was just too much! Everything was a short drive away, which allowed us lots of time to explore and allowed us to make it all the way around the island twice, using the last day to hit up our most favourite places once again. 

Matt was having the time of his life driving on this island. In the Scottish Highlands, they don’t have two lanes of driving. They have one, and every km or two they have what’s called a “passing place”, which looks like the road bulges out a little on either the left or right. When you see traffic coming, if you’re the closest to a passing place, you pull over into it, allowing the oncoming traffic to go past. If you both pass yours, whoever is the closest has to reverse to allow the other person to pass. It’s quite entertaining, and definitely separates the locals from the tourists...haha. I’m proud to say that Matt was an amazing driver out there, and we blended right in with the locals (we think). He swears that he's never had more fun driving anything, anywhere, than our little car on these roads. Enjoy this little snippet:

The Tobermory Distillery, seen as you enter the town.

The Tobermory Distillery, seen as you enter the town.

A view of the roads on Isle of Mull. Simply MAGICAL.

A view of the roads on Isle of Mull. Simply MAGICAL.

These old ships were a photographer's dream. We spotted them on our drive up the island to Tobermory.

These old ships were a photographer's dream. We spotted them on our drive up the island to Tobermory.

We spent our time on this island driving, shooting, and of course, eating. The best rated seafood restaurant in the British Isles was located on Mull, and we were told that there's probably no way we could get a table at "Cafe Fish", as it's booked solid all the time. We popped in at 430pm, and they said "if you can be in and out in one hour, you can have this table right here." So we did! For the record, it was amazing... and hilarious... so many things Matt didn't know HOW to eat, so they had to walk us through the meal. The waitress thought it was great, and had a good chuckle with us (no, I didn't eat any seafood... I had - wait for it -chicken). Its a good thing we ate there that night, because after that morning sickness hit me, I couldn't even handle the smell of my clothes that I had worn to the restaurant!

The next little bit of our time on Mull was capturing the beauty of it. I'll let these photos tell the rest of the story: 

Calgary Bay...and me...showing it to you. Normally it's quite tropical looking and bright blue, but it was blustery & cold the day we came! (Hmm....kinda like another Calgary I know).

Calgary Bay...and me...showing it to you. Normally it's quite tropical looking and bright blue, but it was blustery & cold the day we came! (Hmm....kinda like another Calgary I know).

These guys, known by the locals as "Hairy Coos" were everywhere, freely roaming, and quickly became my favourite thing about Scotland. (Also the sheep...the sheep were like our deer...EVERYWHERE.)

These guys, known by the locals as "Hairy Coos" were everywhere, freely roaming, and quickly became my favourite thing about Scotland. (Also the sheep...the sheep were like our deer...EVERYWHERE.)

Along the West Coast of Mull...the driving gets a little scary with oncoming traffic at this point. 

Along the West Coast of Mull...the driving gets a little scary with oncoming traffic at this point. 

Squeezing two vehicles in here to pass is an adventure on it's own.

Squeezing two vehicles in here to pass is an adventure on it's own.

Click on the images below to see them full size.
A little different view of the Island. This was near the centre of it. We spotted a few red deer here too!

A little different view of the Island. This was near the centre of it. We spotted a few red deer here too!

Aros Trail. I quickly fell in love. There's also a waterfall every km or so that empties into the harbour at Tobermory.

Aros Trail. I quickly fell in love. There's also a waterfall every km or so that empties into the harbour at Tobermory.

There are many more photos to follow! Mull was one of our favourite parts of this trip, and we would go back in a heartbeat, to spend even more time on this island if we have the chance. Thanks for checking out our first few days!

Check back soon for our next leg of the journey! Glen Coe to shoot an engagement session with Kenzie & Kaden, and then....the ever glorious Isle of Skye for our adventures with Nick Hanson, Scotland's Landscape Photographer of the Year!