Daily total: 322 miles
We woke this morning to clear blue skies, the first fully cloudless day of the trip and typically the day in which we leave for home. However the hotel staff tried to soften the blow by sticking us in the conservatory for breakfast so we could watch the sun rise above the mountains of Glencoe and over the loch. Eventually we were ready for setting off – was very surprised to have to scrape ice off the car’s windscreen though. Winter nights come early to these mountains! The journey south down the A82 through Glencoe and skirting Glen Etive was little short of spectacular. Despite our early start many of the car parks were already busy with walkers and ‘Munro baggers’ keen to make the most of the sunny day. I couldn’t resist stopping the car near Buachaille Etive Mór, the gateway mountain to Glen Etive, for a quick snap. If you’re a landscape photographer you’ll already have seen pictures of this by every other photographer out there, so I had to grab one myself. Mine was a bit rushed so I didn’t get the ideal viewpoint (plus the weather probably needs to be a bit more gnarly) but driving a little further on I am sure I did spot the place where all the other photographers stop. Next time…
We hammered on down past Loch Lomond and like we did in June, we stopped for refreshments after a couple of hours at Balloch. It’s very touristy, but the parking is free, they make a good latte and it’s the right distance from the hotel for a break.
Crossing Glasgow is always an experience after you’ve spent any time in the Isles. At any point on the M8 I can see more cars than I have passed in the previous 4 days. I can understand how people who spend longer away can suffer culture shock. From there it was a straight if long run to our late lunch stop at Tebay services on the M6. Again it’s familiar, but it’s the right distance from our tea break and of course just a couple hours from home.