A Night in a Car – Scottish Highlands!

A Night in a Car - Scottish Highlands!

Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
There comes a day in your life when waiting anymore feels like a waste of time. Euro Trip was just that for me. There came a time when I decided to take the plunge all by myself. Sounds like m talking about getting married or some bigger decision in my life? It was big to me. Introvert by birth, in this trip, I was like a panda trying to learn kungfu. But just like in the movie, I started to enjoy every minute of it.
 
Now that I had decided to fly solo, I decided to put myself in self created experiment by not only travelling alone but also making sure that I am surrounded by more and more strangers – instead of cozy hotels, I decided to crash at hostels sharing room with other travelers and I purposely did not carry any internet or phone with me when I was out on roads.
 
How did it feel? On the first day, it felt like I was a self torture trip but as days passed by, I became more comfortable with choosing my own path, deciding my own routes, and dealing with last minute gate changes at airport, finding my way around the cities while taking directions from strangers, and meeting some great people on the way. All in all, the trip changed my opinion about myself. I, quite literally, surprised myself.
Whatever happens in life, teaches you a great deal. Sometimes, we just give up too soon to the fears of our own minds. This happens when life wants you to learn a very important lesson. This is what I learnt from this adventurous night in Scottish Highlands.
 
Scotland is a beautiful country. Its charisma is magnetic. We were on a family road trip in Scotland in September of 2013.

After watching my sister graduate, we set off on a family road trip on a rented car (from Enterprise, London) and zoomed on our most awaited road trip that time to the Scottish highlands. Right from the moment we entered this picturesque country of Scotland, I felt as if we were driving inside those 3D postcards we saw when we were kids. No matter what my frame was, the pictures came out just perfect.

Dunnotar Castle, Scotland, UK
Scotland, UK
So the real story for this post goes like this, one of our destinations on the road trip was a beautiful little village of Balquhidder in Stirling council area of Scotland. While on road, we made it a point to reach out place of stay before sunset, but when things had to go wrong they go wrong. We used GPS to show us the way, and we used the ZIP Code of our home-stay to pin the locations that day – Strike 1. When we were enjoying the drive from Inverness to Lochness (Balquhidder), the beauty of the route made us lose track of time – Strike 2. Strike 3 or rather 1 was that me or my sister did not read the booking email properly which mentioned that the house was off-road and it was advisable to reach before sunset.

It was pitch dark and we were driving, mostly uphill, in Scottish highlands. When our eyes do not see exact situation, our imagination run wild. And having seen the Himalayan range for hill stations, our imagination was indeed quite wild. We drove for some 4-5 Kms uphill and off-road to reach a construction site which was the pin on our Google maps – remember we used only ZIP Code. Only light around was our car’s headlights and there were dogs barking. As the place was small, it was quite uninhabited, so there was not a single soul to help us for a long time. My mom had already started to doubt our ability to reach the right place. So we decided to go back the same route and stay at any hotel we could find.

Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Scotland, UK

Just when we were losing hope, another car was a godsend. We asked the driver a series of questions, and thankfully he knew the place we were looking for. He did mention that there are no wild animals in the area, but my mom is a hard person to convince. Anyway, he dropped us to a certain point, and told us to just drive straight. However, we saw another two routes ahead, the first one we chose led us to a dark area with a closed gate in front of us – no lights around – and loud sound of water gushing down. Our Himalayan imagination reached unanimous conclusion that there is a large water-body past that gate and we went back to the other route, only to reach a plateau with another blind road.

At this very moment, our mom gave up and declared that we are not driving anywhere till dawn and no one will move out of the car as there could be wild animals. No matter how old you get, when your mother puts her foot down, you cannot question/reason it. We spent good 6-7 hours cramped up in the car all night.

Scotland, UK
Scotland, UK
At sunrise, we could never have asked for a better view (picture above and others below). It could have been nature’s conspiracy to make us witness as first rays of sun touch the highlands and the beautiful Loch Ness (lake). The scene we saw in the morning was worth the night in the car.
Oh did I tell you that our home-stay was right at the foothill of out night halt? Also, the gate we did not open was actually the one which would have led us to our destination. The stream of water we heard was a tiny one and the water-body (the lake) was nowhere near the gate. So all fears which made us turn away were only in our heads and we did not use our logical minds to use torch we had to see ahead of that gate.
It is now an adventurous and hilarious story that we tell everybody.
 
Morals of the story
  1. Always use the closest address you can find on GPS – NO ZIP code only
  2. Read all the documents carefully
  3. Never to lose hope and always, always use torches at night in such situations
  4. Listen to your mom – it is not so much about the story, but about life in general – mom’s are almost always right

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