On our last full day in Scotland, we woke up early and decided to get up and make the very most of our day. Our plan was a quick pre-breakfast walk down the lane to get a closer look at the beautiful gothic church of St. Mary and St. Finnan, but when we ran into a friendly local on his morning walk, our little jaunt to the church turned into a long and leisurely stroll with a new friend.
When we got to the church, the hubby stayed down by the road while I scrambled up the hill to get a better look. As I was nosing around, I happened to look down and see him talking with some man. Immediately my mind started racing: was I not supposed to be up there? Was he being scolded? What happened to Scottish hospitality? Geez! I continued spying from above, and when the gentleman didn’t leave, I started back down to see what was going on.
All of my suspicions were wrong, of course. The would-be enforcer of staying away from old churches was actually just a nice guy stopping to chat. And when we told him we were taking in the sights before leaving the area, he insisted we join him on his morning walk. Exchanging mutually hesitant looks–I mean, if we were at home and a guy in a track suit and gold chain told us to take a walk with him, we’d be stupid to say yes–we both seemed to land on the conclusion that although he may be some kind of Scottish mobster, there was no polite way to decline and we might as well enjoy a nice walk in the woods before swimming with the fishes.
On the way to the trail, we passed by the Glenfinnan Monument, a reminder that the Bonnie Prince raised his standard here in August of 1745. The monument was erected in 1815 to honor those clansmen who fought and died for the Stuart cause.
Past the monument, we set off on a trail that would take us through the wooded hills surrounding the head of Loch Shiel. Joey–probably not our friend’s actual name, but it fits our inappropriately Italian mob image of him–was the nicest guy, and he happily chatted with us as we traversed the trail. In spite of our reminders that we had to get back, he kept urging us further in hopes that we would have stag-sighting before we had to leave Glenfinnan.
Unfortunately, we did not see any stags, but we did get the most perfect postcard view of the Glenfinnan House from the other side of the loch.
The end of our walk came too soon. We would have loved to have kept exploring, but breakfast and check-out time were not going to wait all day. On the way back, we came across the tiny Glenfinnan Cemetery.
And then back to the hotel and the sad reality of having to pack up and leave. And even worse, the knowledge that our last day in Scotland had officially started: only 24 hours to go.
Tips and Lessons Learned:
- If you are ever in Glenfinnan, definitely make a point of getting out to soak in the fresh air and beautiful views. And be sure to bring your camera!
- We were content to see the Glenfinnan Monument from a distance, but if you make it during opening hours, you can get more information and even head up to the top for views over Loch Shiel. The National Trust site has details on opening times and prices.
A Drive through Glencoe