(Article in English here, articolo in italiano qui)
- S’y rendre
Une des expériences les plus dépaysantes que je voulais faire était d’aller le plus au nord que je pouvais, donc en Écosse pour cette période de ma vie, au moment où je voulais aller au Royaume-Uni afin que le Brexit soit effectivement en vigueur.
Je voulais faire cela juste avant que les portes de ces collines me soient fermées, je ne pouvais pas m’imaginer que ça allait être plus facile de faire ça pendant le Covid. Je n’étais pas allé au Royaume-Uni depuis 19 ans, c’était à l’époque, un voyage de collège à Oxford, Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon, Londres, Cantorbéry et Blackbird Leys, la localité de banlieue d’Oxford où nous logions.
Mes lectures d’enfance m’ont toujours inspiré de m’interesser à l’Ecosse : les aventures de Tintin qui grimpait les collines tourbeuses en direction d’un petit villages qui semblaient être le point le plus éloigné du continent, que j’imaginais être Thurso ou un autre lieu. Et puis, le Club des Cinq, qui décrivait de tels paysages. Il ne s’agit sans doute d’aucun lieu réel décrit par les auteurs, donc toute interprétation réside dans l’imagination de chacun.
2. Le départ de Londres
So in London after visiting the whole city by feet or bike I prepared myself to go the UK’s northern point.
The first researches were made through the Omio app and there was one seat left on a flight to Inverness, which is the farest point to reach by air. This was a British Airways service that was cheap, but somebody was faster than me to book that ticket.
I was in Regents’ Park in London at the time, so next I headed to King’s Cross station nearby, to find an overcrowded station, for as I tried to understand, there was a strike, so I felt like I had so few options left but to book a bus trip to the southern Scotland big city of Glasgow; so I did, I spent the rest of the day in town before heading to the Victoria long haul bus station, which I left upon arrival in London.
So that’s quite around midnight that I left London and Victoria Station by Hyde Park and, let’s say, A 41 through M 1 shortwards after. I liked getting another glimpse of London through the exotic shops along the road before eventually being sleepy.
3. The first glimpses of Scotland
The bus trip wasn’t comfortable, trying to sleep on two seats but it could have been worse: few seats were occupied. So I got awake early in the morning, to find that I’ve never been this far at north, near Newcastle – I could see the North Sea through the curtains, looking somewhat cold but attractive.
The first stop in the morning was Edinburgh, then the airport along the road to Glasgow and then Glasgow where I stopped. From the very first lights in the mornings, I knew I would have been met by heavy rains. I walked a bit around the station, to find the city very square and not so old.
I tried to find all the combinations to go further to the north, but it was difficult without my map to understand how Scotland was made, and the prices where seamingly high. I tried to get some advice from the station and I made my choice to go to Luss by bus.
4. Luss and the shores of Loch Lomond
Luss is a relatively close village to Glasgow around a loch which is the closest to Glasgow and the largest of Scotland: Loch Lomond.
Arriving at Luss I had all the difficulties to cross the road to the village, because this main road A 82 is the only road from Glasgow to the Highlands of Scotland. To find myself in an unknown village of Scotland was a very new feeling to me. The village, on the shore of the lake happens to be known for having hosted a series in the 80s and is famous nationwide for this: it is called Take the High Road.
Feeling soaky I had to warm myself up to a comforting hot chocolate in a café in the village, and to get a shelter from the heavy rains that were announced to be unusual… I rested at the Coach House Coffee Shop, there were a lot of tourists from other countries, I could hear German people in the very table I sat and some French people in the distance, asking myself what they could be doing too in this remote place…
Afterwards and as the rain stopped pouring, and even though my feet were soaked I wanted to go deeper in the countryside – this is what I was here for. So I did catch the closest path into the unknown, tried and climb the Beinh Dubh mount westwards of Luss to search for what I was looking for of Scotland.
I soon began to walk in the middle of a meadow where a herd was nearby, and managed to climb the hill several hundreds of meters above the lake.
I might have been looking for the petty hills of Scotland. There is obviously one in the background… Creaghan Hill. And it’s on the « Old Peat Road ».
I could see the village and the huge loch in the distance. The glimpse of fresh air was enough to be relieved for a while. I don’t think I breathed an air so fresh, windy and moisty ever…
Unfortunately, the too much adventurous trip to an unknown place and ache at the feet made me shorten the trip that I had in mind… But as the saying goes, « it is not about the destination but the journey ». So I got back to village to walk around its charming houses and shore for a while. The regret I could have is not having bought back some Loch Lomond whiskey at the cottage, the favorite if Captain Haddock. The village is home to plenty of ferry route of the loch.
5. A bigger view of Glasgow
And then I took the bus back to Glasgow to stay here for the evening, visiting its streets of Victorian style, its large Buchanan Street, its large Town Hall Square, as well as its comforting river banks.
You could see its industrial heritage, too. I didn’t quite felt the vibe of Glasgow, perhaps because of the cloudy and rainy moment. Or I found the sad side. But I’m interested in New York, and, thinking again, you could find similarities in both.
Afterwards I took another bus from Glasgow to London. I heard here people make fun at the name Blah – Blah – bus… The MegaBus ticket I bought was cheap bus not as comfortable, but that’s another kind of a story…
Next I’ll be making you discover the places of the film with Rob Brydon and Coogan in the north of England.
Feel free to use the map at https://mappingforyou.eu/ukir for your next trip to Scotland. I made it for you to feel you’ve got all you need. It’s free.