Thursday, December 23, 2010

Loch Lomond & Stirling: Christmas Eve (Eve)

We left Glasgow early in the morning with hopes of visiting some Lochs and forests before we headed to Stirling, and instead...we wrecked our (rental) car!

Quickly recounted, the streets were incredibly icy in Glagow that morning, and our GPS led us to a very steep street that was completely iced over. Although we were driving slow, control was still lost, and our car started to skid down towards an intersection. Matt tried to drive into the curb to avoid hitting moving cars and to simply stop the car from its descent, but we unfortunately hit a parked car and dented a iron gate near the sidewalk.

Fortunately, we were unharmed, and the rental car was just slightly damaged in front. Matt called the rental car company to report the accident, and a few Scottish folks came out of their homes to check on us and even offer us tea! They were very friendly and made the incident easier to handle on our part. We stopped briefly at the rental car agency to trade in the car for an undamaged on, and then, we were finally off to Loch Lomond.

We followed our trusty GPS to Trossachs National Park on the banks of Loch Lomond and spent a couple of hours that morning wandering the environs.

We actually caught a few families spending the morning sledding in the fresh snow.

It was splendid to watch, and would we have felt more bold, we probably would have asked to borrow one of their sleds for one ride down the snowy hill.

I was seriously jealous of this boy who found so much joy in such a simple, fun-filled winter activity.

We then walked down to the banks of the Loch where Matt grabbed the camera and got creative.

These are photos I see now and almost can't believe I was actually in this beautiful spot. It's overwhelming to think about now.

Climbing back up the hill from Loch Lomond was difficult...for some.

Balloch Castle was also near the Loch and also very photographable.

Matt also thought he was very photographable.

We then drove to Stirling, what we thought we be a quaint, small Scottish town perfect to spend Christmas Eve and morning in.

We were unbelievably right.

The streets were lined with Victorian-era homes decorated with simple wreaths and advent candles for Christmas. It was lovely and perfect.

The town center was also heart-warming and charming.

The one problem we had with traveling in Scotland during Christmas was the small amount of daylight available. Every afternoon by about three o'clock, it would start to get dark, and by four or four-thirty, it was completely dark. This meant that our site-seeing was very restricted, but we managed. And frequently laughed at the fact that the sun never really fully rised much over the horizon. It was quite the experience.

Because it was getting "late" that first day in Stirling, we just barely had enough time to see Stirling Castle.

It was unfortunately being renovated, so we were unable to see most of the inside of the castle, but we had a wonderful tour guide who took us through the grounds. And because it was fairly dark by the time we started touring the castle, taking pictures became mostly impossible.

I did, however, catch this scene before we went into the castle grounds. That's Wallace Monument in the background, which was our first site to see the next morning, Christmas Eve.

Come back tomorrow for more of Stirling and a photographic journey through Dunblane Cathedral where we attended a watchnight service on Christmas Eve.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Nama! Looking at these hurts my heart a little bit they are so beautiful! Loch Lomond is without a doubt one of my favorite places on the planet and these pictures are fantastic! Well done and Merry Christmas!