Thursday, May 17, 2018
All day travel today. But first – breakfast.
Leontine prepares us a wonderful poached egg breakfast. We can’t linger too long this morning – we have places to be. As we depart Killyleagh I sneak up to the gate and snap a photo of the awesome castle.
The first part of our journey is a drive from Killyleagh to the Stena Line Ferry Terminal in Belfast:
Everything goes swimmingly accordingly to plan. Even when our beloved Nav system shouts out a turn too late and we end up smack in downtown Belfast, Rich expertly maneuvers his way to the ferry port.
The Belfast harbor is a very busy port with lots of big cargo activity coming and going. We are there early and spend our time car and people watching.
Our little black Kia is 4th in line (top left photo).
Finally we board the Super Fast Stena Line Ferry to Scotland. (Interesting that it is called “super fast” because one of the engines was not working properly and we had to wait to depart and then had to shut down again mid-way. This added an hour and a half to the 2.5 hour journey across the Firth of Clyde.)
A tugboat pulled the large ferry out of the harbor
For the journey I splashed out (!) 5gbp each to garner us entrance into the Hygge Reclining lounge – no children allowed. It is a peaceful, dimly lit area for civilized passengers.
We settle in to relax, read and blog. There are only about 6 other passengers in this lounge and everyone is super quiet. That is until one man falls asleep and begins to snore like mad. Rich finally couldn’t take it and left the lounge. I was determined not to let it get to me. But it did. I went to the back and told one of the other passengers that the man was driving me crazy. She ended up going up to the guy and poking him! He left the lounge…Ahhh
The crossing was calm and easy. Now comes the long drive.
We have another ferry to catch tomorrow and we want to already be in the ferry port town. That means we have a 4 hour drive this afternoon from Cairnryan to Oban.
A few photos are snapped along the way, but we don’t make many stops. The road hugs the coastline for the first section and the views are really beautiful.
The drive is long and of course we get close to Glasgow just at rush hour. Traffic is stop and go a bit and then we cut loose. I hadn’t checked the map before this drive and am so happy to realize that we are going directly through the Trossachs National Park and following the (Bonnie, Bonn) banks of Loch Lomond.
When we got to the Loch Lomond area the road turned into a very, very narrow passage and there was literally no place to stop and snap photos. All of the lake area was absolutely stunning (although I don’t think Rich was able to fully appreciate it since he had to have his eyes keen on the road).
The entire second half of the drive was through magnificent scenery. This could be an area to come back and explore.
We finally arrive in Oban and to Raniven Guest House.
After check-in we get out in search of dinner. Oban is a very pretty port town that is a ferry hub for many of the Western Islands. There are lots of folks milling about and many restaurants from which to choose.
To help us with our choice we take a catbird seat at the Oban Inn for a pint.
Dinner will be at the Cuan Mor restaurant just across the street. The place is fully packed, but we manage to get a table.
Dinner is good, but nothing spectacular. Rich has seared scallops that he declares are very tasty and I have a Venison Burger with haggis (got to love the haggis). We are beat from the day’s drive and make it an early night.
Tomorrow will be a long ferry trip (4.5 hours) to the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. We need to rest up…