Loch Ness: Glamping, Exhibition, Food.

5/20/2016

I was going to write a monster post about my week long vacation in Scotland, but figured small snippets from each place would be more efficient for you and for my sanity. So here we have our first stop, Loch Ness! The drive up there from North Wales was fun for me, but likely brutal for my better half who kindly drove. So many things went wrong along the way, but sometimes you just have to look past them and force your company to listen to many, many, many Glee songs and watch as he shakes his head in shame (he loved it really). The views were breathtaking and the long stretch of 108 miles on a single road was.. fun. Especially for those 10 miles that were spent with a limited amount of gas, a desperation to pee and no sign of a station or anything as we were literally in the middle of nowhere. Fuel up and pee at every possible opportunity, kids.


Eventually we got to our destination and arrived at roughly 9:30pm on the Sunday, April 17th.

Where We Stayed: When myself and the boyfriend decided to drive up to Scotland we knew we wanted to visit Loch Ness. It wasn't even a question. And as the one responsible of our accommodation, I began to look for an Inn or something similar that was reasonably priced for the two nights that we'd be there. That is how I stumbled across the Loch Ness Glamping site.

Loch Ness GlampingWhen I say Glamping, you may think of something Only Way Is Essex style and instantly want to mock me. It's okay, I did the same to myself when I first brought up the idea. But it was actually really beautiful and at £58 per night, far cheaper than most things I was finding. I want to add that never in my life have I gone camping. I'd love to but I've never known how I would handle it. I'm not overly fond of nature (grass phobia, it's a thing), and I'm usually freezing in a house that has central heating. See where I'm going with this? I digress. This was a new territory to me, and if anything, it's made me want to actually camp.

We opted to stay in an Armardilla (Number 3, to be precise), and it was perfect. We arrived quite late due to the drive and the owners of the property, Sonia and Graham, were nothing but understanding. Upon arrival, Sonia came out to greet us and after showing us the accommodation suggested that we pay in the morning to save us from having to trek back to the car, which I thought was very kind. I'd like to quickly add that when I was researching our options, they were also incredibly helpful through email and responded quickly. Little things, but admirable. All of which add to the experience of your stay.



In the Armadilla itself, you have your double bed, TV, a mini wet room meaning you could shower in privacy (quite a few Glamping sites offer community showers only), a kettle, toaster, fridge, under bed storage, draws, small closet and outside bins. Even wifi. Everything you could really need. You also have the option of a cooked breakfast delivered right to your door in the morning for an additional £7.50 per person. We chose to do that for our first morning only. It wasn't the best breakfast we've ever had for the price, but you're paying for their incredible hospitality and convenience of having hot food brought to your doorstep. So I think it's fair. A photo of my partner's breakfast is below, as I blanked on taking one of my veggie option. Speaking of, I think it's great that they offer both a vegetarian AND vegan cooked breakfast. Many places wouldn't go to the trouble.




Also at Loch Ness Glamping, you have your own private BBQ/fire pit and outdoor seating area. We wanted to use ours to make smores but wound up going out for dinner instead, which I'll get onto in a moment. Lastly at the site, there are two indoor BBQ houses (pictured below), which you share with the other campers. Inside there is the BBQ itself, a microwave, and seating. A great idea if you're travelling and wish to meet new people. It may be worth mentioning that you buy the coal separately from reception.




Bonus photo: On the second day we were greeted back at the site with a double rainbow. 
All in all, I would highly recommend Loch Ness Glamping. The only slight downfall of the place is the bathroom fan, as odd as that may sound. Placed right next to the main light, it is really easy to accidentally knock both at the same. Which would be fine, except one quick flick of that switch and you will be stuck with the whirling sound of the fan for a good 30 minutes. It was maddening, especially at bed time. But not a deal breaker and likely uncontrollable.

Where We Ate 
Food. Probably the second best thing about a vacation. I'll admit we didn't go crazy in trying new things, but my better half did develop a fondness for Irn Bru and tried Haggis, twice. Nutter. So I have two mini restaurant reviews for you. Exciting stuff, especially as I'm so good at reviewing stuff (sarcasm).

The Loch Ness Inn: On our second day but first proper night in Scotland, we went out for dinner to The Loch Ness Inn. The restaurant offers a free pick-up and drop-off service for anyone staying within 5 miles of the place, which was what we chose to do. Might I just add how much of a nice touch that is, especially if only one person of your party can drive. The food was great, the atmosphere even better, and the service was excellent. All staff were really friendly and happy to engage in conversation with you. They offer a range of Ale options from the local Loch Ness brewery that sits a short walk away from the restaurant itself, which my partner would recommend to you. He had the beef and I had pasta - the range of veggie options isn't spectacular, I think there were two on the menu and one on the specials board, but if you know that going in, it's no biggie.

It was a lovely place for a spontaneous date, and I would definitely recommend it if you're staying in the area. I failed miserably at taking photos of my food during this trip, but my partner did so I'll just keep putting his at the end of these restaurant "reviews".


The Dores Inn: The Dores Inn was a miracle in our eyes. Located in a beautiful spot right near the water (pictured far, far below), it was the perfect spot to round up the Loch Ness part of our trip. The restaurant itself has a warm interior, with comfortable seating. The food was really good. On the menu there were your classic pub dishes as well as options you wouldn't find in most places, a nice mix for the traditional and foodies. Near the bar they offered a range of homemade cake slices, which I had to steer my partner away from. It was.. comfortable. I think that sums it up. You didn't feel rushed or out of place, the scenery was beautiful and I imagine it could be a rather romantic option in the evening.

My partner had the haggis stuffed chicken, which he has now decided was his favourite meal during the trip. I was plain and ordered a Quorn burger, but it was very good and a nice change of pace than a regular vegetable burger, which is what most places offer. Once again, I forgot to take a photo but my cameraman took a snapshot of his.



Things We Did
I wasn't feeling too well after the car journey (thanks Fibro), and although my ever understanding partner didn't mind staying in and simply watching something together, we had to do some touristy things. I mean, we were in Scotland! So be prepared for tourist cheesiness in this section of these blog posts.

Loch Ness Exhibition: The Exhibition is situated just down the road from the Glamping site, so it seemed like a smart choice for our first day. It was enjoyable but in the words of my guy: it's a tourist trap. And bloody expensive for what it as. I think you have to do some cliché touristy things when in certain areas as it all adds to the experience, but would I go again or recommend it to someone/you? Maybe not. It's mostly a lot of sitting and watching a projector as they tell us how Nessie isn't real. You may be better off spending your money elsewhere.


Loch Ness: After checking out of Loch Ness Glamping, we went on the maddening search for the actual water of Loch Ness. It really ought to of been simple, but we were either blind or the roads are lacking in clear directions. Either way, we were driving in circles for an embarrassing amount of time. Every person we had asked prior to the search recommended going to Urquhart Castle to take in the views and for the historical aspect, which was the initial plan. But I still wasn't feeling well, thus making the justification of spending close to £20 to look at something that we ought to be able to do for free just plain silly. Food was our saviour. Unknown to us, The Dores Inn sits right near the water and I would like to thank our driver the previous night for suggesting we eat there.

So after lunch, we wandered out and took in the scenery. I'll let the photos do the talking for this one, as no words can do it justice.






Please excuse my deformed looking hand in the last photo. And that damn strand of hair. I felt and looked like a mess that day. But the views were beautiful and it was the perfect end to our 2 day trip. From there we got in the car and drove down to Edinburgh, which I'll get onto in the next Scotland post.

We didn't do a whole bunch, but we accomplished what we wanted and will hopefully one day return for a more backpacking type trip. Health can just be a bitch. You have to enjoy what little moments you can manage. I'll be eternally grateful for how much patience that man pictured above had with me for the duration of the week. It was his vacation and he never once made me feel bad for unintentionally ruining some of our plans. I'm a very lucky gal, that's for sure. I'd also like to thank him for unknowingly adding to the blog post with his camera skills, all credit goes to him. You can read his movie/TV review blog posts, right here on the SomewhatNerdy site. Just saying.

Hope you're having a lovely day, and thank you for taking the time to read this ramble of a blog post. The second part covering Edinburgh will be up soon.

- Anne x


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