Scotland swept me off my feet like a prince does a princess. The medieval castles, deep lochs, mystical highlands—it’s everything a road trip should be. My family and I took a tour around Loch Lomond, to the Trossachs, and it was the beginning of a weeklong Scottish love affair.
We visited Linlithglow Palace, the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in the morning. It’s not your Stirling Castle or Eilean Donan, but with the rising sun, dewey grass, and still waters, it felt like the gods were playing with watercolor.
Along the highway we stopped by the Kelpies and Helix, two giant horse heads that represented the shape-shifting creatures people believed lived in Scottish lochs. At night the Kelpies light up, an Olympic-sized monument looking to impress.
Scotland has a lot of castles, and one of the largest and most important ones is Stirling Castle. The castle saw the crownings of many kings and queens, including Mary, Queen of Scots, and withstood eight sieges.
From afar, you can see the Wallace Monument, a tower dedicated to Scottish knight and hero Sir William Wallace. Wallace fought during the Wars of Scottish Independence but was eventually captured by the English and killed.
Our little car continued on, past the burnt orange autumn leaves. As we arrived at our next stop, our tour guide told us that Trossachs are called the miniature Highlands because they look exactly alike, only the Trossachs are smaller. We stepped out at Loch Lubnaig, where I felt like a human cutout plastered on oil canvas.
Soon, we reached the Falls of Dochart. The river’s name means “Scourer of Evil,” suggesting a pure and cleansing force. Rainfall had been surprisingly low so we were able to climb on the rocks.
My favorite stop of the day was Kilchurn Castle, which looked like a scene out of Disney’s Brave.
Our tour guide had stopped on the side of the road and initially we didn’t understand what he wanted us to see. He led us through some thick shrubbery, emerging onto a path where we walked under a bridge and past a gate, to a trail where an abandoned fortress stood in the distance.
As the day came to a close, we stopped by Inveraray, a small town on the west coast, and walked to Inveraray Castle, the home of the Chief of the Campbell clan (long lines of families with their own coat of arms and tartan patterns). I recently Googled the Castle and during winter it literally looks like the castle from Beauty and the Beast.
For our final stop, we sat down at the Rest and Be Thankful pass, located on the highest point on the A83. It’s said that the people who used to make it to that spot would be thankful for still being alive. I was thankful for the long day we had and the amount of ground we covered, and the adventures that lay ahead.