Wednesday, July 23, 2008

July 5, 2008: Edinburgh to Plockton

Cindy and I dragged ourselves out of bed bright and early to board a longish train trip to Plockton via Inverness. We'd snuck Plockton onto our itinerary for a couple of reasons: I was keen to go somewhere a bit wild and remote (but with a train station) in the North West and Cindy has long harboured an unhealthy obsession with Hamish Macbeth, a hugely enjoyable British TV series set in the fictional town of Lochdubh. Of course Lochbubh is actually Plockton (at least a lot of it). So we spent our time soaking up the wonderful scenery, enjoying the delightful village and having flashes of recognition of Hamish Macbeth set locations.

The train trip, particularly the leg from Inverness to Plockton, was spectacular - dramatic coastlines, giant lochs and green as far as the eye could see. I didn't get too many great photos (a lot of the best views were from the opposite windows), but there were a couple of nice ones (with a phantom sleeping Cindy reflection).

Last stop: Plockton.

Plockton is nothing if not picturesque (my way of saying that the rest of this post will be almost nothing but photos). It sits on the shores of Loch Carron, and is dotted with cute houses from the 18th and 19th centuries. We were hoping to stay at the Plockton Hotel but the main section was full, so they gave us a room in the nearby cottage. The best bit: a private back garden that looked out over the cottage and across the Loch.

We spent our first afternoon strolling Plockton, starting with a walk across to an island sitting in the loch. At low tide you can get over there without even getting your feet wet.

We came back to the mainland and set off on a walk around town. Almost the first thing we saw was an old man sitting in a boat. On dry land. Reading a newspaper. Weird.

The rest of our walk was less full of Scottish eccentrics and more full of beautiful scenery.

We eventually stumbled upon a trail heading up to a bluff above the village looking out over the water and the town. It was a bit of a scrabble, but well worth it. Stunning views.

The walk back looped around through some farmland above the town. More impressive views. And birds. Birds everywhere. Greenfinches, chaffinches, yellowhammers, siskins and sparrows flocking at feeders outside almost every house.

[Cindy: Is that TV John McIver's caravan?!]

Our hotel booking entitled us to a reservation at the very popular hotel dining room. We were pleased to note that the hotel provided a couple of vego options. The post-Macbeth tourism boom has ensured comfortable accommodation and decent dining options for all. I had the vego special of the day: spiced chickpeas with rice, while Cindy had garlic mushrooms with a breadcrumb topping. While it's good that we're able to order vegetarian meals at rural pubs in Scotland, I must say that the spiced chickpeas for well short of our own recipe.

Luckily, they gave us an interesting dessert option: the vaguely traditional whiskey, honey and oatmeal ice cream. It had quite the whiskey kick, and let us pretend we were sampling some of Scotland's finest.


  1. Gorgeous scenery! I LOVE that photo of the man in the boat on dry land. Hilarious!

  2. SIGH. I too have long harboured an unhealthy obesssion with Hamish Macbeth and have always wanted to go to Plockton and the Kyle of Lochalsh!! It looks positively swoonworthy. Great photos, guys! :)

  3. I never watched hamish macbeth but would still love to visit Plockton - looks lovely - and that pic of the old guy in the boat is priceless!

  4. oh, isn't scotland gorgeous!? i love some of these shots - especially the one with the blue and red boat.

  5. Agnes, I hope he didn't mind being photographed - I was careful not to disturb him!

    Another Hamish fan, Claire! (I wondered if anyone would even recognise the name of the show.) Although I recognised only a small number of specific locations, Plockton and surrounds felt really familiar (...minus a few loopy locals and adding several dozen B&Bs).

    Johanna, it's a lovely part of the world - I imagine you have a slightly better chance than most of getting there one day!

    Thanks, Nixwilliams! You don't have to do much more than blindly point and shoot to make Plockton look pretty. :-D