So I didn’t say much about Thursday yet. Simply put, we took a drive into the Highlands, north of Glasgow. If you fetch a map, say, like this one, you’ll see more precisely where all we went.

The rental car was a Vauxhall Corsa. Two years ago, Bob Lutz said Saturn would build a version of the Corsa. More recently, that seems unlikely, and I suspect with fuel prices back down, they’ll blow it off. Pity, since it’s actually a nice little car. Our copy had a peculiar steering arrangement whereby the driver sits on the right side of the car and shifts with his left hand. This one was even a manual transmission, so I finally got to see how that feels. It feels strange — I felt like I couldn’t shift as smoothly or as quickly as in the States because my left arm isn’t trained to make those motions. Every now and then, especially when coming to a stop after being on the road a while, I’d move my right hand into the door to reach for an imaginary gearshift outside the car. Mostly I fared just fine, though. We note that on a right-hand drive car (RHD), the three pedals are in the same orientation as with LHD, so that end of things was easy. Here’s what it looks like. Pretty basic 5-door hatchback. Not beautiful, but not ugly, either. Typical of General Motors, perhaps.

We did stop a few times, when the scenery was just too much not to stop and take it in for a moment. Once was near the end of a very narrow section of road skirting the west side of the north end of Loch Lomond, Scotland’s biggest lake. After passing through a two-way traffic light (which controls traffic on a single-lane section of road), on the left appears this giant… rock. With a grotto carved into it. (And lucky for us, a tiny place to pull the car over to take photos.)

Next up it was time for a break. We stopped at the next “tea room” sign, which was attached to the train station at Crianlarich. That had closed on 1 November for the winter, so we continued into the little town itself and found The Rod & Reel, a sort of roadhouse that said it served food all day. Strange little place, it was. Peg ordered haggis with neeps and tatties (that would be haggis with parsnips and potatoes), and we split a beer, though I forget what brand it was. And apart from taking care of our order, not one word was spoken to us by the folks there, even though it was empty apart from maybe three obvious regulars. Maybe we should have sat at the bar?

Onward from there, we passed through an (open) gate that closes the road for snow. It seems the stretch of road just beyond that gets a lot of snow as a result of its topography. In fact, on the return trip, that very section of road had a good inch of slush between the tire tracks. Luckily it was only like that for one or two miles. (I don’t think the Corsa has skid control, and I didn’t really want to test it.)

Still heading north, we spent a bit of time in a moderately flat area, then up a long and gradual hill, until…

Not much else to say about that. Just a “wow” moment with a convenient place to stop and take pictures until my hands were too cold to hold the camera.

Eventually we reached the start of the footpath to Ben Nevis, which is the tallest point in Scotland and in the the British Isles. You can’t see it from the footpath, and starting the 6-8 hour journey after sunset is an exceptionally bad idea, so we snapped some photos and turned back towards Glasgow. Here’s the teaser shot — it’s dark and uncorrected, but it conveys what we saw pretty well.

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