I set out from Edinburgh without a plan or a hotel for the next three nights. I was told it would be easy to find B&B's and guesthouses. My plan was to go through Stirling, see the castle, and then head to Aberfoyle to hike in Queen's National Park.
Stirling is a lovely little city, but as with most of Scotland, the city has tiny roads that one car can barely fit down never mind two. With a few wrong turns, I found my way to the castle, saw all of the tour buses and decided to turn around. I was done with being around the mobs (I can't imagine what traveling in Europe would be like during the summer months).
As I got away from the city, beautiful, green pastures covered in a light dusting of snow spread as far as I could see. Within thirty minutes I was deep into the Queen's National forest where tall pines and mountains surrounded me. The snow and wind had picked up. I figured I could still hike - I'm from New England I can handle bad weather. I put my poncho over my fancy coat, put on an extra pair of socks and headed to the forest. The rangers stopped me before I hit the end of the car park. They wouldn't allow me access because they were worried that a tree branch would fall on my head and kill me. I guess people freak out about weather all over the world no matter how small the storm. It really wasn't that bad.
There was nothing to do in Aberfoyle, and the locals suggested I move on towards Loch Lomond. Along the road I saw the most beautiful manor and turned around to check it out. Entering it's beautiful lobby I thought, I've found home for the night. I could curl up with a book next to the fire in the library and stare out at the pastures and hills. I could take some much needed rest. When I asked about staying the woman was more than happy to show me a lovely, little room with a view. Then she said, "You do realize we won't have any other guests tonight? You'll hear quite a bit of moving around, but you'll be alone. I mean there'll be someone on duty in the house and all, but you might not see them." I wasn't sure what she meant by this, but then it dawned on me how old the house was. She never said it was haunted, but I suddenly had visions of a psychopath walking the halls at night and stabbing me in the shower. I decided to move on.
I moved on, since they wouldn't let me stay, and found my way to a little town called Luss. Nothing was open in town except a small B&B without an inn keeper present. I walked through the quaint town and out to the lake, had a cup of hot chocolate at the local pub and looked up hotels on the internet. My only option was to keep driving around the Loch up to the Highlands and to a little fishing village called Oban.
All in all I drove over six hours that day with only short breaks. The scenery was stunning even in the snow and rain. I found a lovely hotel overlooking the bay with a jacuzzi bath and booked it for three nights. I think I'm better day-tripping from one place. In one day I almost booked a haunted manor and a nursing home. Can you imagine what I would find if I searched for two more days.