Every time we travel, we have certain expectations for how the trip will play out. Luckily, every one is full of splendid surprises that we could have never expected to stumble on. When we were booking out our itinerary for our 3 night stay at Gleneagles, we added a hike as one of our highest priorities. Thinking back, this hike was everything we imagined and more. After some breakfast at the hotel, we set off in the morning with our guide, ready to see our first glimpse of the Scottish countryside. Rosie and I were suited up in our tweeds and hunter boots, ready to take on our first day in Scotland. Luckily, the guide had the perfect hike in mind, and he knew the groundskeeper of the estate that let us in through the gate, bypassing at least 2/3 of the hike (you see why we enjoyed this hike so much- ha!).
We made it as far as the road went up the hill, parked the Land Rover and got out. A light rain shower misted when we arrived so we decided to delay our ascent to the top of the mountain waiting to see if the weather improved or deteriorated. Luckily we were prepared with a thermos each of warm sloe gin and coffee. This was my first time having sloe gin (sloe are a type of berry, like blueberries). It was so delicious and very appropriately timed. I can see why it’s such a delicacy during the colder months- it’s the type of drink you want to sip on next to a warm fire.
In Scotland, the weather can be completely unpredictable. We were very fortunate that the rain cloud blew off and the sky above our heads opened up, so we decided to commence our hike. Along the hike the sun played hide and seek with the mix of clouds casting a dramatic looking scene in the glen below. The lack of trees at the highest elevations made for incredible views, too! During the summer, the hills turn purple with the blooming heather, and warmer than normal temperatures for this time of year led us to find a few heather bushes with purple remnants still remaining. The four of us were in awe of the natural autumnal colors that literally covered every inch of the landscape.
I wouldn’t really count this excursion as a hike, but more of an uphill walk. Still, it was so worth it because of the incredible views and landscape. The groundskeeper brought some binoculars along with him, so he could point out and show us some of the highlights and history of the area. I also complimented him on his amazing attire, because how could I not!? He told me I needed to get matching pants to my tweed coat (and a hat, too!). Bring on all the tweed!
We finished our excursion with a picnic along the shores of a small Loch that was owned by Gleneagles. Fishing season had ended the day before, otherwise Thomas would have loved to make a few casts. We perched up along the side of the lake, setting out all of our pre-made treats in front of us. Our picnic consisted of smoked salmon and crackers, truffle chicken sandwiches, scotch eggs, cheese, brownies, shortbread (my favorite!) and more sloe gin, of course. Not a bad way to end a very strenuous hike!