Scotland Road Trip Part 1: Flat tires & Secret Gardens

Planning a road trip around Scotland seemed like an obvious choice. There are so many things to see and the landscape is incredible. I used Scotland’s National Tourist Organization website for the majority of my planning. It’s one of the best visitor guide websites I’ve ever found. Based on my research of the different areas we could go to, we decided to plan a short road trip — we had 4 days to kill and I didn’t want to waste too much time in the car. For the first leg, we started from Glasgow and drove 2.5 hours north (through through Trossachs National Park) to Oban. Because the route was through a national park, we were able to plan a hike along the way. We originally planned a 3-4 hour hiking route from Balmaha. Those plans were quickly changed when 45 minutes into the drive we got a flat tire. Driving on the wrong side of the road for the first time + rock walls don’t mix. I did feel better about my driving skills when the tow truck guy told us where I got the flat is one of the hardest roads to drive on in Scotland.

Luckily we weren’t in the middle of nowhere so we only had to wait about an hour for a tow truck to save us. 

Once the tow truck arrived, we had to back track about 30 minutes. By the time the flat was repaired, it was too late in the day to get to Balmaha and do a 3-4 hour hike AND make it to Oban before dark (I wasn’t going to add driving in the dark on top of on the wrong side of the road).

Not far from the mechanic, we found Balloch Visitor Center. The woman in the visitor center was extremely helpful in finding us a short walk we could do and still make it to Oban before sunset. Along the walk we found this secret garden (okay it’s not so secret, but I can’t stop calling it that and no one else was there):

Balloch CastleBalloch gardensBalloch Gardens

After I took a sufficient amount of photos of the flowers and unreal light in this secret garden that we had all to ourselves we continued along the path… Luckily I have a husband with a scout badge in orienteering {nerd}!

We reached the top to find this castle and our first incredible view of Scotland’s magical landscape.

Certainly not the 4 hour hike we had planned, but not a terrible alternative!


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