author: Rob Skinner
When a friend told me he was taking an October weekend to go camping in Scotland and asked if I was interested in going, I jumped at the chance. He was planning on traveling the country lifting stones as the old highland clans did, and I was along for the ride.
We landed in Edinburgh on Friday and headed to Scotland Overland to pick up our Toyota Hilux outfitted for camping with two rooftop tents. We received a thorough briefing from Duncan, and were off on our trip.
Having family in Scotland, I had arranged to meet up with my cousin Jim and his wife Catherine. Much to my surprise, his brother, my cousin Brian showed up as well. We all went off for a bite to eat and a catch-up.
Leaving Glasgow, we planned to go about 90 minutes north and camp. We found a spot by a small river, set up camp, and had a few beers before heading to sleep. It rained all night, and we had been warned that the storm was going to be bad on Saturday. The rooftop tent was comfortable, but the rain pouring down was not as soothing as I might have thought.
On the road Saturday, hungry for breakfast, we found one of the most fantastic breakfasts ever at Nae Limits Cafe. They were not quite open yet, but the staff didn’t miss a beat and got us started with large cups of some of the best coffee we have had in Europe.
After breakfast, we were on to the purpose of the trip, lifting stones. First, the Dalwhinnie Stone. Then the Newtonmore, Auchernacks, and the Barevan Stones. With several miles between each stone, we drove through the stunning highlands scenery listening to bagpipe music the entire way.
All day, Hurricane Haggis was intense, with driving rain and wind. This made the stone lifting a slippery challenge, but the day ended with all successes. We reached Inverness, and opted for staying at a Bed and Breakfast for hot showers and a chance to dry out.
The Black Isle Brewery and Pizza was a quick walk, and we ordered a couple of pints and two pizzas: venison salami, and black pudding and goat cheese. They source the ingredients locally, and the flavors of both food and beer are amazing.
It was a big sports night, Scotland v. Ireland in World Cup Rugby, and we watched the match at MacGregor’s, a family connection to the Skinners. We bought t-shirts and pints, and had a great time talking to the locals.
Our route the next day took us past Loch Lomond and Loch Ness, and through Glencoe Valley. The scenery was epic, and we stopped frequently to take photos.
On reaching the Puidrac Stone, we asked the land owner if we could go into his field to lift it. At first he was reluctant, as due to the storm and the mud, he had moved his horses into that paddock. After hearing we didn’t have time to come back, he relented and allowed us in, at our own risk. The paddock was muddy and the horses very curious, until they realized we had no food.
Another successful lift, and we continued on to Mohr84 for a snack and to use their wifi. We met more friendly Scots when they recognized the Ferguson kilt, and had an instant connection. Our new friend advised us to go down the glen to camp overnight at the Monachyle Mhor Hotel.
So, on her advice, we headed that way and did indeed get permission to camp in the parking lot of this hotel. We made reservations at their restaurant, met the owner and chef, Tom, and ended up with an epic evening. Hanging out with Tom, his wife Lisa, and their friends until the wee hours of the morning was one of the highlights of the trip.
The next morning, we headed back towards Glasgow, marveling at both the scenery and how nice the weather had turned on our day to leave.
As a bonus, we connected with family once again before we left, with an outstanding breakfast at Alessio’s Cafe in Glasgow.
Despite the rain, the weekend was full of successful lifting of stones, stunning scenery, and fantastic meals. We met new friends, and reunited with family. In addition to the stones, a few pints were lifted along the way. 😜
More About Lifting Stones
For more information about the Lifting Stones tradition, watch Rogue Fitness’ documentary film on YouTube: Stoneland.
This page contains affiliate links and we earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of the links, at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.