Even though we made this trip back in February, I’ve held off recounting all the gory details since much of our time in Stirling and Loch Lomond became a blur of first trimester woes. But now that the cat’s out of the bag I can finally let you know exactly what it was like taking a trip at just 6 weeks pregnant…
Truth is… this trip was tough. But at the end of it all, we were in a beautiful part of the country, soaking in whatever history and culture we could before heading back to the hotels for a nap. It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t make the absolute most of it during our stay.
The fun began way before we even crossed the Scottish border. In fact, way before we even got out of town. On our way out, Andrew stopped off at a local supermarket for road trip supplies (it would later transpire that he selected every single ginger flavoured item in the shop to help quell my growing nausea). Too queasy to face the packed shelves, I opted to stay in the car…brown paper bag in hand. The prospect of 3 hours bumbling along the motorway only added to lump in my throat… fortunately sweet sleep came to my aid.
When we had first planned our Scotland trip I had an exciting and full itinerary all planned out for us. We started with a view to continuing on that path, so first stop was The Kelpies, a 30 metre high metal horse head statue in Falkirk. Well, why not?!
The weather certainly didn’t help matters, but after being bundled up in a stuffy car for a few hours, the biting wind and drizzling rain felt fresh and revitalising against my skin. Determined to make the most of our time away, and not let our newly discovered pregnancy get in the way of our plans, I swallowed hard and pulled out my camera. I was going to document this, and I was going to look like I was enjoying it!!
As we headed closer to the Kelpies, they’re rearing heads poking up over a hill, I was actually quietly pleased for the wash-out weather. Clearly nobody was mad enough to be out sight seeing in these conditions, so the place was deserted. I imagined it could get pretty busy in warmer months, with cute picnic spots dotted about, so today I was thankful for the quiet and the ability to take in the magnificent statues without interruption.
Having picked up an obligatory tourist magnet from the nearby information centre, we headed back to the car, bound for our hotel in Stirling, just a half hour away.
The city was stunning. The dramatic skies added to the scenery, with historic monuments and Stirling Castle looming high above the streets. I was eager to get snapping away with my camera, but the travel and our stint in the rain had taken up whatever energy I had left after dry heaving in the car park earlier that morning.
I was delighted when we arrived at our first hotel of the weekend. Victoria Square Guest House was elegant and enchanting from the outset. An elaborate hallway was brought down to earth by a warm friendly face greeting us from reception.
After the necessary pleasantries we were shown to our room and I was bowled over by how lovely it really was. The pictures had looked nice and all but wow, this room was amazing. A beautiful wooden four poster bed commanded the room, trimmed in pretty purple tartan. The tall Victorian windows offered a beautiful view over the square, and the roll top bath beckoned my aching bones the minute I clapped eyes on it.
Determined not to surrender to the lull of sleep just yet, we enjoyed home baked cakes in the hotel’s elegant drawing room before heading into the town to find motion sickness bands (much needed for the journey home, and would become a welcome staple to every first trimester outfit thereon!)
We dined in a cool american style bar, disappointed that I couldn’t sample any of their extensive cocktail menu. With a full (and very bloated) belly, we retired to the hotel where I calmed my protesting bones in a warm bath, and snuggled up in the folds of the four poster bed with a book before dosing soundly off to a heavy sleep…
Morning arrived and with it the incessant nausea I had come to expect. It is here that I absolutely cannot commend the hotel staff enough. Andrew explained the situation to the lady in the breakfast room, who ushered him back upstairs, breakfast in hand with a big bowl of hearty Scottish porridge to be enjoyed in our room for my comfort. A wonderful gesture that set me up feeling chipper for the day.
Now coming to realise that my extensive itinerary was a distant dream, we chose just one attraction to visit – which of course had to be Stirling Castle. Despite the growing nausea we had a wonderful time.
The castle offered you the freedom to explore at your own pace, or join one of the daily tours. Opting for the former, we made our own route around the grounds, amazed at the level of access we were granted. Exploring the exterior walls, we dove into turrets, peering through the arrow slits, feeling the same cold chill of billowing air that once would have struck the faces of anxious archers.
Located on top of a hill, Stirling Castle offers a unique perspective of the land below, a vista we idly enjoyed.
Sheltering from the cold, we were greeted by fascinating exhibitions, detailing the history and former residents of the castle. The interior rooms were lavishly restored, offering a glimpse into royal life.
And of course, trust Andrew and I to find the interactive, dress up section…
My energy levels waning, and the sky turning malevolently black, we decided to hop in the car and drive an hour to our next destination, Loch Lomond.
Again, such a stunning landscape, and one that I had dreamed of exploring by foot and by boat. But by the time we arrived at the Rowardennan Hotel all I wanted to do was listen to the pitter patter of rain on the roof and curl up for the afternoon with a book.
And that’s exactly what I did…
Ok – we did find time to take a good pic or two before we retired for the day.
At the time I was disappointed that we hadn’t gotten to explore these beautiful Scottish destinations in more detail, but looking back they were the perfect places to enjoy a little weekend getaway. Sure, I could have sat in bed and read a book at home, but along with that comes all of the daily distractions. Here we could reconnect, enjoying the silence, even between each other.
Both Stirling and Loch Lomond offered a warm welcome, and a peaceful retreat, the two main things I needed when I was feeling so tender. I do so hope that we go back there and give the area the much needed attention and exploration it deserves. Until then…
Have you ever taken a trip that didn’t quite go according to plan? How did you enjoy it? I loved to know. Comment below or join me on Twitter @LoveinMindBlog.