As you may recall, last summer, we took our little family of four up to the Scottish Highlands for a week on the Isle of Skye. If you know anything about Skye, then you know it doesn’t make much sense geographically to follow it up with one seemingly random night at Gleneagles. AND YET, spoiler alert: that’s what we did. After many mishaps. While we initially planned to fly in and out of Inverness for a Saturday – Saturday itinerary, we realized pre-trip that this meant returning to Notting Hill during Carnival. LOL, NO. Luckily, it wasn’t too difficult to make a last minute change and extend our trip to include a weekend in Edinburgh. In the end, we decided to check-out of our cottage as planned, and spend Saturday driving south through Glencoe. It was a long drive, so we justified a one-night stop in the countryside, picking somewhere halfway between Skye and Edinburgh. Then, after our one night in the countryside, we would drive another two and a half hours, and explore Edinburgh for the weekend. After, we’d fly back to London on Tuesday afternoon. We found and booked our countryside hotel, and we used our Marriott points for an Edinburgh pick. Clearly, this plan was perfect! And then, everything went awry. Because for SOME REASON! This JUST SEEMS to be what happens to us IN SCOTLAND. I cannot tell you why, but on our second to last day in Skye, I asked Jeff to give our next…
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weekend warriors // one night at gleneagles – the lazy travelers

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As you may recall, last summer, we took our little family of four up to the Scottish Highlands for a week on the Isle of Skye. If you know anything about Skye, then you know it doesn’t make much sense geographically to follow it up with one seemingly random night at Gleneagles. AND YET, spoiler alert: that’s what we did. After many mishaps. While we initially planned to fly in and out of Inverness for a Saturday – Saturday itinerary, we realized pre-trip that this meant returning to Notting Hill during Carnival. LOL, NO. Luckily, it wasn’t too difficult to make a last minute change and extend our trip to include a weekend in Edinburgh. In the end, we decided to check-out of our cottage as planned, and spend Saturday driving south through Glencoe. It was a long drive, so we justified a one-night stop in the countryside, picking somewhere halfway between Skye and Edinburgh. Then, after our one night in the countryside, we would drive another two and a half hours, and explore Edinburgh for the weekend. After, we’d fly back to London on Tuesday afternoon. We found and booked our countryside hotel, and we used our Marriott points for an Edinburgh pick. Clearly, this plan was perfect! And then, everything went awry. Because for SOME REASON! This JUST SEEMS to be what happens to us IN SCOTLAND. I cannot tell you why, but on our second to last day in Skye, I asked Jeff to give our next hotel a call and make sure they had something we needed for our baby. Honestly, I don’t even know what it was, but my 4-month postpartum brain decided it was important, so he rang them up. I could tell instantly that it was not going well. Apparently, they were all, “baby? what baby? you don’t have a baby, we hate babies.” I’m paraphrasing, but they had in their records that we were booked into a room that is strictly NO BABIES, despite the fact that we included two of ’em on our reservation. I had definitely birthed two babies who we had brought on this exact trip! I was pretty sure one involved party had gotten it wrong. Listen, I’m not going to name and shame the hotel, because I’m positive they would have helped us out if they had availability in their baby-approved rooms. (Are these farm-style pens? Or do these rooms have walls made of pillows? Sounds like a suffocation hazard. ANYWAY. We will never know!!). Really, I have no recollection of wtf hotel it was, because I erased them instantly from mind and got to work finding a Plan B. Finding something on the route we wanted to drive was the real issue, and then finding someplace with availability was the next problem. Our search moved further and further south, until I was looking at Andy Murray’s Cromlix, about an hour’s drive north of Edinburgh. They didn’t have anything that would work, but the extremely nearby Gleneagles absolutely did. Done, one night at Gleneagles, booked. We now had a 4.5 hour drive ahead of us instead of a 2.5 hour drive, but it was fine. I mapped out the perfect little roadtrip through Glencoe with tons of stops to stretch eight legs and two growing spines. It would be longer in the car than we’d planned, but I was going to make. it. WORK! After we checked out from our cottage early on Saturday morning, we began the drive south. We decided to stop in Fort William to see the Glennfinnan viaduct of Harry Potter fame, and watch the Jacobite Steam Train pass. I read that the train would cross the viaduct about 30 minutes after leaving the station at Fort William. You can check the timetable on the Jacobite website here, and plan accordingly. We struggled to find the closer angle that looks more like the film before the train would cross, but I actually enjoyed the panoramic view. This post is way more detailed than I could ever be because #lazy, but if you’re interested in planning your own visit, then have a read. It details how to find the other spot, and offers a few more tips and tricks for planning your day. After, we walked back down to the visitors centre and enjoyed a little picnic. We also bought two little stuffed hairy coos for the kids. I named Henry’s Hamish, Margot named hers Sven. Hamish and Sven and our family of four were downright SMUG after the best little start to our day. Next stop: Glencoe! (HA!) We climbed back in the car, and I set Gleneagles as our destination. Here’s what I saw as I set the phone back down, and promptly fell asleep. “Wake me up when it’s pretty,” I murmured, knowing we were about an hour from Glencoe. (Before you’re all waaah pooooor Jeffffffffff, first of all: I was breastfeeding a giant turkey of a baby, which is exhausting. Second of all, I’m a prize, let me sleep.) Anyway, here is where I woke up: Apparently, during a signal drop, the GPS reset to the shortest route (BY 1 MINUTE), and sent us an hour in the opposite direction. Jeff didn’t realize it until we were an hour past Fort William, for a whole list of reasons. Words were exchanged, and I listed some other possible reasons, most of which were “unfair.” Marriage! We ultimately decided and begrudgingly agreed that a drive back an hour in the wrong direction on a 4.5 hour roadtrip just wasn’t worth it. This is a decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Or at least until I’m done writing this post, when I’ll probably forget about it again. And then I’ll trot it back out as a classic roadtrip story to tell the kids in 15 years. But anyway, more on that in a minute. For now, our new route didn’t have any of the planned stops I’d mapped out. As we ducked in and out of service, I tried to find some worthy new excursions. After a quick search, we made our way toward Pitlochry. As we passed a village called Killiecrankie, I though YES, it’s me. But nay, we didn’t stop, Pitlochry was the new goal. We parked in Pitlochry and walked around the objectively adorable town, trying to spin our moods around. Because my entire life now revolves around snacks for all ages, we stocked up. I carried the stuffed hairy coos with their heads poking out of my purse, at Margot’s request, so they could see the sights, too. We made up silly songs about Hamish & Sven, and made one final stop in a cute childrens’ shop. Moods (mostly) lifted! But at the till, the shopwoman asked us in her thick brogue if we were aware of the traffic incident. She thought the closure might be pretty disruptive for the final hour of our drive, but didn’t really have any details. Just an ominous warning, half whispered in a Scottish accent. As all ominous warnings should be, really. We hopped back on the A9, and soon realized that whatever had happened was bad. The traffic was all rerouted, but this was a Saturday in August. It’s like, the only month other people visit Scotland and the only month the Scots stay put. There was no option but to sit. And sit. And sit. Bumper to bumper. Frozen on repeat. We left Skye at 6 AM. I estimated a 3 PM arrival based on our Glencoe route, which had about 4 stops. We pulled into Gleneagles just shy of 6 PM. With 2 stops. Def not counting the roadside breastfeeding stops. Yeah, probs should have turned around back at that random ass craft shop, EH? None of it was ideal. Honestly, no one was in a good mood. And like the amateurs we are, we’d promised our 2.5 year old we were going somewhere with a pool. Of COURSE we can go in as soon as we get there! (Idiots). Here’s where I will say that our one night at Gleneagles was lovely. The staff is warm and welcoming, the property is gorgeous, and it’s insanely family-friendly. Our room was beautiful (minus the hideous baby cot, which seems to be a serious hotel problem across the board). We had our own little garden, plus a sitting area and the coziest baby robes I’ve ever felt in my life. They were so cozy that Henry fell asleep the second we wrapped him in his, which means one came home with us. Turns out it wasn’t the robe, he was just exhausted from screaming his face off for the last 2 hours of our accidental 12-hour roadtrip. But still, it is soft af. The newly decorated kids club is incredible, with a section for older kids and a more secure and heavier staffed area for under 3s. As promised, Jeff took Margot to swim as soon as we arrived, while I waited with Henry for our room service dinner to arrive. Here’s where I point out that I took, like, no great photos. It wasn’t a planned stop, it wasn’t sponsored. It’s still worth talking about. After a necessary and restorative sleep, we woke up ready to enjoy the day. Naturally, our day spent in the car was probably the most gorgeous weather Scotland saw in 2018. Sunday was predictably gray with nonstop downpours. NO MATTER, we made do. We had breakfast downstairs, and Margot took another swim before we played around the kids club for a bit. After, I took her out for a tour of the stables, where she fell properly in love with every single horse. We went back into the hotel for lunch, and Jeff and I grabbed a drink at the bar while both babies took their afternoon naps. (Ahhhh the days of two kids napping). Our one night at Gleneagles ended quickly. I mean, technically it was longer than our drive to get there, but spiritually, it felt SIGNIFICANTLY shorter. Our following two days in Edinbrugh made up for it all, but I’m going to hold back on that for a bit longer. Why, you ask? For an excellent reason, thank you. That’s right, an LT TRAVEL ANNOUNCEMENT! Carolyn is heading back to London for Friendsgiving this year. Friday morning, we’ll hop a flight back up north to explore this new-to-her city! As this will be my third visit, I feel most confident giving you one comprehensive guide once we properly experience it together. Stay tuned! xoxo, ashley

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