Scotland: Where Our Associate Editor Will Return Once Her Travels Resume

“A three‑day Highland hike brought together all of the things I love about Scotland: stunning landscapes, family time and my ancestry.”

A single sheep in a field
A fence surrounding a farmhouse in Scotland

With our 2020 travel plans temporarily on hold, we find ourselves returning to memories of past adventures, finding joy in journeys that resonated, inspired, elevated – and that taught us something meaningful about ourselves and the wider world we share. In this new series, we revisit our best-ever trips with you, and hope you’ll do the same for us. This week, associate editor Dominique Lamberton travels back to Scotland, where she last visited in the summer of 2018.
 

enRoute Tell us why this trip in particular keeps coming back to you now – what made it so memorable?
 

Dominique Lamberton I have to go back a little bit further: Scotland has been a big part of my life for the last decade. In 2010, I spent a semester in Edinburgh, and my family came to visit. On a Highland road trip, we stopped in the town of Invermoriston, along the western shore of Loch Ness, which is where my paternal great-grandmother came from. It sparked an awakening of our Scottish roots, and my family has been back multiple times since – once as a group of 25 on an ancestral tour in which we circumnavigated the entire country on our own bus. But on our most recent trip, it was just my parents and me on a three-day Highland hike.

April 16, 2020
Pink flowers growing by the beach in Scotland
A Scottish cottage by the edge of the river

ER Why did you decide to experience the area on foot this time?
 

DL On previous trips to the wee village of Invermoriston, we stayed at our favourite inn, the Glenmoriston Arms (which my great-grandmother writes about in her diaries – it dates back to 1740), and encountered walkers passing through on the Great Glen Way. One of Scotland’s Great Trails, the 125-kilometre route follows the Caledonian Canal through the country’s longest glen, from Fort William to Inverness – and we dreamed of walking it ourselves one day. So, in July 2018, my parents and I decided we would arrive in our beloved Invermoriston on foot instead, and set off from the trailhead in Fort William.

Over three days and roughly 75 kilometres, we traversed fields of foxgloves in every shade of purple, passed shimmering lochs (Lochy, Oich and Ness), watched boats navigate early lock systems and took in commanding vistas. Walking the Great Glen Way combined all of the elements that make Scotland special to us: it was a chance to connect to the landscapes, our history and one another, all at once.

A lake that runs between the hills of Scotland

ER What were some highlights on the trek?
 

DL A few come to mind: hitchhiking with my parents (we bypassed four kilometres of highway walking thanks to a young Englishman in an SUV who, because we didn’t get his name, is now referred to as Sir Audi); ending our second day on the trail in a sunny Fort Augustus with canal-side pints; witnessing two jets whiz over Loch Ness while we hiked the high route above the water; and breaking for an oatmeal-cookie energy boost (or maybe to stall) before our final stretch. But the most precious thing was spending three uninterrupted days with my parents and fully experiencing this place that means so much to us.

Scotland's purple Foxgloves

ER You have 50 kilometres to go to complete the Great Glen Way. Do you plan to walk the final section?
 

DL Yes! My parents and I talk often about returning to complete the trail, which would see us picking it up in Invermoriston and ending in Inverness. Hopefully we’ll be joined by my fiancé, my two brothers and their partners and my wee nephew when we do. While walking on the towpaths, we noticed small cruise ships and sail boats meandering down the canal, which also has us thinking about getting our whole extended family together on the water to navigate the Great Glen from Inverness to Scotland’s west coast.

A sailboat by the dock in Scotland
Two people hiking up the trail that runs along a river in Scotland

ER If you could return to Scotland tomorrow, what’s the first thing you’d do?
 

DL After arriving via Edinburgh and getting a good look at one of my favourite cities from Calton Hill, I would head for Invermoriston, making sure to savour the utterly majestic landscape through Glencoe along the way. Once in my great-grandmother’s village, I’d devote a few days to exploring; taking in what would have been her everyday sights before she eventually left for the Canadian Prairies: the Thomas Telford-built bridge that crosses the rushing River Moriston falls, the stone cottage hidden in the woods downriver from there, the old schoolhouse (now a private residence) where she lived and worked as a teacher and the pier on Loch Ness (what’s left of it, at least), where she would have travelled by boat to Inverness, Fort Augustus or beyond.

A sunny day on a hiking trail in the Highlands of Scotland
Thomas Telford-built bridge in Scotland

ER Describe your travelling style in 30 words or less.
 

DL Energetic. While I’m not going to beat myself up for the odd sleep-in, I’m all about seizing every possible moment – I don’t want to miss a thing.
 

ER What was your favourite souvenir from the trip?
 

DL Most of my souvenirs are on my phone’s camera roll, but during our morning in Fort Augustus, before we took off for our third and final day of walking (the 13-kilometre stretch to Invermoriston), we popped into the shops that line the village’s locks. In one called That Cute Little Highland Shop, I found tea towels with illustrations by artist Clare Baird of Scottish flora and fauna that had, after two days on foot, become very familiar to us. I bought one with Scottish thistles on it for my parents and one with Highland cows on it for myself – everyday items to take us back to our Highland trek each time we use them.

The rugged terrain of Scotland's valleys and hills

We’d love to hear about your favourite travel memory. Just send us a photo and 50-100 words about why this trip in particular had such an impact on you – and why you can’t wait to go back.

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