Our last few hours were spent with a sick and grumpy blogger (that’s me!). However, we did try to make the most of last day in Scotland by attempting a mini tour of television shoot locations and trying a new restaurant – but inevitably, we went to our favourite spot from our first night in Glasgow.
Shetland Mini Tour
After we checked into the Argyll Western Hotel (we liked it so much we’d booked our last night there) and dropped our bags, we went on our mini-Shetland tour.
One of my favourite television shows right now – and a motivator for this trip – is the detective drama Shetland. Although it takes place in the Shetland Islands, much of the television show was filmed around Glasgow. As we didn’t have time to do the 18 hour drive there during our short trip (I did actually try to fit this in initially), we did have time to do the Shetland Mini Tour! Filming locations included Kilbarchan, Barrhead, Irvine, Ayr and it would take approximately 2 hours driving time to visit all four locations.
Our tour turned out not to be too bright of an idea. It was a holiday for some and not for others in Glasgow, meaning the streets were still stop and go with rush hour traffic out of the city. Coming into Barrhead where the Police Station in Shetland was a wake up call as the town’s police station itself wasn’t familiar from the show. The town was far, far bigger than the small towns we had been driving through, so randomly driving around to find shooting locations was out of the question. So, we abandoned mission.
We were hungry so stopped in a family diner by the road. It was an odd place inside, but we were hungry. We got a sad plate of vegetarian appetizers that turned out to be deep fried mushrooms, with greasy potatoes and tortilla chips drizzled with processed cheese, and kibble sized slices of dry garlic bread. It was terrible, but we were cranky and hungry so we ate it all.
After returning our rented car to Sixt, we went in search of a place to eat. A friend of a local had given us a list of “Must Go To” restaurants. We weren’t very hungry after our roadside stop, but went to the first one on the list: Ox and Finch. Other places she had recommended in the West End included to eat were the Crabshackk, Porter and Rye, Achemela, and the West Brewery. In the South side, she recommended Ranjit’s Kitchen, Potluck, and the Bungo.
The Ox and Finch was a very nice restaurant, but understandably they weren’t too keen on us taking up a table at dinner time for something to snack on. So, we made our way to the bar we visited on our first night in Scotland: Inn Deep. It seemed a fitting place to end our trip.
We walked through Kelvinbridge Park and along the river to Inn Deep, admiring all the dogs running about on their evening walk. There was a warm breeze and everything was green from the rain. It was a lovely way to end our trip to Scotland.
At Inn Deep, a bar cleverly built under the archways of an old bridge, we had our favourite beers and shared small plates of the lamb shanks, ricotta balls, and rolled squid with chilli lime. We sat looking out over the river by candlelight with the raucous of students around us. It was a fitting end to our trip.
Argyll Western Hotel
We booked Room 103 again (the Lindsay room) in the corner of the main floor of the Argyll Western Hotel. There was a green Exit light over our door that was annoying in the dark – I hadn’t noticed it during our last stay. We must have been too excited! Now I was tired and sick…
Uber to Airport
We had a continental breakfast at 5:45am then got in an Uber to the airport. It came to £17, which was worth it for the convenience. The £2 fee to enter the airport drop off must be worked into the fee as the drive is quite short. Compared to the £9 per person fare for the airport express bus, as well as a subway fare each, this was well worth it for the 20 minute drive.
The line up for security went all the way around to Car Park 2. It moved quickly though and staff were all over the place directing us from one line to another. We stopped in the Duty Free to pickup some scotch, then went to find our gate. It was a small airport, so it was easy to find.
Our journey home took 15 hours all together, from the time we got up in the morning to the time we got in the door at home. We flew to Halifax then transferred onto the plane to Toronto. It was a shock to find ourselves in warm, sunny, and busy Toronto after a week in chilly, damp, and quiet Scotland! The traffic below our apartment window seemed particularly loud after time away. However, we were both eager to change into shorts and t-shirts and enjoy the warm sunshine after been bundled up in fall clothes for so long!
Reflections On Our Trip to Scotland
This was the most stressful trip I’d been on due to all the narrow, winding single track roads busy with two way traffic. However, Matt, who did all the driving, said this was his favourite trip we’d been on together! It didn’t help we were both intermittently sick with a cold though. Scotland is very damp and cold, even by Canadian standards!
The Isle of Skye was our favourite place to visit. Glencoe and the Loch Ness area were beautiful and required much more time than we had to spare to fully explore and appreciate. I found Edinburgh to be very boring, slow, pricey, and crowded, but Matt quite liked the city. We both loved Glasgow – it’s the type of city we could see ourselves living. It’s beautiful, full of young people, diverse, and has a good pace to it. However, the real beauty of Scotland is its people. Everyone here is so genuinely caring here – to locals and tourists alike. Even the drivers were courteous and accommodating. It’s inspirational – I thought I was a nice person, but Scottish people are even nicer!
The dramatic landscapes are well worth the cost of visiting Scotland! They rival the beauty of Iceland, which is saying a lot coming from a great admirer of Iceland like myself! If the country roads weren’t so terrifying, I’d be eager to come back.