I have always enjoyed the comfortable, familiar holiday. In my blog The Hygge Life, I write about my sister-in-law and her travel adventures with a tinge of jealousy. I wanted to seek my own adventure but the lack of stable ground in my everyday life meant I craved security when away from the grind.
Until now. Inspired by So Sophey and thanks to having the perfect companion at my side (from now on known as JD), I set off on my own North Coast 500 experience. To add to the excitement (and insecure unfamiliarity!) we set off on the cusp of the lockdown lift after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unsure what would be open when we arrived, we managed to book accommodation for all but two of our nights in advance; hire a car; and buy everything we thought we would need. We planned a route thanks to advice from other travellers, You Tube videos, and the North Coast 500 definitive guide  – well worth the £15 NC500 membership to download the guide and the itineraries!
Day One: The Journey Begins …..
Miles travelled: 431
Day One was a nine-hour drive to Fort William and our Premier Inn hotel. Setting off at 6.30am meant we got to Fort William in time for the last day of the Premier League season. We’d already watched Liverpool collect their trophy in an empty stadium but today was about JD’s team Aston Villa and their fight to escape relegation. My concern was finding a pub open in Fort William in the wake of coronavirus – let alone one showing the Villa game. JD decided a pub with WiFi showing the other scores would be enough as he could use his BT Sports app. Luckily a Google search produced a Sports Bar and we were off.
We arrived with our faces dutifully covered with our cloth masks. The pub had marked out socially distant areas at the bar, was displaying the right signs, and had hand sanitiser to use on the way in and out; but didn’t seem too concerned about enforcing the rules. A couple of girls came in and said it was the busiest place in town. I did see one of the bar staff sanitising menus which gave us enough faith to eat there! With food we watched an incredibly nerve-wracking game followed by a celebratory glass of their whisky of the month which was the Loch Lomond single malt. It is now one of my top five whisky favourites!
Loch Lomond itself was one of the highlights on that day’s journey as it took well over an hour to drive past. We stopped several times driving across Glen Coe to photograph the ‘soaring, dramatic splendour’ as we began to peek into the world of unimaginable beauty around every turn awaiting us when we began our North Coast 500 journey.
And I started my journey to a place I would never return from. A journey to discovering important things about myself: my pleasure in the simple tastes of life; my insignificance in the face of the North Coast’s history from glaciers to graveyards; and my bravery when I really trust the man at my side.
 Scottish National Heritage 2010