Thursday, April 11, 2013

Loch Lomond Birthday Weekend

Well it's official. I only have one year left in my 20's, and this past weekend the German organized my 29th birthday celebration in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park here in Scotland. The entire trip was a complete surprise, and I must say he really did an amazing job with all of the planning. I am one lucky girl! On Friday after work we  packed the car and headed out of town, stopping along the way to pick up two of my friends Kamilla and LoLo.  This was the first of many surprises as I did not know they were joining us for the weekend until the night before the trip. How everyone managed to keep this a secret for over a month is beyond me. Those of you who know me best know that I am rubbish at keeping secrets, but I was so excited for them to join and to kick off my 29th year!

 We headed past Glasgow and into the National Park, which was about a 1 1/2 hour drive from our place in the Burgh. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of accommodation, but the German really hit the nail on the head when we pulled up to Loch Lomond Castle. It was one of the nicest accommodations I have stayed in, and was a perfect self-catering accommodation for the four of us! The views were really hard to beat. We arrived close to sunset, and as you can see the lake was right outside our patio. 

After a long work week, it's so nice to have a place to chill out, and our accommodation had the best sofa to just relax and enjoy the evening!   

Saturday morning I woke to my favorite American candy, red vines, which the German strategically placed on my pillow. Since I only get to enjoy these a few times a year I was very excited when I woke up to see he had treated me to my favorite sweet! 

We had a lovely breakfast with a view directly to the loch. The weather was really outstanding- sunshine, which for Scotland can be rare especially in April. 

Thanks to my Aunt and Uncle who sent us happy Birthday hats! I am never going to be too old to celebrate in style! 

After breakfast the German and I strolled along the bank by the castle. The water was beautiful, and on a sunny day there is no better place than Scotland!

Me and CB 
My only request to Christian for the weekend was to do a hike someplace in the woods, but other than that I was pretty open to anything. We loaded up in the car and headed towards the middle part of the National Park where we stopped at the visitor center  From this building, there is a world famous path called The West Highland Way, and we were going to hike a part of it called Conic Hill. The hike was a 350 meter decent to the summit, hiking through forest and hills. It was about a 2 1/2 hour hike round trip, and was really beautiful. Chris did a great job of snapping some photos while we all made our way to the top of the hill. 

Oh I guess I should mention that the hike was technically closed, but that didn't stop us or the dozens of other hikers out enjoying the beautiful weather. 

As we started the hike there was a little sheep dog named Baxter who joined us. He stayed with us the entire climb to the top. His owners were a little ways behind us, but Baxter enjoyed our company just as much as we enjoyed his! It really makes me miss having dogs around full time, and I was so glad to have him join our hike. 

One of my friends let us borrow his walking sticks for the hike. I have always been one of those people who would laugh at the thought of using a stick, but to be honest it made the hike a lot easier, especially on the steep sections. Maybe this makes me an old fogey, but I will be using sticks on more hill hikes!  And of course they make for great fighting weapons. 

After about an hour of hiking we finally made it to the summit. It was windy but beautiful. Baxter the dog even made a guest appearance in our group shot!  

Looking at this picture of a view from the summit I really don't think it does the landscape justice, but take my word it was spectacular.  

We then started our decent, which is sooooo much easier than the climb up. We were down in about 20 minutes. 

Then it was time to reward ourselves with some ice cream! Nothing better after a long hike. 

After we returned to the accommodation, we spent the afternoon relaxing and watching movies. We were pretty exhausted, and were again so thankful for the great furniture the flat provided! 

 Oh and as it is April all of the little baby sheep are being born. I just love those little guys, and we must have seen hundreds throughout the trip!  

 Sunday was pretty low key. We did a mini hike to a waterfall in a different part of the park. It was a nice leisurely walk and a good way to end the weekend. 

 We also visited Loch Katrina, which would be a place I would like to go back and explore more of later during my time here in Scotland. 

Overall my 29th birthday was exactly how I would have wanted it to be. I received so many lovely messages from friends and family around the world, and got to spend it with some great people here in Scotland. Special thanks to Christian for all of his hard work in planning! I have big shoes to fill for his birthday weekend! Next stop, Lanzarote on the Canary Islands for spring break. Can't wait for a week of sun and beach! 

Until Next time, I'll see you on the internet. 

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