After a few days in Edinburgh, we traveled north into the highlands where I had set up another home exchange, this time right on a loch (they don’t call them lakes in Scotland). This house was rather unusual looking, but promised gorgeous landscapes in an area known for it’s beauty. It seemed like a good base to explore the highlands of Scotland, but I really didn’t know much about the area or the house. As with our Edinburgh swap, I used points on the LoveHomeSwap network for this stay in Glencoe.
A few months after confirming the home exchange I learned that two friends would be in Scotland at the same time, for a wedding, and planned to spend a week exploring the country afterwards. I asked my swap home owner if he would mind if I invited this couple to stay with us for a few nights since his house has 3 bedrooms. He agreed, and so this turned into my first home exchange shared with friends. It was fun being able to share our luxury accommodations, and by the second day they were very interested in getting started doing home exchanges themselves.
The house was quite unique, designed to look like a boat, and at high tide, in the front room sitting up over the loch it really felt like we were sitting in the water. It was a big house, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, two large living rooms (one with a movie projector and screen), and an eat-in kitchen. Once we worked out how to turn on the heat (yes, in Scotland in July heat is necessary) we were very comfortable and spent our down time sitting in the front room overlooking the water.
As in Edinburgh, we stocked up on supplies at the local grocery store and cooked most of our meals at the house. In addition to being significantly healthier and cheaper than eating out, outside of Edinburgh I found that the restaurants I did try were not much to my taste (except for one really fabulous seafood restaurant near Glencoe), and so eating in was no sacrifice. And this allowed me to work smoked salmon into many meals (something they do very well in Scotland).
One benefit of doing a home exchange to a large house is the space available for workouts. Usually in such incredible hiking country I’d just spend hours in the hills exploring, but the cold and rain put a serious damper on that plan, so instead we did a lot of car-based exploring and got in a workout in the house every morning. With plenty of space it wasn’t hard to improvise a workout, and although I don’t love gym-like exercise, it turns out staring out at the lake made the squats, lunges, and other various activities far more fun.
In such a gorgeous setting it was easy to overlook and even enjoy the unusually wet cold weather during our visit. I didn’t see the Loch Ness monster, but I did see a stunning rainbow that ended in the loch right outside the window of our house, a fine consolation prize for all the rain.