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The Life & Adventures of Laura The triumphs and tribulations of UK living & teaching.

A Highland Fling

UNITED KINGDOM | Wednesday, 3 June 2015 | Views [271]

I’ll admit I wasn’t really in the mood for Scotland. To say the least, school here has stressed me out and by the time it came to the end of term, spending a week curled up in my doona was sounding pretty attractive. Despite my initial lack of enthusiasm, I packed my bags and headed off to Gatwick Airport to meet Pete and start our journey.

I had heard great things about Scotland, and in particular Edinburgh, so despite being weary, inside I was really looking forward to seeing it for myself. Upon arrival, we clambered on to a huge two story bus that was lit up with white and pink fluorescent lights and was scattered with backwards and forwards facing seats with tables in the middle of them. By then it was 11pm at night, and I wasn’t too sure if I was in a bus, a nightclub or a mobile brothel. Luckily the journey was uneventful and in about 45 minutes we were in Edinburgh and safely checked into our hotel.

Edinburgh is an old city. The old town boasts beautiful gothic style buildings and the castle sits high above the town on top of an extinct volcano. It was here we chose to venture first. More like a walled city than a castle, the complex hosts a range of buildings varying in nature from the Scottish Crown Jewels, to a museum dedicated to war.

We had a stunning day of 19 degrees and sunshine so we sat out in the sun for a light lunch. Being a long weekend, the city was alive with music and a parade and more than its fair share of bucks and hens parties parading about in fancy dress (lets just say some of the costumes clearly revealed ‘what’ was under that kilt!).

Unfortunately, Sunday was not predicted to be as nice as Saturday, so we decided to head out on the train and explore Glasgow. I can honestly say other than a few statues that had been vandalised; having lunch at the pub was the highlight. Glasgow is a city of much change and subsequently it has very little architectural evidence of its history still standing. Unlike the historic and majestic Edinburgh, it just simply did not have the same appeal to us, so we headed back after a few hours.

Monday meant saying goodbye to Pete (alas, some of us have to work) and heading out on my tour. Things did not start well, with us walking half way (up hill I might add) to the meeting point for me to exclaim, “I’ve left my handbag behind”. Being the obliging gentleman that he is, Pete volunteered to run back to the hotel to get it for me so I wouldn’t be late for my check in. Fearing being chased by the police for running through town with a ladies handbag, he took the sensible step of catching a taxi back to meet me. At least it made for a funny introductory story when I got on the bus!

We quickly made our way out of the city and headed towards Loch Ness. I had always pictured Loch Ness to be small enough that you could essentially see its boundaries and for it to be covered in green rolling hills. The view was quite different and it turns out Loch Ness is massive. I guess that makes finding Nessie all that much harder.

We had originally entertained the idea of moving to Scotland instead of England, but after this trip, I am really glad we didn’t! The highland weather is extremely unpredictable, and although it is beautiful, the number of warm, clear days is limited to about 20 a year. One thing is for sure, the skies are certainly bluer, the landscape more dramatic and the clouds drift across the sky in more complex colours and patterns than you would ever see back in Australia.

This trip I visited Edinburgh, Glasgow, Loch Ness, Inverness, Isle of Skye & Oban.

Some of the highlights of my trip were: cruising Loch Ness (I spotted her…honest!), dancing at a Ceilidh, eating Haggis, seeing Edinburgh (in the sunshine no less), meeting new friends, enjoying the spectacular scenery, riding over the Glenfinnan viaduct on the Jacobite Steam train, waking up to the sun at 4:30am and not having it set until 11pm (only good if you have good curtains!), seeing ‘Highland Coos’, eating a deep fried Mars Bar (naughty but good - thanks Kate!)

Tags: edinburgh, glasgow, haggis, inverness, isle of skye, loch ness, oban, scotland

 

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