I finally get round to writing to you, to thank you for 10 days filled with adventure as we- armed with walking boots, waterproofs and a flask- drove up and across 1100 miles with too many incredible views to count along the way.
So yes, 10 days and it wasn’t nearly enough- every time one activity passed, I found another place I wanted to go, another walk to take, another sight to see. My journey’s going to have to be repeated in future with more stops along the way. I really want to go to some of the more remote places next time too when we’ll camp beneath the stars, go to the Isles and have no phone signal or wifi.
Out first stop this trip was Edinburgh – the creepy, eery city that maintains a paramount beauty with its iconic castle as backdrop with its locals that sound like they’re always singing. We parked in the park and ride (there’s only one you can leave the car overnight but if you don’t mind a 20 minute bus journey into the centre it’s a cheap way to leave your car with fares £1.30 per person each way but parking free).
We took a Mercat Ghost Tour and had the opportunity to see the haunted underground vaults. The guide was excellent and the tales were creepy. The next day we took a hike up to the top of Arthur’s Seat to see the city from the opposite angle. The hike wasn’t as easy as One Day and Anne Hathaway would have you beleive but it’s well worth it. I enjoyed a can of iIrn Bru at the top.
On leaving Edinburgh we drove through part of the Highlands. The scale and beauty was breathtaking- and also convinced me that I definitely want to drive the West Coast of the US at some point soon. Speaking of scale, who knew that all those Lochs – particularly across the Great Glen were quite so huge? No wonder finding Nessie is so tricky! We stopped for a picnic on a Loch (the name of which escapes me) en route to our next destination.
We visited The Loch Ness Exhibition Centre which tells of the scientific attempts at proving (or disproving) the legend. Since the 1930s there’s been histeria surrounding the reported sightings, some have been hoaxes (like the Daily Mail ‘journalist’ who faked footprints using a giant ashtray) and others seem genuine. I for one believe the monster is there – in fact I was convinced I saw a sign of her…
We stayed in Inverness after Edinburgh and there was less going on in the centre than cosmopoitan Edinburgh. It’s a great please to stay, though because it’s a short drive to loads of interesting places. We drove up to Chanonry Point where for the first time in my life I witnessed dolphins swimming in the wild.
Our next stop was Fort William where we took the gondala up Glen Nevis. The gondala allows everyone, proficient walker or not to see the magnificent views. It was so fresh and peaceful up there and I practiced some mindfulness after watching the mist come as quickly as it had gone and listened afterwards to the terrific silence that sourrounded me.
There was a change of pace for our next and final stop of the trip; Glasgow, you beauty. I’ll be back soon. The Science Centre was fantastic – and, yes I’ll be recommending- and then there are the eateries and other museums! The Charles Rennie Mackintosh House (recommended to us) was oddly modern and if ever anything ever inspired me to want to decorate it’s that.
So, yes you may not get the weather like a trip abroad can promise but pack a raincoat and some walking boots and have an adventure. Visit the distilleries and ‘have a wee dram’. See the sights. Breath in the fresh, crisp air. Have your breath taken.
Scotland, you’re well worth the visit.
I’ll see you soon, I hope. I want to see your biggest secrets and most remote attractions