The Road Less Traveled
Scotland: the land of hairy cows, haggis, whiskey and kilts, but so much more than that! If Scotland is not on your list of places around the world to see, it really should be. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really know what I signed up for when I signed up for the Scotland trip with my study abroad program. We really took the road less traveled. It was a trip full of hiking and extreme weather, but it was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience.
We spent the first night of the trip in the capital, Edinburgh. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to spend more time in the city, but it was beautiful to see at night. The majority of our group went on a ghost tour, but a few of us stayed behind and checked out Edinburgh Castle. It was so cool all lit up! Edinburgh had an eerie feeling to it — it was very quiet and the streets were dead. If I can, I’d like to go back someday just to explore a little more!
After breakfast the next morning, we boarded our “Wild & Sexy” Haggis Adventures coach. The second I saw our tour guide, Eoghain, I knew we were going to have a fun trip. He played us some Red Hot Chili Pipers, Scottish hip-hop, his favorite song about a guy named George that is still stuck in my head, he told us myths about the locations we were in that his granny told him when he was younger and we even played a game of blind date which left us with inside jokes for the rest of the trip. He was so knowledgable about his country, too! He was really the best tour guide and we had such a fun time on the coach.
The first day was the most mild because the weather was actually pretty nice! After we got out of Edinburgh, we made a toilet stop before heading to a spot called The Hermitage. It was a beautiful hike through a forest that led to a waterfall. Even in the winter, everything was so green! This was one of my favorite spots on the whole trip.
Eoghain said that we were going to have a picnic lunch that day, so we stopped by a little town that had one street and bought some sandwiches. I, also, got a cappuccino to warm me up and it was one of the best I’ve ever had! The only thing I didn’t like about this little town was that you had to pay 30p to use the toilets…but you gotta do what you gotta do I suppose.
Our “picnic” spot turned out to be barracks from the 1700s. It was such a cool spot up on a hill looking over the highlands! The only downside was that the wind made it extremely cold! I opted to finish my sandwich on the bus, but managed to get some beautiful pictures.
After lunch we drove through the highlands down to Loch Ness to try to spot Nessie! No luck there, but it was awesome to be standing on the banks of the loch. Our hostel that night was called Morag’s Lodge and it was in a teeny tiny town called Fort Augustus. It reminded me of a cabin and was very cozy, except for our room was freezing all night long! (P.S. cold showers are not fun — I am thankful for hot water.)
The next day was the harshest and longest day. We were off to Isle of Skye which is crazy beautiful, but also had the craziest weather. I can’t remember a moment where it wasn’t pouring rain outside. At our first stop, we got to play in the snow. Some people were throwing snowballs at each other! The view was breathtaking.
We made a stop at a loch and a castle then we came to the bridge that would take us over to Isle of Skye. Eoghain said, “Alright guys I’m going to drop you off at this end of the bridge and I will pick you up on the other side, see ya!” Now, this would’ve been a great walk with wonderful scenery if it wasn’t pouring and the wind wasn’t blowing so hard. I walked backwards most of the way which was easier because the rain wasn’t hitting my face. It was a spectacular view, though, and we even saw a seal in the water, but I was happy to get back on the bus afterward.
The next stop we made was the craziest of them all. We were on top of a mountain (that I wish I could remember the name of) overlooking waterfalls. We were supposed to hike down the mountain to see the waterfalls and a castle, but it was so windy and rainy that I went back to the bus after taking some photos because I thought it was dangerous to be out there. It was really indescribable. I had to try to balance myself because the wind was blowing me in all directions. It seems like almost everyone slipped and fell once because it was so muddy! Thank goodness I had my wellies, (rain boots) thanks, Andy! The rain really felt like pins hitting your face because the wind was blowing so hard. It was definitely an experience.
As we were driving to our last stop of the day, the roads were getting more narrow and windey as we traveled up the mountains. Eoghain admitted to us that he felt a little nervous every time he drove up these roads and asked us if it was okay if he put on some music to relax him. When this song started playing, I couldn’t help but laugh until my sides hurt. It was perfectly dramatic. Our final destination was higher up than our previous one, but the weather had calmed down a little bit.
The hostel we stayed in that night was called Saucy Mary’s. Saucy Mary was a woman who would reveal her breasts to sailors as they sailed off because breasts were supposed to calm the waves. I always wondered why there were topless ladies on the front of ships! Anyway, we were served a nice dinner and I took a nice, hot shower!
Our last day of adventures in Scotland included a couple of castles (one of which was part of Winterfell in Game of Thrones woo!) and one final hike up a mountain of Glencoe. The hike up wasn’t too bad, but once we got to the top it started hailing! It was about a 15 minute hike up and the view was so amazing. After this it was back to Edinburgh to catch our train back home to London.
The photos I took in Scotland really don’t do the landscapes justice! Everything is so beautiful and picturesque. Once again, I video documented the trip. Here is the video of our adventure in Scotland! Cheers!
Make sure to watch it in 720p or 1080p!