My Highland (and other Scotland) Adventures

Hello!

I’m so excited to tell you all about Scotland. And sadly, no, I did not find my Jamie Fraser… (but any redhead scots reading this, the comment section is below 😉 haha!)

Flying from Cork, we landed in Edinburgh and picked up our rental car and headed for the city. Our first night in Edinburgh was more of a touch base and a much needed rest. From there we headed to the Isle of Skye. You better believe I played the intro song from Outlander on our way there.

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone. 

Say could that lass be I?

Merry of soul she sailed on a day

Over the sea to Skye

And that’s what we did. Well, minus the sailing. As soon as we started driving towards the North, the scenery began to change. In Ireland, everything is lush and this bright Kelly green; almost like all the grass and plants are young and just beginning life. In Scotland, everything is also lush, but it is a deep forest green that gives a feeling of maturity; like the land has lived a long life and has stories to tell. 

I know I probably sound off my rocker, but that’s truly the feeling you get when you see the stunning landscapes; especially when you are in the valley with the Highland mountains imposing all around you.

It took us forever to drive up to Skye because we wanted to stop at every castle and outlook to take in the highlands as much as possible. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the drive.

Duke of Sandringham’s estate in Outlander.
“Stress of Paris” in Outlander.
Outlander’s “Lallybroch”
Edit
Near “Lallybroch” and a filming spot for season 3 of Outlander!
“Lallybroch”
“Lallybroch” and also the heart wrenching scene where Jamie is whipped.
Outlander used this castle as Fort Williams, Black Jack Randall’s military base.

Once we arrived, it was well past midnight and sleep was taking over. The next morning we woke up to the cutest coastal town view that we completely missed the night before. There were sailboats, little shops, docks, and colorful houses lining the coast.


We then went on our way to Inverness, but of course, stopped whenever we saw anything awe inspiring… which was a lot!


While in Inverness, we saw Nessie! Okay…so we saw Loch Ness, not necessarily Nessie, but! She could have been under the water just swimming around. So, there is a technical possibility we “saw her” and I’m going to hold on to that!

Our hotel was actually an old estate or palace, with an absolutely beautiful front entrance. So beautiful in fact, that we didn’t think it was our place and turned around!

They gave us robes and we had dinner and breakfast at the hotel restaurant which was AMAZING. Have you ever tried pigeon before? No, me either. Until now! I also had this watermelon beet salad that was out of this world; and it was probably my first healthy meal since I arrived in Europe.

We also visited a Celtic burial ground and I was able to live out my Outland “Craig na Dun” fantasy. Unfortunately, I was not transported to another time and it was slightly anticlimactic because of it. We did go at dusk to give it an extra eerie feeling though!

The next morning we went to the battlefield of Culloden, which is where the final battle led by the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Scottish clans verse the British was held. If you watch Outlander (and if you don’t, a history lesson!), you’ll know that it was a bloody and unsportsmanlike battle by the British… and after the defeat, the clans were broken up on orders from the King. As my friend who lives in Aberdeen put it, “I always get a dark and sad feeling when visiting Culloden… there was just too much death that happened there.” And she was right, there was a sullen feeling surrounding the area, even in a bright and beautiful morning.

One of the many headstones used to mark the grave sites of the different Scottish clans on Culloden’s battlefield. Also, used in Outland to mark the Fraser clan (i.e. Jamie Fraser).

Next, I took a side trip without the parents to Aberdeen to visit my friend Jess! It was a great break and an even better time to see her and to see “her Scotland” as I put it. It included some great tapas and paella, an basically empty Irish pub with the singer singing towards the wall…, a hilarious karaoke bar with lots of sad songs and Frozen being sung (Let It Go never sounded so off key), and a rave-like nightclub that made me feel like a dancing sardine (but it was so much fun)! All-in-all, a pretty amazing trip. I also got to talk to some Scots about American stereotypes and that was hilarious.

From Aberdeen, I took a train to Edinburgh for my final days in Scotland (this is where you, as the audience, collectively say “awwwww”). Dad and I hiked to Arthur’s seat. Which no one knows how it got its name. It’s either the place where Camelot is thought to have been or the Wiki page states “William Maitland proposed that the name was a corruption of Àrd-na-Said (Gaelic), implying the “Height of Arrows”, which over the years became Arthur’s Seat.” The pictures below are from the top, almost 1000 ft. in elevation

We also visited the Edinburgh castle and went on a ghost tour of the “Lost City.” The city was never truly lost, but was covered up by the Edinburg government because of the horrid living conditions of its residents. There was no ventilation, sewer and waste everywhere, and death and disease spread rapidly. In an effort to make it seem like those conditions never were, the underground stone “apartments” were permanently closed and hidden by new infrastructure. It wasn’t until two drunk tourists accidentally fell through a weak spot in the ground and stumbled upon the “Lost City” that the city saw light again. Now, it’s used for ghost tours, which I obviously was excited to experience! I didn’t see any ghost, but definitely has a lot of heebie-jeebies. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take a lot of pictures because it was so dark, but here are some pictures of Edinburgh Castle and views from the top!

All in all, Scotland has my heart and I’ll have to make another trip back to see more of the highlands (my favorite!), eat more delicious breakfasts, and hopefully find my Jamie Fraser. 

See you all in London!

Sarah

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