Hairy coos and standing stones
Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
23Trip End Dec 16, 2009
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Anyway, in 6 days we packed in a massive amount of stuff so to avoid a list type scenario I've decided to give you my five highlights. Plus probably some more ramble at the end when I remember five more things that were fantastic!
1. The accomodation was really good - not typical youth hostels. The first night we had this great cabin right on a massive loch. Waking up to that view was awesome! The scond night we were high up on the hills on the Ilse of Skye and that view was pretty awesome too. The night we stayed there we could see the Northern Lights. They werent that spectaular because we werent quite far north enough but still it was a pretty glow in the sky. Coolest accommodation was on the Isle of Harris, which is an island in the far north west of Scotland, so about as far away from Australia as you could get! There was a village of old 'Blackhouses', which are traditional drystone houses with thatched rooves. They are built partly into the ground and the traditional ones had no chimneys. This meant that when you lit a fire inside the walls eventually turned black from the soot and smoke, hence the name. Ours was traditional on the outside but had been converted with a modern kitchen, bathrooms and fireplace inside. We stayed there two nights and it was so much fun
2. Ok that last one was a long one but this is an easy highlight to explain - wild dolphines! We went out on a fishing boat on a sea loch and saw a pair of dolphins. It's apparently rare for them to come in so far inland. They stayed and played around the boat for about half and hour and we all just stood there mesmorised. I was so so excited by that. Its the closest Ive ever been to a dolphin in the wild. On wildlife - I also saw a red squirrel, which are the rare ones.
3. Scottish beaches. I was not sure about this, but they actually do have really beautiful beaches with proper white sand. The beaches reminded me a lot of Wilson's Prom. The becahes are probably even more untouched than Wilson's (well the ones we went to anyway). It was absolutely freezing and often raining though, which did reduce their appeal a bit.
4. Standing stones at Callandish and Clava. Saw two different types of standing stone circles. Unlike Stonehenge you're actually allowed to got right up to the stones and touch them. Callandish also had a very nice tourist shop and one of the best hot chocolates ever (the fact that it was approx 8 degrees and pouring rain may have something to do with that)
5. Hermitage walk. This was a beautiful walk we did through a bit of forst which was given to a Duke? I think as a pleasure garden/forest. Kinky! Was a beautiful old forest with a huge stream running through it and a series of little buildings and riuns, even a cave. There were blueberries growing there which we ate as we walked. Plus I saw wild salmon jumping up the river. They have to go upstream to spawn, a very tricky task!
Ok you're probably all Scotland-ed out. I'm in London now at a very well set up hostel (thanks for the recommendation Lot!). This arvo Im flying out to Switzerland then on to Northern Italy.
PS - just added pics from Scotland to this entry. Enjoy!