My heart belongs to Scotland
Trip Start Jun 02, 2010
46Trip End Oct 03, 2010
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Where I stayed
Our tour started out Saturday the 18th of September, and from the get go I knew that I was going to have a blast. We were all doing the 7 day Island Explorer tour. This would take us through Inverness and Lock Ness area, the Isle of Lewis, The Isle of Skye and down through Glen Coe. There were only 9 of us to begin with, so we started out in a shuttle van. However, starting Sunday we would add on 13 more from the 10 day tour. The 7 of us clicked very well. We were all different and from different back grounds, but we all got on perfectly. And then there was our lovely tour guide, Alan. Alan has to be my favorite tour guide. EVER. He, of course, was Scottish and had lots of experience and knowledge so that we were constantly provided with historical information mixed in with fun anecdotes. He also wasn't afraid to tell a few inappropriate but highly entertaining jokes. I found myself always laughing, which is a glorious thing.
We did too much in our seven days for me to give you a play by play. It would be tedious for all concerned. So instead, I will give you my overall impressions. Obviously, you can tell that I was in love with the country from the very start. There is something wild, rugged, and positively breath taking about the terrain. It captures your heart and steals your soul. It would be so easy to fall into some romantic daydream about the highlands
So we made our way up to Inverness, the gateway city to the highlands. Also the capital of the Highlands. We didn't spend much time in the city itself since we had tons of ancient sights and historic castles to see. We did go out that night, however, and got to see a live band playing traditional folk music. That was fun. The next day we headed up to Loch Ness and got to see the glen where Harry Potter's lake scenes were filmed. OOOh nerdy fun times. Then we ended the night at a lovely hostel that was so homey, warm, and had a bar right there. Can someone say convenient? At this point we had added on 13 more people, and with the exception of one person, everyone got along perfectly. It was like a constant party with culture and beautiful scenery thrown in as a bonus. Could anyone ask for more? I say they could not.
We spent two nights in Fort Augustus, a lovely town right on the edge of Loch Ness. On our third day we had an entire day to ourselves, so a group of us went on a cruise of Loch Ness.
Our fifth day was when things started to get interesting. And, weather wise, miserable. As soon as we got up to the Isle of Lewis (after a rather excruciating ferry ride) the weather started to go from bad to worse. A million mile per hour winds and constant rain does not a happy Kia make
Our last full day together we spent driving around the Isle of Skye. Can we say beautiful? Holy crap. The night got even better when we began our final night party. The hostel we were staying at once again had a bar. The bar had live music. So we danced. And drank. And had a gay old time. It was one of the best times I've had on this trip. We even convinced our tour guide, Alan, to play the guitar and sing for us. Yeah, he's a musician who has played with quite a few people
Our final day we probably saw some of the best scenery. We traveled down through Skye then stopped at Eilean Donan castle, one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. From there we drove through Glen Coe, stopped to see Hamish the famous Harry Coo (what the Scottish call their Harry Cows), and the Wallace Monument. We even stopped to see the castle used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Yeah, that was cool. What wasn't cool was finding out how much of the movie Braveheart was absolute shite. Really, almost the entire thing was false. Sure, he was a man who rallied the Scots to fight for freedom, but he was also an absolute nutter. Not quite the romantic hero Mel Gibson makes him out to be. He wasn't even from the Highlands, so he would not have worn a kilt, and Highlanders NEVER painted their faces. I feel as if I have been lied to for most of my life. It was a very sad moment, but at least now I know the truth. And now I can be that obnoxious person who points out all the falsehoods about a movie. You may not want to watch Braveheart with me, or I will crush your soul.
Anyway, our final day was beautiful and enlightening, just what a tour ought to be