Adventure into the Scottish Highlands

Trip Start Aug 18, 2011
Trip End Jul 02, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Sunday, December 4, 2011

On Saturday and Sunday I took a bus tour through the Scottish Highlands. It was great to see the countryside with its picturesque lochs, glens, mountains, waterfalls, and villages. Our tour group was lucky to get to see the mountains with and without snow with the timing of a snowstorm in the middle of our trip. Our tour guide, Gary, said the tour bus might not make it all the way for the rest of the year until Spring because of the snow. 

Gary was great, he knew the story behind every little bend on our journey. His life story was really interesting too. He's been giving tours for the past seven years and was telling us about some of his trips mountain climbing. We'd pass by huge mountains and he'd tell us which one's he'd climbed. 

Our journey started from Edinburgh with our first stop in Stirling to see a view of Stirling Castle and then go into the William Wallace Monument. Inside, I got to see William Wallace's sword. After seeing the sword and listing to the Braveheart soundtrack on the way into the city, I was ready to put on a kilt and go into battle. The views from the top of the monument were phenomenal, with Stirling Castle on one side, the city below and mountains in the distance.

After that, we took off to go into the Scottish Highlands. We took a quick lunch break in a small village (I don't recall the name) right on the edge of the mountains. At Loch Lubnaig, we took a stop for some pictures before going to see Rob Roy's Grave, a ruined church and a small waterfall. In the city of Killin, we got to see the Falls of Dochart, which was really pretty with the village behind it. 

We took two more stops that day before dark set in, one at a another loch and another in Glencoe. Glencoe was really pretty, and by the time we were driving through the last half of the glen, it was getting dark and I felt like the mountains were going to fall on me, because they were so big. The story behind Glencoe is quite sad. It was the sight of the massacre of the McDonald Clan by the British Army. The McDonalds took the soldiers into their homes as guests and fed them before the British soldiers massacred the whole clan. They were sent there to kill them, because the MacDonalds were 7 days late in pledging their allegiance to the new (Protestant) king and queen, William and Mary

We spent the night in Fort William on the west coast of Scottland. In the morning we set off through some more of the Highlands to Eilean Donan Castle. The castle is on an island surrounded by three lochs set in the mountains. It's definitely a sight worth seeing if you're in Scotland. I can honestly say it was one of the top five most beautiful thing's I've ever seen, if not the most. The castle was filmed in the movie Made of Honor, if you've happened to have seen it.

We then got to see Glen Shiel battlefield, the site of the last battle between foreign troops and the British Army, who were fighting the Jacobites and the Spanish.

What trip of Scotland would be complete without looking for the Loch Ness Monster? I took my try at our stop at Loch Ness, but didn't see anything. There was a fog rolling in over the lake when we were there, so it added a bit of extra spookiness to the area. 

After getting some dinner in a small village, we drove back to Edinburgh, where I spent the rest of the day touring the city before my flight back. 

I was so glad I took the Highland tour. It was well worth the money for the scenery we got to see and I got to see my first European snow. I have to admit that the mountains did make me a little homesick for West Virginia. I'd gladly go back and tour other areas of the Highlands if I ever get the chance later in life. 

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