As I mentioned in my last post, Darcy and I went on a 10-day trip to Scotland and England back in May/June. It was our first time overseas and we had an amazing time exploring Scotland by car and London, England by “tube” and on foot. In reference to “Part 1″ of my vacation recap, Scotland has been at the top of my “must-visit” list for as long as I can remember, and this is partly because my family immigrated from Scotland way back in the 1700s, so to visit the country where my ancestors once lived was an experience like no other. I also have to admit that Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels (largely set in Scotland during the 1700s) have helped the lives of my ancestors come to life and I couldn’t wait to visit and try to imagine what the country looked like through their eyes. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to drive to the northernmost areas of Scotland where the MacKays are known to have lived, but spending four days driving around the countryside and coast, from Edinburgh, to Fort William, to Inverness, to Aberdeen, was a great way to introduce myself to my roots and have me dreaming of what I will put on my itinerary for the next time I visit!
Darcy and I took something like 400 pictures over the course of our vacation, so you can imagine how difficult it was to decide which ones to post, and even with the collection below, I have probably still overdone it. OH WELL.
Waiting at Pearson in Toronto for our overnight flight to the UK!
A roadside stop.
I have to give special props to Darcy for driving (on the “wrong” side) the entire time we were in Scotland. Yes, there were a *few* times we exchanged words about directions, but there was always one thing we could agree on – the roads were freakin’ narrow! (Note the lack of a shoulder – if you went off the road, it was straight into the stone wall!)
It seemed like the scenery in Scotland changed by the hour, which is likely why we took so many pictures!
See the steam train in the right of the frame? Darcy and I booked a ride on this train that took us through the Scottish highlands, and as an adventure that is billed on the website as one of the best railway journeys in the world, we agree that it was worth every penny!
The train ride stops at a fishing village called Mallaig, where you “alight” for about two hours before going home. While wandering around town, we happened upon our first UK pharmacy. Thumbs-up!
A quick photo-op before we got back on the train.
The first time we approached this trestle, my pictures were disastrous because so many other passengers were in the way, but on the way back, I asked if I could horn in on the space belonging to the people across from us. There are still a stranger’s hands in the picture, but at least this amazing stone structure is visible. Apparently it was used in the Harry Potter movies, which definitely gives it more cache. (I read the series recently, but have not seen the movies, so I assume the trestle was used in the scenes with the students on their way to Hogwarts…?)
New day. New roadside stop.
Different scenery yet again!
It had just finished raining, and while we also had our fair share of sun, what would a trip to Scotland be without some rain?!
This is one of our favourite pictures of the trip. We think I could be standing in front a mural!
Grass, forest, ocean, farmland, hills, valleys, and mountains – Scotland, you have it all!
This was approaching some of the strangest scenery of the trip – that black, craggy rock in the distance was otherworldly.
Minus the pavement, this is historical-fiction heaven!
We didn’t yield; we gave way.
Even going into convenience stores was a thrill for me because of all the different foodstuffs to explore!
On our second-last night in Scotland, we stayed at this AirBNB booking in Inverness. It was a great experience that ended in our best breakfast of the entire trip.
The next morning, we spent about three hours exploring the Culloden museum, battlefield, and gift shop. I have Diana Gabaldon to thank for my slight obsession with this battle, and to actually stand on the field and see my many visualizations coming to life was too fantastic to describe. (Plus, the MacKay clan was also part of the Scots’ side that fought here against the British in 1745. It gave me chills to imagine what happened here!)
Darcy was probably pretty sick of my references to Jamie Fraser, but come on!
One last look out over the battlefield before getting back on the road.
We stopped in at a couple distilleries along the whiskey trail but brought home only one full-sized bottle. I shake my fist at you, luggage restrictions!
Our last picture taken in Scotland was one of the “Granite City,” Aberdeen. So long, Scotland, it was a blast!