Scenic Scotland

Hiya! So surprise! I wrote another blog post this week 🙂 I was in Scotland this past weekend visiting the lovely Alice (go read her blog, she has some exciting trips coming up next week). Emily and Cindy also joined me on this adventure. And all I can say holy cow! It was so beautiful!

This trip was a little different than my past weekend trips, I decided to leave on a Thursday rather than Friday. I only have one class on Friday so I wasn’t missing too much. I took the train from London to Edinburgh, where Alice is studying. The ride wasn’t too bad! It was a 4 hour and 3o minute journey, so I took that time to relax, get some reading done as well as edit a video for my video production class. I left mid morning and by mid afternoon I was in Scotland! It was a sunny day so I caught some beautiful glimpse of the English/Scottish countryside. Once I arrived in Edinburgh it was just a short walk to the hostel. I didn’t know too much about this one though, Emily’s friend stayed there a few weekends back and she recommended it to us. So I was a little nervous especially because I didn’t know where I was going and I was by myself, Emily and Cindy were meeting us later, they were flying in. But luckily the hostel was right off of the main street in the Old Town side of Edinburgh called the Royal Mile. The walk was only 5 minutes from the train station, and I was able to find it very quickly (God bless GoogleMaps).

I met Alice at the hostel and we took off for the Edinburgh Castle. It was beautiful! The sun was setting and created a halo around the castle. It was magical. We then walked down the hill towards the bottom of the rock outcropping that the castle sits on. We grabbed tea at a cafe Alice frequents then headed back up to the train station to meet Emily and Cindy, where their bus dropped them off. After Emily and Cindy got settled into our room it was dinner time! We all decided on a Nando’s, and it was Alice’s first time experiencing the deliciousness! Once we got back to the hostel, we met an awesome girl named Hannah. She is on an internship in Dublin and was travelling by herself. We invited her to join us on our adventures the next day.

We decided to get up early to go hike Arthur’s Seat, a little mountain just on the outskirts of Edinburgh. I realized how small the city is at this point because it was a 10 minute walk from our hostel and we were walking the trails. Looking up at the summit I immediately regretted the decision to go on that hike. But as we got going, I realized it wasn’t too bad. It put me back in Vermont and our many hikes over the years there. Although this scenery was a much different than the trees along the mountains in Vermont, there were small shrubs along some of the paths, the views were just as good. The mountain became rockier as we reached the summit almost creating steps to the top. It was strangely foggy once we got to the to the top so we couldn’t see much of the city of Edinburgh, but we could see the city behind it towards the sea.

Hannah took this photo

We spent a few minutes at the top but then made our way back down. Along the way we stopped at a the Ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel. It was so cool to see! We continued on our way back to the city where we stopped for lunch at a place called Oink. Its a BBQ restaurant where they get 1 pig per day and serve sandwiches until they run out of meat. And oh boy was it delicious, probably because we spent the entire morning hiking but that doesn’t matter. We continued our way through Old Town where we got to see Alice’s apartment.  We then walked up to another area of Old Town where we climbed another hill called Calton Hill. There are some beautiful views of the city. After this I decided to grab a quick nap before heading back out for some dinner at one of the pubs along the Royal Mile.

The next day we were up super early again to go on a tour of the Highlands for the day. This was by far my favorite part of the trip! The views were like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I highly recommend doing a tour like this if you get the chance especially if you have an extra day to spare.

We headed west, outside of Edinburgh then where we headed north west up into the highlands. The Highlands are situated between two fault lines and the area is scattered with tons of mountains. So the landscape changed dramatically as we went along. We continued traveling north through the mountains with stops here and there at vistas, and different lochs (lakes). Our northern most stop was Loch Ness at Fort Augustus. We stopped for lunch at this cute little restaurant along the loch itself. And no, unfortunately I did not see Nessie.

After some time in Fort Augustus we headed back south for a bit then south east towards Perth. This Perth, by the way is the original Perth. It was founded before the Perth in Australia was. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and he had so much information about Scotland. He was so interesting to listen to the entire trip. A highlight of our journey was driving along the road they filmed a few scenes of Skyfall on. We also saw the forest where Hagrid’s house was built for the Harry Potter movies.

I know its hard to picture how much ground we covered throughout our day so I made a Google Map outline the routes we took and where we stopped. Take a look!

We arrived back in Edinburgh at 8pm that same day. We grabbed some fish and chips with Alice and hung out in the hostel for the night. I had a freaking early flight the next morning, I had to leave for the airport at 4am, so I turned in early. Or at least so I thought, I ended up only getting 2 hours of sleep. So that was fun! I literally got back to my room at school and fell back asleep for the rest of the morning.

But despite the lack of sleep, I had so much fun! Scotland is so beautiful and I definitely plan to come back very soon to explore the Highlands and even Northern Scotland. I also made a video of the trip so take a look!

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