Scottish Weekend Part I

Last weekend I went on an journey worthy of Bilbo Baggins. Perhaps it wasn’t quite that epic, but I was brave and adventurous and the scenery was breathtaking. How was I brave, you may ask? Well, I went on a two day trip across Scotland with a bunch of uni students whom I didn’t know. To anyone else, this would be nothing to worry about, but for someone who has anxiety, this is no mean feat. However, by the end of the trip I had 4 new friends, a newfound appreciation for Scotland’s beauty, and a deep gratitude for God’s blessings.

The trip started at Loch Lomond. Apparently there are are over 30,000 lochs in Scotland, but only one lake. Long ago, some English dude named a should-be-loch a lake, and the name has stuck ever since. Yes, loch means lake in Gaelic, but this is Scotland. You’ve got to get your facts straight otherwise they’ll get hot headed and throw haggis at you or something. But what do I know, I’m American.

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Boats resting peacefully on Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond is also notably mentioned in the Scottish folk song that goes “you’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low, but I’ll be in Scotland before ye.” As the group was driving around the loch towards the next destination, our guide played the Loch Lomond song. As cheesy as it sounds, this was the first time I truly felt like I was in Scotland – the beautiful scenery along with the rhythmic folk song really tied everything together for me.

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Mountains behind the loch.

However, nothing would prepare me for the rollercoaster of feels that would hit me as we approached Glencoe. I don’t know if y’all have seen James Bond or not, but this girl right here is a pretty big fan. In the most recent 007 movie, Skyfall, some of the scenes were filmed on the road to Glencoe. Naturally, the tour guide played the Skyfall theme song sung by Adele. Naturally, I almost started crying. Can you blame me?

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On the road to Glencoe.

By the time we actually arrived in Glencoe, I was an emotional melange of childhood-esque excitement and peaceful nostalgia. To say the least, I was a bit of a mess. However, I managed to make my way down one of the hills to take some photos of Glencoe itself. I may or may not have accidentally stepped on a thistle bush and got stabbed. Minus a sore foot, all was well. At least I got a nice photo out of it.

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Panorama of Glencoe aka the Three Sisters.

Glencoe is also known as the Three Sisters, due to the three peaks. Don’t tell anyone, but I can’t tell them apart. I don’t think they mind though.

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Artsy fartsy photo of wildflowers and Glencoe.

After running back up the hill while managing to avoid falling on my face and stepping on anymore plants, we made our way to the town of Fort William to have lunch. I decided to be adventurous and have a pulled pork BBQ baked potato from Morrisons. It wasn’t a very good adventure to be honest. Scottish BBQ has nothing on good old American BBQ. Nonetheless, Fort William was a nice little town with a nice little view.

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A small part of town next to a huge loch.

Oh yeah, did I say nice? I meant stunning. It was a stunning view indeed. There was a wee hill with a lot of brightly colored flowers and really adorable children trotting around. I didn’t take photos of the children, because that would be stalker-ish. I did, however, take photos of the flowers.

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Flowers and boats and lochs and wee towns and big mountains.

After our short stay in Fort William, our guide informed us that we would be taking the scenic route up to the Isle of Sky… as if we hadn’t been taking the scenic route this entire time. Little did I know that this scenic route would involve seeing a castle.

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Eilean Donan Castle.

Apparently this is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. Given the amount of photos I took, along with the rest of the group I was with, I think it’s safe to say that this castle will hold the top spot for a while. According to the informational board outside the castle, Bishop Donan chose to settle and build a Monastic cell in this lovely spot in 634AD. Although it was ruined in the 18th century, it was restored to its former glory 200 years later and is what we currently see today.

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Another view of the castle.

All I can say is you’ve done good, Bishop. You’ve done good. After popping into the gift shop to restore warmth to my body and browse the extensive selection of post cards, we headed off to our final destination – the Isle of Skye.

Now, I don’t mean to disappoint, but I’m going to stop the adventure here so I can create a separate post about the Isle of Skye. I hope you enjoyed reading about part one of my journey, and if you didn’t enjoy reading then I hoped you liked the pictures. See y’all at the next post 🙂

~ Ailish

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