It’s time to fill you in on my recent trip to Scotland! Scotland, Edinburgh specifically, was my intended destination when I first moved over here before fate whisked me away to Cheltenham. I had always intended to come back for a proper trip. Scotland is home to roughly 5 million of the UK’s 65 million population. The country is probably most famous for, at least in North America, for providing the historical context for Braveheart. The country is also well known for its infinite beauty as this entry will illustrate.
I had some very special company for this journey in the form of my favourite redhead Jennifer Bishop! Scotland was the last stop of a whirlwind tour for Jen which consisted of stopovers in Iceland and Norway! The primary theme of her trip was hiking up steep things and we managed a few climbs during our week together.
Our adventure kicked off in Edinburgh, Scotland’s charming capital city. This marked my first return since I first landed in the UK last October. Hard to believe its almost been a year now that I moved here! There will probably be a separate entry in a months time where I attempt (and likely fail) to sum up my first year in the UK and what it’s meant to me. Stay tuned.
Our first day in Edinburgh consisted of hugs and giggles as well as a quick tour around Edinburgh to take in some of the obvious sites such of Edinburgh Castle and of course, a walk up to Arthur’s Seat.
Our trip was only 7 days so to keep things efficient we had planned out most of what we wanted to do ahead of time. Basic idea was to rent a car to drive and camp our way around Scotland.
The first stop of the trip was Loch Lomond for a few hikes and a walk around Loch Katrine. Everything we looked at here was stunning and we easily could have spent the entire week here.
Next, we hiked up Ben Nevis which is the largest peak in the UK. As mentioned, Jen is a seasoned climber and this was a relatively small peak for her but it was my largest ascent. I proposed the idea that we run up it to make it a bit of a challenge for her but she politely declined. The trail up to Ben Nevis is well trodden and we saw 100s of fellow hikers making the climb. And a lot of young kids as well. It’s nice to see parents getting their kids out for this sort of thing. May have been less crowded if we were climbing a hill in the US. One of the first things I noticed when I moved to the UK is that mostly everyone is in decent shape. Also, they tend to not eat like complete shitheads (though there is an abundance of biscuit consumption!)
The climb up Ben Nevis stirred up a bit of a desire (it doesn’t take much with me) to climb other peaks. I have a career break planned for sometime in the not too distant future which will likely feature a trip to Africa and possibly a jaunt of Kilimanjaro. Though I have heard that altitude sickness makes it pretty unpleasant…
Our next destination took us to the Isle of Skye which is one of the islands off the coast of the mainland. I am really going to have to just let the pictures do the talking here because the place is absolutely stunning. It has a distinct Middle Earth feeling about it. I kept expecting a fuck tonne of orcs to pour over the mountains. Then I’d look behind me to see Aragorn charging up on horseback, stopping to toss me and Jen a couple of broadswords, give a stirring speech before we were all engulfed in a 4-day long battle killing off legions of orcs. Seriously, my entire time there it felt like this was a real possibility. Fortunately (unfortunately), this did not happen.
Now for a Travelling with Matt story. While on the Isle of Skye we went to check out a beach. Both being Nova Scotians, we are accustomed to being close to the water and a beach has a natural pull on our souls. When we arrived we drove through the narrow parking area looking for a spot to park. Well, I guess it was a busy day or something because there weren’t many spots available. I got to the end of the parking lot empty-handed and had to turn around. Just a couple point turn and I would be on my way out and on the search for other parking options. So I back up to turn around and in the process come quite close to the ditch in front of me. No problem, I’ll just pop the car in reverse and all will be sorted. Unfortunately, I was driving one of those fuckers where reverse and 1st is the same position (almost all cars are manuals in the UK). There’s a button you have to press to switch between the two. Well, I forgot about the fucking button this one time and found myself unhappily in the ditch. Jen, of course, found all of this hilarious while I was quite flustered. After a few failed attempts of trying to back out, we enlisted the help of 10 or so travellers to help shove us out. The cast included a 70-year-old woman who fell during the effort. Don’t worry. She was alright and also found the whole thing fucking hilarious. The funniest part of the whole thing is that the Isle of Skye is fairly small and has a couple of well combed over tourist spots so we kept running into these folks over and over again. There were the middle-aged German couple and our personal favourite, Infinite Calf Guy and his family. I reckon ICG could have pushed the car out on his own…
Our final destination was Glasglow which is Scotland’s largest city. Nothing too exciting happened here. This was simply the place both of us were departing from. Though Glasglow did have a distinct Halifax feel to it. I may have to get up there for a race sometime.
Hope you’ve enjoyed!