There are two things that I am very passionate about: my writing and Scotland. And, at long last, my dream came true and I was finally able to experience Scotland in September. It isn’t the type of thing I usually write about here, but it was amazing and I thought I would share a little of it with you.
I traveled with a CIE tour group and they did a wonderful job. Our driver, Kieran, was fearless and our guide, Iona, was phenomenal, entertaining and very, very knowledgeable. I just hope I didn’t butcher their names too badly.
This is the Newton Hotel that we stayed at in Nairn, along with one of their resident “heiland coos”.
The Scottish history, architecture, scenery and people were all mesmerizing. This is the Glasgow Cathedral where they still hold mass every week. I was fortunate enough to be there when the choir was practicing and, between the atmosphere and the music, it was absolutely hauntingly beautiful. I can’t even come up with the appropriate words to describe the feelings that came over me when I was inside. It is something that you just have to experience for yourself.
Glasgow itself was fun to explore. I spent a little time on Sauciehall Street which is only open to pedestrians and has all kinds of shops and restaurants on it. Then I made my way to Kensingrove Museum and Art Gallery.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t open, so I explored a nearby park and the area around Glasgow University which is in the photo below.
The weather was overcast and rainy quite a bit, but the scenery was still breath-taking and ruggedly beautiful. Looking out at these views, I could swear that Mel Gibson was standing somewhere up on those mountains, wearing his kilt from Braveheart.
We stopped at Loch Ness and took a boat tour. Nessie was not cooperative that day and didn’t come out to visit, not that we know of anyway.
Then we were off to St. Andrews, which I found to be quite unique because it’s a beautiful college town and there were students everywhere you turned, bringing youth and a certain modernness along with them, all against the backdrop of this amazing history and architecture. The ruins of St. Andrew’s Cathedral are so impressive that it’s hard to imagine what an enormous and imposing structure it must have been in its day.
And then we made our way to Edinburgh. Unfortunately, we were unable to visit the Edinburgh Castle because there were gale force winds that day and the tours were cancelled.
I was disappointed, but now have another reason to go back again. And, it did give us an opportunity to tour Holyrood Castle instead, which is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth. While there I was able to walk through Mary Queens of Scots’ quarters, where she was held prior to being executed. That was surreal, like stepping back in time.
We had a fun and entertaining Scottish Evening in Edinburgh, complete with a bagpiper, singers, dancers and, of course, The Address to Haggis!
And before I knew it, I was on a plane heading back home. For years I’ve been obsessed with Scotland for some reason, it didn’t let me down and I can’t wait to visit again. This is just a tiny bit of what I was able to see and experience and I would highly recommend a trip there to everyone.
If you have any interest in other articles about Scotland itself, its food or, well, pretty much anything Scottish, please check out myplaidheart.com. Wendy has great articles and photos and she helped inspire me to actually make my trip a reality.
Now it’s time to get back to my other passion and start working on my next novel. It was just a little hard to concentrate when I was in a land whose history is far more dramatic than any fiction I could ever create.
Thanks for joining me, I’ll see you next month.