The Highlands

IMG_9529I was dressing warm for my trip to the Scottish Highlands. My fleece lined leggings, ski socks, thermals, winter coat, gloves and my winter headband. It was going to be a 12 hour tour. We were going to drive through Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, Loch Ness, Inverness, Cairn Gorm Mountains and then return to Edinburgh. It snowed the night before which made the mountains beautiful. The mountains in Scotland aren’t as tall as those in California or New Zealand, but they were still beautiful. The bus driver was halrious. He wore a kilt and had three rules. Don’t talk on your cellphone during the tour, don’t talk when he is talking, and be on time. A group of about 4 people were late for the tour and the guide gave them a hard time for it. It was funny to watch. We drove passed Sterling Castle where the William Wallace mounment is. So unfortunately I was unable to get any proper pictures because we never stopped. As we got further into the Highlands, the snow became thicker, and the scenery became more beautiful. It was now snowing and blustery again. We had reached Glen Coe where the first stop was scheduled. I was nervous. It looked awful outside. The driver said from this point we wouldn’t be able to see anything , espcially the Three Sisters which is the main attraction. He drove a little further down the road and pulled over on the other side of the hill. The snow and wind had stopped, and it even looked like the sun might break through. We stepped outside the bus and took in the amazingness that surrounded us. It was like I was back in New Zealand staring at the Southern Alps speechless. It was absolutely breathtaking. This is Scotland. Omigod, Scotland. I was not expecting this. Turns out Glen Coe has a sad history. An entire clan was murdered. Also, the area is where scences from Skyfall were filmed along with Harry Potter. We kept driving and made another bonus stop to take in the beautiful panorama that surrounded us. The sun had come out now. I needed my sungalsses in Scotland. It wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t rainy or windy either. Our next stop was Loch Ness. We arrived just in time for our tour. As soon as the boat launched, the wind and rain came. I tried to hang out up top and outside for as long as possible, one so I could see the sites, and two the inside was too crowded for my taste. We searched for Nessie, but did not see anything. We took the boat to an old run down castle, the only one on Loch Ness. Loch Ness is the second largest lake in Great Britian. Only second to the largest lake I saw in Northern Ireland. After our cruise, we returned to the bus and started the journey home. The driver wasn’t a fan of Inverness and drove quickly through it. I was exhausted. I’m pretty sure the driver is used to people falling asleep on his tour, especially in winter after nightfall, so he plays an audio tape. I peaked out the window for any Northern lights, but I was unsucessful. We arrived in Edinburgh late, but suprisingly I was no longer exhausted and decided to go check out a ghost tour. The guide told us stories of all the executions that used to go on in the square we were standing in and the street that my hotel was on. The executions were quite brutal and went on for three days. Everyone was hung, beaten, and quartered with their body parts sent to the four corners of the UK. And their heads would be spiked in London for all to see. We then went down into the vaults. It used to be a merchants quarters, then turned into an illegal merchants quarters, then turned into a place to store dead bodies sold to the medical school, and I think finally a place for hookers. She told us strange stories about things that had happened or been felt during previous ghost tours. I grabbed my cross and started rubbing it . I’ve got my own personal guardian angel, and no spirits are coming near me. The ghost tour ended around midnight. I made my way home and went to bed. Set no alarm. And woke up at 11:30 the next day. It was glorious. My last full day in Edinburgh consited of a nice run through the new part, both in age and for me. Then I toured the castle and its grounds, and finished the day by checking out the Queen of England’s Scotland castle. During the Winter, when you wake up at 11:30am you’ve killed most of your day. I was okay with it through. I had seen Edinburgh for the beautiful city it is. Tomorrow I would check out a few more things and then take the train to Glasgow. And in Glasgow I would meet my friend Rose from Ireland. What a small world.

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