I'm Not A Tour Guide But... Scotland Part 2
We have covered Edinburgh, now lets talk about the rest of Scotland!
As the title mentions, my last post about Scotland was about its capital –Edinburgh. I had a lot to say about to place, mostly because this is where I live and I make a point in going on adventures pretty regularly within the city. That being said there are many other places in Scotland that deserve a lengthy HIH travel post, but I’ll try to make it as to the point as possible (key words here try….).
Glasgow is like the cooler sibling of Edinburgh…Glasgow is more modern, and has a massive music and entertainment culture. The architecture is vastly different too; obviously holding on to some older structure, but with places like the Hydro and the armadillo (yes…) filling the landscape you can’t help but notice the modern twist to the place. When I first came over to Scotland years ago with my two girlfriends, we all fell in love with Glasgow. I was convinced I was going to be moving there after leaving the city. With it only being a 45 min train ride from Edinburgh it’s also an easy day trip to do, or even for a night event!
NORTH BERWICK/St ANDREWS/STIRLING
These two destinations are perfect day trips!
NB is a small coastal town with another hill to hike called North Berwick Law to get that HIH moment, accompanied by an amazing view! At the top of the Law you’ll see a whalebone, although it has recently been replaced by a replica since the original was starting to decay. It has a lovely beach, which is mobbed when it's a sunny day out here; actually, any green space or beach is mobbed when the sun comes out in Scotland.
You may have known the name St Andrew’s for two reasons: golf and the Royal Family.
If you are an avid golfer you probably have heard of the Old Course in St Andrews, it is meant to be one of the most famous golf courses in the world! It is free to walk around the course and there are paths for the public, just keep an eye out for balls flying around.
The University of St Andrews is one of the most renowned academic institutions and has an impressive list of alumni with John Knox who was a fierce opponent of Mary, Queen of Scots (yes, the university is pretty old), and some notable recent one of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! Yes, this is where they met!
Next up is Stirling. I love Stirling actually, it's a small town, but with so much history! If you have seen the movie braveheart you may recognize the next name I will talk about….William Wallace! There is a William Wallace monument in Stirling to honour his battle for Scotland, this monument is up a hill and towers over the city alongside Stirling Castle.
Stirling Castle is another castle on a hill (I am noticing a pattern here, it may or may not have to do with military strategy and the fact that it’s harder to invade a castle if it’s on a hill…). Stirling was home to many Kings and Queens including none of then Mary, Queen of Scots as well as her son who was also named heir to Queen Elizabeth I. Although his mother had been executed on order of Queen Elizabeth, he was able to unite both kingdoms.
Scotland is split mainly two sectors: the highlands and the lowlands. I’m making the highlands it’s own category here because there is a difference once you hit that threshold of stepping into the highlands… all of a sudden you are in a mountainous fairytale, or a rugged landscape. It appeals to everyone. You’ll notice that mountains are no longer in the distance, but that you are driving through them and that the roads become narrow, and everything is a bit more wild. If you can combine this drive with some traditional bagpipe music you are in for a treat! The next few places are considered in the Highlands.
The Highlands really seem to have stayed wild and mostly untouched, and I love it. Places I have been to and recommend in the highlands would be:
- The Cairngorms: great for the hikers out there, also there is a reindeer habitat (yep). It also has some skiing over the winter!
- Inverness: Some call Inverness the Capital of the Highlands. It is a beautiful city on a waterway that is also near other main attractions such as Culloden. If you are a history buff, or an Outlander fan, Culloden may ring a bell. It is essentially where the English defeated the Scottish Clans who were fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie.
- Oban: The fish and chips here are world class (not that I can fully appreciate it due to my potato allergy), but being a coastal city, you can expect some fresh delicious seafood! This is also the city to get you to the Island of Mull.
- The islands: Scotland is blessed with many islands, which each have beautiful qualities to them, and many are easily accessible either by bridge or by ferry. One I have yet to visit, but am so excited to one day is Shetland. (There is a show on Netflix called Shetland, I’m a fan of it). Skye is probably one of the most popular islands to visit, but I would highly recommend doing some island hoping while here because they all have different qualities to them!
- Loch Ness: No trip to Scotland is quite complete without trying to find Nessie herself. Not only is the route to Loch Ness beautiful, but also getting out on the water itself can be quite magical.
- Castles: There is no shortage of beautiful castles in Scotland, many of which still have private owners.
I must say my favourite thing about Scotland is the Highland Cows, also known as Coos.
So here’s the thing, I have yet to actually see all the beautiful places in Scotland, but here is where I have been and that I would recommend for you to go. I still have a long list of places I am waiting to go to, and when I have I will tell you all about it!
With happy vibes,