As I’ve mentioned a few weeks ago, it was my first time to go into sub-zero temperatures, and to see snow and frost, to slip and fall on ice, it was a whole new experience and weather extremes for me. This all happened in the Scottish Highlands and Isle of Skye, the most north I’ve ever been, beating my own record from New Years 2013/2014 in Aberdeen, by not much, but beating it.
Once our Haggis Adventures bus left Edinburgh and we started heading north, hills started turning into mountains and their tops started getting whiter. We were headed to Glencoe where the Clan of McDonald was massacred in 1692 during the Jacobite uprising.
Apart from the sad story behind Glencoe, the place is truly majestic with spectacular views of snow capped mountains. The best thing about Scotland is the lots of waiting areas along the roads, so if you’re doing a road trip or on a bus like I was, you can easily have many photo breaks in amazing spots! The best thing I had when I was in Scotland with Haggis Adventures was that they knew exactly where to stop to have really good views of each place we drove through, whether its for one of the numerous medieval castles in Scotland or just for landscape, it was always breathtaking.
We continued our drive North and West, with lots of stops for pictures until the sunset, and then we drove straight to the Isle of Skye, where we stayed in a hostel just across the bridge. Even after dark, our tour guides still entertained us by stories and legends of Scottish mythologies that related to the places we were driving through. I can’t say I was ever bored on the Haggis Adventures bus.
The next morning, crossing the icy road was a challenge that I mentioned before, along with the bus not moving forward, but after that, it was actually a sunny morning that was relatively warm, and we got to explore the little island, heading as north as the day allowed. I loved Skye. I wasn’t surprised when I learned that it is a place where many people choose to retire due to its magnificent views and clean air and water. The place still holds its natural beauty and is not polluted by the city life.
I wasn’t surprised also when I had a small conversation with a local in the bar and he said he’s here drinking and he haven’t locked his house, knowing the place is safe. Well, given the few residents, I wouldn’t expect much of action anyway.
We stopped in Portree for lunch, and somehow it reminded me of pictures of Scandinavia. I’ve never been there, but this is always how I see the houses look there, I think.
We left the Isle of Skye that evening and spend the night in Fort Augustus, again stopping in loads of places along the way, all of them perfectly chosen for good views – I wish I was a good photographer with a good camera, the views I’ve seen in Scotland are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Literally.
On the third day we were headed back to Edinburgh, we drove by the shores of Loch Ness, and through the capital of the highlands, Inverness as well as a quick stop for a wee dram tasting in a whisky distillery. I was really sad to be back to Edinburgh, but I was excited to start the festive days in Edinburgh with Hogmanay 2015!
The highlands and the Isle of Skye, along with more islands around Scotland are added to the places to definitely visit again, maybe next time in a different season to see them in a different color.
Have you been to Scotland’s Highlands? What did you enjoy the most about it? The views? The whisky? The weather??!!