It's been a few months since our last adventure (Scotland) and unfortunately it's going to be a few (or more) months until our next adventure. We were supposed to be departing for Spain next week - at least I've had a lot of time to "grieve" - but I'm still bummed. It's hard not to feel a little lost right now with all the changes in our world these days. One of the things I've missed is all the activity and travel hub-bub and discussion on this forum. So, I thought I'd share a short trip report of our wonderful time in Scotland last fall!
Scotland really blew me away - it's such an incredible country. Loads of history, friendly people, incredible scenery, and more. I was pleasantly surprised by how much great food we ate there! I didn't have high expectations but we ate really well almost every meal.
I have never had so much difficulty planning a trip as I had with Scotland. Like so many places, there is so much to see and do. But, unlike other places, everything is close enough together that it feels like there are countless combinations for a trip itinerary. Of course, I wanted to see and do it all. But, we all know that's not possible!
I finally settled on this / this is what we did:
Day 1: (half-day) Edinburgh: Eat Walk Edinburgh and Real Mary King's Close
Day 2: Edinburgh: Arthur's Seat, Holyrood Palace, Whisky Tasting at Jeffrey Street Whisky
Day 3: Edinburgh: Rabbie's Outlander Adventure Tour Day Trip & Mercat's Doomed, Dead and Buried Ghost Tour
Day 4: Edinburgh: Edinburgh Castle & Edinburgh Gin Distillery
Day 5: Pitlochry: Falkland Palace, Edradour Distillery, Falls of Bruar
Day 6: Portree: Drive to the Isle of Skye, Brother's Point Hike
Day 7: Portree: Hike the Quiraing Circuit and driving the Trotternish Peninsula
Day 8: Portree: Hike the Fairy Pools, Talisker Distillery, and Hike the Old Man of Storr
Day 9: London: Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns (plus evening flight from Inverness to London)
I was really torn on whether or not we should go to the Isle of Skye. From everything I'd read and been told in advance, I knew the weather could be an absolute bust and we may go all that way to not be able to hike. Luckily for us, we actually had some great weather (I mean we still got cold and wet but I was expecting that). What I mean by great weather - we actually saw the sun at times! We learned the weather can be very temperamental there and change on the drop of a dime.
As far as hiking gear goes, we learned a lot. Layers and waterproof gear are definitely essential in the highlands. We had some of what we needed, but I would do it differently if returning. For a future trip, I would pack a lightweight waterproof layer of pants that I could pull over a base layer. I would also bring a cover to protect a day bag from the rain while hiking. I am not nearly as sure-footed as my husband so I was very glad to have my trekking poles. I learned my rain jacket which had served me well on other trips was either simply water-resistant (not waterproof), or just worn out. I got wet. Thankfully I had layers and our apartment had a fireplace so we hung our stuff up to dry by the fire each night.
Like I said, there is never enough time - we didn't get to everything we wanted to see in Edinburgh but we did see a lot. I was happy with our time allocation there. I regret that we weren't able to see Stirling Castle but I just couldn't find a way to fit it in this trip. I absolutely loved our day at Falkland Palace and Edradour Distillery, it was a wonderful day out exploring the area and a great way to break up the long drive. We also didn't have enough time on Skye; while I have no regrets at all about going to Skye (our Quiraing hike is my favorite highlight of our entire trip), I really wish we had at least one more night there, two more nights would have been even better. To be continued: