Part 3: The Skye’s the Limit

The past few weeks have been very busy, and exciting here in Scotland as the autumn weather starts to roll in, and the leaves turn brilliant hues of yellow, orange and red.

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View of the Castle from Princes Street

I have a lot to update on, especially surrounding the Scottish Highlands, where I have spent the past few weekends. From September 23rd to the 26th, I spent the weekend in Inverness, otherwise known as the capital of the Scottish Highlands.

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Inverness Bridge
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River Ness

Most people pass through Inverness in a day or night, but I was very glad to have spent the full weekend. The first night, we went to an authentic Scottish pub called Hootananny with live music, and of course, some Scottish dancing. This impromptu evening ended up being one of my favorite moments of the trip, especially when everyone in the pub sang along to the Loch Lomond song. I particularly enjoyed Inverness, because we seemed to be the only tourists, and this allowed us to fully take in the local culture. It was definitely a change of pace from the bustling excitement of Edinburgh.

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The next day was spent exploring the main streets around town, the Victorian market, the port, and the River Ness. We ate lunch overlooking Inverness Castle, and enjoyed the surprisingly sunny weather for the rest of the day. The next morning we took a cruise on Loch Ness in search of Nessie. Even though we didn’t spot her, we enjoyed some stunning views of the Loch and the surrounding countryside, including Urquhart Castle.

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Main Street
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Victorian Market
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Our view of the castle from lunch.
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Cruise of Loch Ness

I spent the next two weekends in Edinburgh. Saturday October 1st was a beautifully sunny and warm day, which was jam-packed with lots of activities. First, I went to Cramond Beach, just twenty minutes from the city center; yet, its serene openness and untouched appearance made it seem much further away. Cramond Beach is also only accessible during low tide, so it was extra exciting to traverse the one-mile long path to the island that is usually submerged under water.

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Cramond Beach
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Walkway to the Island

After that, we climbed the Scott Monument, which was just as breathtaking as when I climbed it the first time. The clear blue sky was shining over the Castle, New College, and the Old Town. Then we climbed Arthur’s Seat in the afternoon with a clear view of the entire city. Although the trek was tiring, it was exhilarating, fun, and completely worth the view from the top. The next day, I did a wine and painting session my friends by the Botanical Gardens, and although, I am no artist, it was extremely fun.

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Scott Monument on a beautifully sunny day.
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Breathtaking view from the top.
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Climbing Arthur’s Seat is quite a feat.
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But you can’t beat this view.

The following weekend I went to some fresh markets in the New Town with my flat mates, which included local vendors selling fresh produce, cheese, jam, bread, cupcakes, chocolates, and fresh hot food like apple crumble, and dumplings. I definitely plan to go back and sample some more of the local goods.

This past weekend, I spent all of Saturday and Sunday on a weekend trip to the Isle of Skye, which was absolutely incredible. We stopped in many places along the way, beginning with Luss at Loch Lomond, then Loch Tulla, the Three Sisters at Glencoe, and Sligachan River.

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Loch Tulla
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Three Sisters at Glencoe

There is a legend surrounding this river that if you dip your face into the stream for seven seconds you will be blessed with eternal youth and beauty, so of course we tried it. I must say that we felt amazingly refreshed afterwards, so whether this was due to the mix of cold water with brisk air, or the actual onset of eternal beauty, only time will tell! Although Skye was our main destination, I particularly enjoyed our drive through the countryside with breathtaking landscapes of mountains, cliffs, and rolling hills of distinct orange and yellow hues.

Also, we got to see Eilean Donan Castle, which is the most photographed castle in all of Scotland.

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Eilean Donan Castle

We spent the night in Portree, and climbed the Portree Tower to overlook the Harbour at night with the shining lights illuminating the cozy town.

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Portree Harbour from the Tower.

The next morning, we saw the sunrise over the Harbour, and then headed to the Old Man of Storr in the Trotternish Ridge. We hiked for about fifteen-minutes before reaching an extraordinary view. This was by far the most stunning part of the weekend, and the sun was even out for us, so we could clearly overlook the sea, the surrounding cliffs, and the famous Old Man of Storr stone.

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Trotternish Ridge
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Old Man of Storr

The next stop was to see Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls. Kilt Rock was a volcanic formation from 60-55 million years ago, and Mealt Falls is one of the only waterfalls in the world to flow right into the sea. After, we saw Lealt Falls and Gorge, which were beautifully situated near an open countryside, and jagged cliffs.

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Mealt Falls
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Lealt Gorge
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Fish and chips for lunch on Portree Harbour

This weekend I am planning to continue my exploration of the Scottish Highlands, where I hope to see Stirling, Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Bonawe, and Anstruther. I’m really looking forward to exploring more of the countryside, because it is so vast and amazingly picturesque. I feel like these landscapes are out of a movie scene, and it is hard to believe that this beautiful, and historic scenery is right in front of me.

I highly recommend exploring the Highlands while you are here. There is so much to see within just a couple hours of Edinburgh city, and you won’t regret getting the chance to take in the countryside. I am looking forward to updating you again soon! Thanks for tuning in.

 

 

 

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