17) Scottish Landmarks

My list item Scottish Landmarks was to do with celebrating my Scottish ancestry. I wanted to go to wild, beautiful places and feel moved by extraordinary nature; to learn about the country, and to feel like a true Scot. I specified three places: Loch Ness, Isle of Skye and Cairngorms National Park. Last year, I visited them them all with my Dad. Whilst all were lovely, I fell head-over-heels for the Isle of Skye – it just had me at the mountains.

Happily, my Dad has since bought a house on Skye – he lives in Aberdeen, but wanted a holiday home (and, another project). Next week I’m visiting him for a long weekend, and are spending most of the time on Skye. I absolutely cannot wait.

In anticipation, my Scottish Landmarks photos. Brace yourself, this is a long one…

Cairngorms National Park

Loch Muich, a beautiful lake on the edge of the Cairngorms.

(My Dad took the first six photos – he’s a much better photographer than I am, hence the superior quality.)

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If I ever put out an album – this is my cover.

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Ballater, a town in the midst of the park.

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Fort William & Glenfinnen

On the road, we stopped off at a few places.

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Celebrity sighting of the ferocious Highland Coo.

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We made a pit stop at Glenfinnan. It’s a beautiful place in its own right, but particularly excellent for being featured in a popular film franchise. Any guesses?

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It’s from Harry Potter! The Hogwarts Express ran right along these tracks!

Scotland is truly a remarkable place.

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Isle of Skye

We took the ferry to Skye. It would have been faster to drive, but my Dad likes boats. Go figure.

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Our first stop once we got to Skye was the Kilt Rock Waterfall, near Staffin.

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Then over to Staffin Beach, to see the Dinosaur footprints. 165 million years ago, herbivorous dinosaurs called Ornithopods roamed here, creating impressions in the basalt rocks. It’s a pretty heady experience, to touch the impressions where actual dinosaurs walked.

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At the time, my Dad told me all about the rock structures around here and why they’re particularly so good for preserving fossils etc. Unfortunately, I can’t remember any of it – though I remember being interested at the time. A year on, I can comment that it all looks delightfully rocky and rugged.

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Skye’s like this; magnificent rocks just rising from the road. I’m usually much more a fan of exploring by foot, but this was actually pretty perfect.

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Just mystical.

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Racking my memory here, but I think this is the fairy glen. It was raining and the ground didn’t have much traction, so we didn’t wander – but being there is supposed to bring you luck.

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We stayed overnight in a B&B, then went walking in the Cullens, a large mountain range. It was ridiculously stunning, and I took a ridiculous number of photos which all pretty much look the same – but they’re just far too lovely to delete.

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Tourist moment.

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Double tourist moment.

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love this view of the light coming through the valley. If I had to summarise serenity with a single sight, it might well be this one. If there’s a God, I think he lives in the mountains.

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We crossed this. So much brave intrepid explorers.

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As I say, I completely fell for Skye. Could you blame me?

Eilean Donan

Eilean Donan is a 13th century castle on the west coast of the Scottish mainland. It’s one of the most iconic images of Scotland, and was a must-see stop on our way back from Skye.

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Loch Ness

Then on the road to Inverness…IMG_3419

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… to go forth and find the Loch Ness Monster.

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Whilst searching, we took a break to explore Urquhart Castle. A medieval fortress for over 500 years, it’s now a collection of ruins which makes for excellent exploration.

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Trebuchet. Such Age of Empires flashbacks.

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We didn’t see Nessie, but hey – I still have hope.

Cairngorms National Park x2

Right before I left, we had another foray into Cairngorms – again, around Ballater.

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An incredible holiday – in high anticipation of the 2017 revival next week.

 

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