Through the Cracks of Recollection

Memories of a trip are often colored by the overall experience as a whole; certain things end up defining the trip, while others fall through the cracks of recollection. When my husband and I took our first trip to Scotland two years ago, we were plagued by bad luck at the outset: missed flights, lost luggage, and a traffic accident, were just some of the obstacles we faced. In our retelling of the trip those things seem to take precedence with listeners, while the less shocking moments get pushed aside. My personal memories of Scotland don’t consist of everything that went wrong, but rather, everything that went right. Here are just a few of the things that stick with me:

(photography by my husband)

*wide open Sligachan, and the vitality of it’s picture postcard views

 

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*eating shortbread cookies in the rain, while sitting on a moss covered wall in Pitlochry

*how the wind whipped my hair all over the place as I looked out across Edinburgh, from the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel

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*the rust colored jellyfish I saw in the wake of the ferry, as I cautiously looked over the rail

*sitting on the side of the road after our tour bus accident, taking in the rural view with all of my senses, as the police officer directed traffic behind me and yelled at the passing cars for driving too slow

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*comparing the rubberband bracelets that adorned my wrist with the teenage girl from France, who also had many on her wrists as well, as we laughed at how the steam from the open train window fogged up my glasses and the coal dust dotted our clothes

*the lazy seal, napping as he floated in the water along the dock in Mallaig, waiting for the fishermen to throw him a treat as they cleaned their nets

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*standing beside a waterfall on a crisp cool morning, as l gazed out over the mist covered moor

*how the cool air bit my skin while the bright sun freckled it at the same time, as I viewed an iconic white cottage with it’s massive mountain backdrop in Glencoe

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*when the owner of a small cafe in Fort Augustus sent me a complimentary fruit plate when he found out I didn’t enjoy my glass of Irn Bru, Scotland’s other national drink.

*Eilean Donan Castle at dusk, trying to protect my face from swarms of biting midges

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*the sense of wonder I felt when strolling through the historic streets of Edinburgh, thinking “wow, it’s just like a film set!” and then realizing it has been a film set, many times over.

*seeing heather bloom in it’s natural environment

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wild are the winds to meet you
staunch are the friends that greet you
kind as the love that shines from fair maidens eyes

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Over the Sea to Skye

My Scotland Adventure: days 5, 6, and 7

Skye from ferry

 

With the wretched curse being broken on day 4, we experienced a wonderful two days on the Isle of Skye before crossing back over to the mainland and winding our way down through Glencoe, to arrive back in Edinburgh.

Glencoe vista
Jamie Fraser was nowhere to be found, sadly

 

Our first day on the Isle of Skye was packed to the brim with beautiful sights! In the cool misty morning we stopped at a picture-perfect waterfall

early morning waterfall

 

and drove past the iconic Old Man of Storr rock formation. It has many legends attached to it but our guide told us that it was thought to represent an old man (standing) and his wife (sitting) who made a deal with those trickster faeries and were turned into stone.

misty Old Man of Storr

 

We visited a prehistoric Broch that was located just off the side of the road. in a sheep pasture.

climbing to the Broch

I was feeling a little shaky up on that hill!

view from Broch
that little blue rectangle is our bus

 

there was honest to goodness scottish thistle all around though, so it was worth it.

clumps of scottish thistle

 

Historic Dunvegan Castle, with it’s many strollable gardens, proved enjoyable.

Dunvegan castle

 

My husband took a boat tour of some surrounding islands to view the seals. I thought that riding in a small motorized boat that only seated a handful of people was just taunting our recent bad luck, so I declined.

baby seal
isn’t he adorable though?

 

The bridges and surrounding mountain views at Sligachan were lovely and one of my favorite stops of the trip.

stone bridges

 

We ended the day at our home-base of Portree, with enough time to grab dinner and wander around the picturesque port town.

Portree

 

The next day we took a ferry back over to the mainland. I had much more confidence in that boat…

ferry ride

 

and then we hopped on a steam train that took us to Fort William.

train winds over viaduct

 

We couldn’t resist sneaking into the first class compartments and pretending we were on our way to Hogwarts.

 

We then experienced unforgettable Glencoe

magestic Glencoe

 

before arriving back at our starting point.

Firth of Forth bridge

 

Our last day was spent exploring Edinburgh itself

curved streets of Edinburgh

 

and wandering around the base of Arthur’s Seat. We climbed the first little bit up to the ruins of the old chapel but after our last few busy days, I did not have the energy to attempt going higher.

Arthur's Seat

 

Oh well, there’s always next time!

foreground thistle

[this post originally appeared on my Richard Armitage fanblog, Nowhere in Particular RA. text, photos, and comments have been transferred here.]

Murphy’s Law: part two

My Scotland Adventure: days 2 and 3

lone flower

 

After trying to get some sleep at the airport and failing miserably, Minute Suites called to say that a room was available for us, if we still wanted it. Woo-Hoo!!

 

The room was Hobbit-sized, just wide enough for a small trundle couch, but it was quiet. And dark. And ours for the next 8 hours! I was dead to the world as soon as I laid down. A few hours later, I felt much better but was it enough to venture out into the city? The only thing that even vaguely interested me at that point was the Rocky Balboa statue, but my spirits weren’t quite recovered yet.

 

So we freshened up in the nearest rest room, which was under construction as well, and then just relaxed in the room. Our flight wasn’t until 9pm that evening, so needless to say, we became very familiar with all the ins and outs of the airport.

The Liberty Bell: Lego version

 

Finally we were on the plane and flying to Scotland! We were seated next to a friendly Englishman who enjoyed talking up his adopted home city of Edinburgh. Being an avid backpacker, he warned us about the midges. He urged us to purchase some Skin-So-Soft if we happened to run across it. This would not be the last time we heard about the miracle that was Avon’s Skin-So-Soft. We’ve been using it for years to fight off mosquitoes, but I doubted it was warm enough to need it yet (we should have listened).

 

The flight was long with little sleep achieved but I was getting used to viewing the world through puffy eyes. As we neared our destination the skies became unbelievably clear, which afforded me a lovely view of the islands that we flew over. Then the mainland came into view *girly squeal!* We circled round, which acquainted me with all of the bright green hills, golden fields, white windmills, and grey stone houses. Oh, look: the cars were moving on the opposite side of the road. I was here. really, really here!

 

We bid our travel companion good-bye and set off to collect our luggage. The conveyor belt went round and round and round some more, but our luggage was not on it. Surprised? I wasn’t. My husband looked like he was about to have a stroke but I wasn’t phased. What papers do we have to sign? Let’s just do this and get on with things.

Customer Service Rep: is there anything of value in your bag?

Me: my pillow

 

Next, we caught the city bus to transport us to our hotel. I made the mistake of sitting on the bottom of the two-tiered bus. every city street=motion sickness. blah. We weren’t sure which stop was ours but luckily several locals discussed it amongst themselves to find us the best path to take. Scots are so friendly and helpful! This was something I would experience again and again throughout our trip.

 

After checking in to our hotel we needed to grab some lunch and then buy clean clothes. My guidebook suggested a tavern that was relatively close, so that was our first destination. We were seated upstairs with a perfect view. The window was open (no screen!)

Deacon Brodie's Tavern

 

the window box was in full bloom and I could finally breathe easily again.

view out tavern window

Things could only look up from here, right?

Next Time: I think I might be cursed!

[this post originally appeared on my Richard Armitage fanblog, Nowhere in Particular RA. text and comments have been transferred here. the gifs have been switched out]