Thursday, November 15, 2007

Scottish Soil

I read somewhere recently that if you have any Scot in your blood you will feel instantly at home when your feet touch the soils of Scotland. Without better words to describe the feeling I would totally and utterly agree with this statement. Australia is my birthplace, England my home, Austria my favourite travel destination but it is Scotland that has my heart. Another week of school holidays meant that I finally had some time to head north and visit Scotland again. It had been 4 long years (to the day actually) since I last had the pleasure of travelling through Scotland and I had missed it deeply.

Instead of flying I decided to drive instead. That decision had little to do with enjoying the English countryside and more to do with having not driven since 2006 and feeling the need to get behind the wheel again. I even managed to drag Vic along too.

A while ago my parents had travelled to John O’Groats and my dad had spoken highly of it so I decided that that would be my intended destination. We stopped along the way whenever the urge took us and as a result, Vic and I stayed at some very interesting places. My favourite was the Royal Highland Hotel in Inverness with its tartan carpeted grand staircase and most amazing shower ever! I also loved “The Tickled Trout” hotel in Preston. I kid you not. Got to love a hotel that pays homage to a ticklish fish, but you do have to ask what kind of person thinks to tickle a fish. We were also strangely haunted by broken and lopsided lampshades. At no less than 3 different hotels the lampshades were broken and lopsided in our room.

The Highlands of Scotland were exactly the same as I had left them 4 years earlier, peaceful and calm, filled to the brim with history and the souls of Scotsmen and women from years past. Out of all the wonderful scenery we saw this time my favourite day was driving the entire length of the north side of the Loch Ness. With the autumn weather turning the leaves magnificent shades of gold, rust and copper I felt like I was wrapped warm and cosy by nature’s own hearth.

Vic and I took turns in driving. We put in an impressive 1768 miles all up. I found it slightly odd though, that fates dealt me all of the single lane width, unmarked and low visibility roads, whilst Vic got the double or more lanes with easy to see oncoming traffic and lovely new markings. The potholes shared themselves around evenly though. :P
(Photos - 1. Me at John O'Groats, 2. Our car on the side of one of the many highland hills, 3. Some Highland cows, 4. Inverness)

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