Glasgow and the Highlands

We left Edinburgh and had a quick bus ride to Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland.  We had a really cool Airbnb apartment that was *quite trendy*.  We arrived and did some much needed laundry and took a nap (because as always we got pretty drunk the night before we left).  Energized with our nap and clean clothing we walked to the nearby Dry Gate Brewery, which is a nice restaurant and brewery near the much larger Tenant Brewery.  We had some amazing food of guinea foul for Caleb and homemade butternut gnocchi and chicken for me, along with some always good booze.  Still tired and now full, we headed back to our apartment for an early night in.

Monday came and we spent the day wandering the downtown area near Georges Square, the main square in the city that was built in 1781.  We had drinks at some nice pubs but tried not to get toooo wastey-faced as we had a fun day planned for the following day–a trip to the Highlands (a 12-hour round trip tour I might add).

We had to be at the meeting spot at 8am, where we got on a small van with 6 other people.  The tour has a driver/tour guide who has a little microphone that he uses to give you information about what you’re seeing/the history of the area. When our tour guide wasn’t talking he would play music that he had obviously curated especially for the trip, mostly Scottish tunes or songs by Scottish artists. Caleb and I had to laugh when they played a bagpipe version of ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)’. The tour’s first stop was Loch Lomond (‘Loch’ is just the Scottish word for ‘Lake’) where we had a quick stop to get out and take pictures before getting back into the van as we continued our climb up into the Highlands, which is stunning to say the least.

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We got to make a few stops so we could take pictures of the Rannoch Moor, Ben Nevis, the Three Sisters (ironic, eh?) and the Black Mount, which are the some of the lands and mountains in the Highlands.  We then headed to Glencoe, one of Scotland’s most haunting places, as it’s the site of 1692 massacre of the MacDonald clan.

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Our tour guide was super nice and obviously liked his job (and had been doing it for a while, over 700 times) as he kept hustling our group along so we could do something *special* if we had time.  He pulled over for a non-scheduled stop, to the delight of everyone, because there in the nearby pasture were highland “coos”, a specific breed of Scottish cow.  He called to them, bribing them with carrots, and they literally came running to him (which was a sight in itself because they are huge).  Caleb had said before the trip he had one wish to see a highland cow so he was pretty ecstatic, even when one of the other people on the tour said he and the cow looked like they could be brothers.  I think it was the highlight of everyone’s day.

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Back in the van we headed to Fort William for a quick lunch before continuing on, passing by the highest mountain in Britain: Ben Nevis. Trucking along through the beautiful landscape we started to come across the most famous lochs in the world: Loch Ness.  I’ve been pretty interested in Loch Ness and its most famous inhabitant, Nessie, aka the Loch Ness Monster, since I read a book about the legend in elementary school.  Loch Ness is 24 miles long and over 700 feet deep, so there is plenty of room for some monsters in there.  The depth is credited to the convergence of two tectonic plates crashing together. In this part of the tour you could choose to explore the Urquhart Castle and then be picked up on a small cruise boat or just take the cruise boat across Loch Ness.  Caleb and I obviously chose to explore the castle, because duh…its a castle. The castle was founded in the 13th century and we had 1 hour to explore the ruins that sit right above Loch Ness. Our tour guide told us a good picture of Nessie could fetch about $500,000 so we tried to keep an eye out for her too, but alas, no such luck.

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We got picked up by the cruise boat and chatted with some of the other guests on the tour as we slowly boated to the other side of the Loch.  The cruise was pretty neat and informative, having a sonar depth gauge that revealed how far down the bottom of the loch was below us. Our tour guide picked us up in the van on the other side and we headed to Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, where we got to walk around for about an hour before heading back to the van and towards our last stop, Pitlochry.  Pitlochry is a cute, small town where Caleb and I got a quick drink and some onion rings while our fellow travelers went shopping. This village is a place I’d like to return to as they were having a festival called the Enchanted Forest, where they basically have an amazing light show out in the forest.

We finally headed home, completely exhausted. I would 100% recommend going on a tour to anyone, as we saw so much of the stunning Highlands we wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.

Needless to say after getting home we were starving so we went to a local pub, ate a ton of food (I cant figure out why I’ve been gaining weight, such a mystery) and enjoyed a great one-man band that played a lot of Tom Petty before going home and promptly passing out.

The last day we spent in Glasgow we walked towards the cathedral and Necropolis Hill (literally a cemetery on a hill) before we went to a free(!) museum that had some Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Surratt and Monet paintings.  The night ended in similar fashion of us drinking and eating before heading home…out of the Highlands and onward to Manchester!


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