Photogallery: Scotland - Rough Nature, Medieval Architecture, Amazing Whisky
Scotland - Rough Nature, Medieval Architecture, Amazing Whisky
heading (paragraph): States
No. of pictures: 39 pictures
What comes across your mind when you hear Scotland? Most people like Scottish whiskey, kilt, Lochness monster, but also haze, rain and mysterious nature. A visit to the country probably is not for everyone, because you will have to change the plans when the weather changes, or at least sacrifice some comfort. However, you can have a great vacations anyway. Take waterproof clothes and head out to castles and chateaux, hikes and mountains, pack your sticks and visit the golf course, because golf originated here in the 15th century, or you can ride local liquor and taste whiskey or visit Scottish towns.
Text: Lenka Bauerová
Photos: Veronika Schubertová, Matouš Vinš
Near the famous Lake Ness, there lies at the mouth of the river of the same name into the sea and the ancient city of Inverness. Today it serves as a natural center for the entire Highlands of Scotland. But the city itself is worth a stop and a little exploration.
When I first went out into the world at 18, it was Scotland. I still remember the moon in it, when I almost traced it all to this day. For 7 years I wanted to go back and finally it was time. I got on a motorbike in Prague and set off for about 2000 kilometers long way to the northwest.
In the long valley between Fort William and Pitlochry in the middle of Scotland lies a large heath and in the middle of it one of the most deserted train stations. Surrounded only by lakes and heathland, you can still have tea inside it.
Early in the morning we set out to explore the beautiful Scotish island of Skye. Today, we are about to expect the rain whole day. We are disappointed by that because the place is beautiful. However, as rains are quite common around here it is nothing easy to plan your trip accordingly.
Our Slovenian adventure full of knowledge continues. After visiting the Kranjska Gora, which is surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery, we move on to another natural gem - the Vintgar Gorge (Blejski Vintgar, Vintgar Sotesque).
It is time to leave the landscape of lakes, mountains, and long valleys in the center of Scotland and head through the inhospitable wasteland to the north to Thurso in sight of the Orkney islands. Instead of the highway A9, leading along the coast, I also chose deserted roads through endless moors and wetlands.
After a whole day in the wetlands in the north of Scotland, I headed west along the coast to get back to the mountains. They are much lower than those in the center of the country, but it does not detract from their beauty. Because of the harsh climates, heather and grass are often not kept on them, often leaving only majestic gray rocks.
The mountains in the north-west of Scotland rarely exceed 800 meters and roads usually run along rivers or coasts. Therefore, I would not expect here to be as beautiful and high as Applecross pass. Let's go to there!
If I could only return to Scotland in one place, it would be either a remote and deserted mountainous island of Harriss, or justified by Skye. And the more I think about it, the more Skye wins.
In connection with Scotland, everyone will surely recall the fierce people fighting for independence throughout the history of this wild country, be it the Norman and Viking raiders, or the English and Irish usurpers. For the first time, however, the Romans attempted to penetrate the area at that time inhabited by the wild tribes of the Picts and the quieter Britons under the command of Agricola. However, they soon found that the land was not profitable enough for the long-term stay of the soldiers, so they decided to leave the north of Great Britain again and leave the newly built roads, fortresses and ramparts lying fallow.
The Hogwarts School of Magic is located somewhere in the Highlands, so it's no wonder the landscape is literally interwoven with references to Harry Potter books. J. K. Rowling, who wrote the books, was inspired mainly in the streets of Edinburgh, where she lived at that time. On every corner you can find some unobtrusive reminder from the books, be it street names that look strangely reminiscent of the names of the key characters, or the places where the books themselves were written.
My visit to Scotland was coming to an end, but I still had about 2,000 kilometers to go home. But Scotland is beautiful, so why hurry? So I stopped at several places on the Isle of Skye and gradually reached the highest mountain of Ben Nevis.
Are you fascinated by Scottish castles? Against the dark sky, walls with gothic windows over the centuries lashed with rain and overgrown with rich green grass provoke our imagination longing to know at least a small piece of their stories. Castles and ruins of churches, monasteries and medieval buildings built from the local dark stone are a typical decoration of the beautiful and dramatic Scottish landscape.
After we leaved the beautiful island of Skye we go back onto the land. We travel over 100 miles to the east to Aviemore summer resort where we would spend two nights.
Upon our walk around Loch an Eilein lake, we return to have quick lunch in Aviemore village. Then we set out back to snow covered Scotish nature. This time we walk through a 5 kilometer trail in Ellan Wood, close to Carrbridge village which itself is situated about 20 minutes of car ride from Aviemore.
Autumn is an unusual time of the year to travel. For a long time, we were thinking if to even set out despite less dayilight time, winter, often rains yet Scotland captured us with its beauty and we would eventually buy our flight tickets. There is a regular connection between Prague and Edinburgh. Glasgow is about an hour of car ride from Edinburgh. Yet first we would travel bit further to the west and make a trek in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.
In the morning, we set out to beautiful Highlands situated in the northwest. On our way, we pass snow-caped mountains veiled in morning mist. This tempts us to stop and take a beautiful picture. This time we are heading to a place to what we are looking forward the most to – Skye island. A road bloc complicates our travels. It absolutely confuses our GPS which frighten us a bit. We are running of fuel while gaining kilometers and there are not many gas stations around. Eventually, everything works out well and we continue in our journey.
We leave the Aviemore summer resort and travel down to the south to Perth. There we intend to spend our last night in Scotland. We are about to travel for hour two hours by car.
On this day we set off to central Scotland, to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Loch Lomond is the largest Scotish lake with the area of 71 square kilometers, the maximal depth of the lake is192 meters. There are over 30 small islands and we strive for visiting one of them.
The Orkney Islands are located on massive cliffs north of Scottish shore. There are 70 islands and only on about 20 there is some permanent settlement.
Near the village is Yesnaby, perhaps the most popular cliffs we just had to visit. A look from above on wild waves made took one’s breath. After we explored the surroundings we headed to mysterious stones.
We continued along the coastline to east and we were amazed with a beautiful road without holes and patches. There are just three main roads on Mainland, however, unlike ours they were in splendid condition.
The last part of our visit of the islands we spent on Mainland and neighboring island on the south. These islands are interconnected with the so-called Churchill barriers.
Already in the summer of 2011, I was in Scotland for a few days visit. But this time it was different. And maybe even a little crazy. At this time I was a fresh adult student, only with a flight ticket to home, about three hundred pounds in his pocket and an overnight stay for the first night.
After a half-an-hour ride I get off in Aberdour, a fishermen town in the Forth Bay. I have no idea where to go so I just follow arrows of the Fife Coastal Path. The reason is perhaps that it goes along the railway (and thus along the coastline as well).
Cold and raindrops hitting a side of my tent wake me up. It would be better if there was no thermometer for knowing that it is just 1 degree above zero is not very encouraging. Fortunately, the wind got better. I quickly pack my tent hoping that my hands will not freeze.
Again, I woke up cold. This time it was not on the Orkneys. It was about half the way between Inverness and Perth, close to A9 road. Islands on the north, I had left 19 hours ago. Strong wind is blowing outside. Fortunately, it does not rain.
I have almost no water, no battery in my cell left, thus I travel to Mallaig, a port town from where ferries heading to Skye, Rum, Uist and other, smaller, islands depart. Right next to the port, there is a small train station. Its loading platform has not been used for a long time, obviously. It has two platforms.
Fortunately, in south part of Lewis there are hills that flawlessly continue to Harris. Islanders also need wood so they planted there a small forest. Now I lay in a warm sleeping bag, in a tent attached to three trees, I listen to an ugly sound of drops constantly hiting my tent. Well, I have to get up eventually. After all I come here to learn about the islands, not to lay all day long.
Today, we get to the last part of the series of articles on rough yet magical Scotland.
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