Scotland – Glasgow and Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park
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.
Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park is a place for longer walk in Scottish nature and to some smaller sights. The Semple Trail starts at the visitors' center of the same name situated near Lochwinnoch village. At the center, you may take a map of the park, buy something to eat, and, moreover, there is a large car park. Many Scots sail there in their canoes, cayaks, or bikes as the trail is bike-accessible. Be sure to have some quality shoes for the trail is often muddy.
We set out along the lake towards Collegiate Church founded by Lord Semphill in 1504. The church was orginally a priest school. After lord's death a tomb was constructed there. Next we go through old forest full of autumn colors and encounter a herd of does, pass streams and little waterfalls, until we reach the Grotto. There are several lookout points along the trail. Then we go back to the visitors' center across of them, Parkhill. From there we move to Glasgow.
Despite Glasgow being titled the "city of design and architecture" in the 20th century, rather grey streets and many factories. We leave St Enoch Square and its Christmas market for St Mungus' cathedral. Then we walk along Buchanan Street featuring many stores, turn left to George Square founded in 1781 and named after King George III. The square features the memorial to Sir Walter Scott and the Glasgow town hall. By crossing Mechant City where rich merchants had their residencies in the past, we get to the cathedral itself. Built in the 13th century, the cathedral is a prime example of Scottish architecture. Moreover, the entrance is free.
The sun sets while beautifully illuminating the hill behind the cathedral. We go there by crossing the old bridge, then walk along the cathedral, climb up to the top of the Necropolis with the graves of Glasgow finest characters. Scottish graves have something to them. We will visit more cemeteries but the one in Glasgow is one of the finest. On the top of the hill, the reformist John Knox's statue stands while amazing vista over the entire town opens up in front of visitors.
On our way back it is getting bit darker, so we stop at Christmas market to drink some mulled wine and then we step into one of great local pubs for a beer and a Scottish whisky. In the evening as well as at night, Glasgow is very vibrant, people are kind and prices of alcoholic beverages are pleasantly low.
Next Saturday we will travel to Inchacailloch island and Kilchurn castle.
GPS: (náměstí St. Enoch Square) 55°51'26.5"N 4°15'18.1"W
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
When one is in Scotland he/she should’t miss Edinburgh, its capital. This city located near the sea is worth at least several day stay. Still, you should bear on mind that you wouldn’t see everything.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
England's largest national park attracts the most beautiful views, deep valleys and some sixty crystal clear lakes. There are many organic farms and microbreweries, it is also a gourmet paradise. I stopped there on my way to Scotland and at the first moment I felt pitty that I didn't reserve more time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So what next you should miss when in Edinburg? For example Royal Yacht Britannia that traveled astonishing 1 million naval miles in its existence, it is as if the yacht traveled around the world for 40 times. In 1997 it was put out of service and today it is opened to the public.
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).
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.
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