Scotland I: Land of Heather, Lakes and Sheep II
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).
It is really warm there. Several clouds are flying in the sky and the sea lures me for a swim. After getting acquainted with it I rather stay on the shore. After several hours of walk I reach the town of Kirkcaldy. The sun is already setting so I start to wonder where I will stay over night. I do not want to pay for accommodation (and I can not for I have only enough money for some food). Building a tent is my only option. I do not have an idea where to built it so I go to the forest. It is close to the town and hopefully no one will disturb me. When I found out that the forest is actually a park my hopes are gone. However, I find a great place adjacent to former fortification that is right on the shore. It is still early so I wonder where to go next. I do not what to do next and suddenly realize how great was to buy a British SIM card and a tariff with unlimited Internet.
In the morning I set my direction to the main road. I did not come up with a destination so I just will go where some driver takes me. I have not waited for a long time. After ten minutes a mid-age lady stopped. My answer to her question on where I intend to go, amused her. She gives me several options where I cen hop out. Eventually I get off in Dunfermline –a formal Scottish capital. (Without this lady I would not be able to get on places where I was. She gave me enough courage and hope to reach my goals. I thank her for that!).
A day later, in one o’clock I get on a ferry heading to Stromness. My destination is clear now – the Orkneys . I take a strategic place on a very comfortable couch. Several minutes later I am defeated by tiredness and swinging. I woke up just at the moment when we passed by Old Man of Hoy. I am really at the Orkneys! Yet yesterday it seemed almost impossible for me to get here.
While walking at Stormness, inflammation of my Achilles tendom on my right leg is starting show. So I am absolutely in no mood to find some hidden place where I can build my tent. I find a place in a camp at the edge of one town. At least I can leave my backpack in the tent without worries and take a walk. On the shore there is a beautiful view of Hoy island – a huge cliff looming over the sea. I am starting to feel like I am in some another world. I pass by a bunker where artillery was stationed. Once it guarded a passage to the port. Bit further there are laying dozens of beautiful shells and the tide slowly shows rock formations in the sea. I discover a beach with many beautiful round pebble stones. My inner “child” cannot resist it. For about an hour I am focused on building “my” tower and I even do not realize that there is stronger ice cold wind from the sea. I realize it in a moment when I see a small fishing boat that barely keeps it direction. I returned to my camp and fix my tent to posts of a nearby fence. It would be unpleasant if I fly away in the night.
To be continued...
Text/photo: Matouš Vinš
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.
After a short introduction to Glasgow in the last part of our series, today we move on to its streets to explore the most famous sights and places.
Today, we visit one of the four countries creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is Scotland which is situated in the north of the island. The Atlantic Ocean creates its boundaries on the north and the North Sea in the east.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Scottish referendum is popular topic in world media. Even if the Scots decided not to get out of three hundred year long relationship with England. It is almost certain that London would loosen its tight to Scotland. It is a question how would Scotland do as an independent country and how its would fare on international level.
Today, we get to the last part of the series of articles on rough yet magical Scotland.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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