Scotland: Land of Heather, Lakes and Sheep I
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.
I planned to make some money by playing on the street during the Edinburgh Festival and a bit of travel. But in the end it turned out quite differently.
On August 6th, 2012 I landed at the airport in Edinburgh and took the bus number 35 heading to the city. Unlike bus No. 100, which I took from the airport last year, the 35 takes an incredibly long time. In addition, I do not know exactly where to get off. Bus drivers are fortunately truly "superkind", and after 50 minutes, I got off at the right stop. Along the way, it got almost completely dark, and the center of the capital city welcomes me with its strange, indescribable atmosphere. At the castle, somebody was just lunching festival fireworks from the roof somewhere screaming seagull and sea from flooding in wet (and surprisingly warm) air. Slowly I threw away everything that made me nervous and set off to towards new experiences.
I wake up at seven o'clock in the morning. Edinburgh welcomes me with sun that fills the large park behind the window. I'm packing all the things I would need for the first week, in one large backpack, suitcase and saxophone stay here. For few moments I wander around the city and try to figure out how to get out. Information about buses will never occur, so that eventually wins the train (or maybe it is a lack of information about buses, rather somehow intellectually I need to explain why I chose a more expensive alternative transportation). I buy a ticket in a vending machine at the station, the system is fortunately very simple and clear, in hand I probably stayed a while - it seems to me that the Scottish pronounce the name of the station is a challenge even for the Scottish. Only it would be better if the machine had not returned those 20 five pennies. The whole station is under construction, so it takes me a while to find the right platform. Luckily, trains in my direction go every half hour, so quickly coming to terms with the fact that one of them departed right in front of my nose.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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