Scotland: Land of Heather, Lakes and Sheep III
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.
Thanks to another very kind lady I find myself right by Standing Stones of Stenness – a megalithic landmark about 5000 years old. It slowly stops raining and occasionally the sun pops up from the clouds. But it is still cold. Sheep walk between stones. Apparently they do not mind tourists with cameras and videocameras.
My leg still hurts but I do not want to stay by the road. So I continue walking along Ring of Brodgar. Surprisingly I do not have to walk on asphalt, there is a pedestrian path along the road. I cross blossoming meadow and I reach one of the most amazing landmarks in Scotland. I cannot believe that Prehistoric people were able to create something so monumental. In almost a perfect circle there are several stones. Most of them withstand forces of time. I climb to a small hill right next a circle. There a truly magnificent view opens in front of me. Below me, among stones, are walking people in raincoats. On both sides, there is dark blue water surface. In the background, green hilltops rise and touch dark gray clouds. I regret that I cannot capture this moment on the camera. However, it will remain in my memory for a long time.
Walk would not be a good idea because of my legs. It seems that cars pass by these area now and then. But they are full. Or they go in a different direction than I need. I will rather walk back to the main road. About hundred meters of walk, a local fisherman pickes me up. Despite he goes in the opposite direction, he takes me to the main road. There it is fast. Another fisherman, and there are plenty of them on the Orkneys, takes me to the capital, Kirkwall. I take a quick tour in the cathedral, follows snack, rest and I continue on. The problem is that there are almost no cars…
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.
Today, we get to the last part of the series of articles on rough yet magical Scotland.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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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