Scotland – The Hermitage, Perth, and St Andrews
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.
We drive off the road about 17 miles before Perth. We park our car on nearby car park to see one of the oldest landmarks in Scotland which, at the same time, belong to the National Trust for Scotland charity. It is the Hermitage which you may find in Tay Forest Park. For over 200 years it has been one of the main attraction of Scotland. Hermitage Woodland Walk is a leisure tourist trail which we take. The trail passes by exotic trees including the tallest tree in Great Britain – the 64-meter Douglas pine. The entire forest is ancient and of great atmosphere. Falling snow flakes add to the mysterious atmosphere. The famous pine grows near from Ossian's Hall, a 18th century hermitage. It sits on a cliff projection from which you may enjoy the vista over the Black Linn Falls.
Mere hour of driving later we reach the former capital of Soctland – Perth. The 800 year old town is very popular in Scotland. However, we were not particularly fond of its high traffic and architecture so we rather set out to Scone Palace, one of the most regarded sights in the area which is situated in the small village of Scone. Scotish kings were crowned there o nthe Stone of Destiny until the year 1296. The palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens with different plant species. You may even spot peacocks strolling around or see the "kitchen garden", war cemetery, or a replica of the Stone of Destiny.
We move back to Edinburgh on the following day morning. There we would wait for our night flight to Prague. Yet there are two more places we want to see. First the town of Dundee mere 50 miles east of Perth. Royal Research Ship Discovery constructed in 1901 is on display there. Captain R. F. Scott and his expedition team were the first to reach Antarctica on this ship. The two year long expedition greatly helped to map the area and learn invaluable information about local fauna.
By crossing Tay Road Bridge we go further south into St Adnrews town. Founded in 1411, there is the oldes university in Scotland. However, we were much more interested in the remains of a 12th century cathedral. It is a huge compound right next to the sea. The entrance is free of charge and you pay admittance only if you want go to the museum or the tower. The vista over the town from the latter is breathtaking. Single ticket also allows us to visit nearby castle. Moreover, St Andrews host the famous British Open golf tournament.
Our travels in Scotland end in St Andrews. Don't let the weather discourage you. Travel here off season. The benefit of this would be less tourists and lower prices.
GPS: (katedrála) 56°20'21.6"N 2°47'12.9"W
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
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.
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.
Edinburgh is a Scottish city with a radiant atmosphere from Harry Potter movies. Scotch whiskey and history must not be missed here. If you are already in Edinburgh, be sure not to miss a visit to the famous Royal Yacht Britannia. It is interesting to see how not only the royal family lived on the ship. Admission £ 17 per person is worth every penny, plus the audio guide's interpretation is in Czech.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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