I set this up so that everyone can keep track of me on my travels. Hope you enjoy reading.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I SAW NESSIE!!!

Ok, so I went to Scotland, and had a fluke with getting good weather, while England got flooded! So I timed that right! Here's my adventures...
17/7- I got the train to Birmingham airport and (eventually, after about an hour's delay, with us sitting on the plane waiting for cleaning crew) flew to Edinburgh. It was rather cloudy and threatening rain when I got in at 4pmish. I walked to my hostel I stayed in the first night, which was right behind Edinburgh Castle, in a converted old apartment building, with amazing murals on walls and stuff. (thats the sign for my hostel)
Then I checked in, dumped my stuff and went out to get on the open top bus, in the few hours of daylight I had in Edinburgh. Just as my loop was coming to a close it started to lightly rain. It was a rather small city, and I'm glad I did the loop, cos most of it was interesting to see, but I wasn't compelled to get off and go into anywhere, so I didn't feel I was missing anything. By this time it was 7ish so I headed back to the hostel and got myself sorted for the next night. It was a 16 bed room! With most of the people in there living there as a base while they did temp work. So everyone knew each other and we're coming and going all night for one of their birthdays.
18/7- I got up and headed to the office of my Haggis tour for 8.30am departure. Our tour guide was Russell, who was slightly mental. He was also the driver, which made it an interesting 3 days. The bus was a little yellow bus, and my knees were well and truly wedged into the seat in front for the first day, so much so that I my left knee is still bruised and tender. The first place we stopped off at was the William Wallace monument (which involved a rushed walk up a steep hill). There we got the story from Russell about the battle that Braveheart kind of is based on, except he told us that there was a bridge there, so without the bridge, they would never have won, yet the bridge wasn't mentioned in the movie.
Then from there we went to see Hamish, the Highland Coo. He is quite famous and people stop and feed him apples and carrots.
From here we drove to a place called "The Green Welly" which is a services with a cafe and stuff. Russell introduced the Scottish game, whereby we could earn points for doing certain things. The first available points were for having Cullen Skink which was a fishy soup that they had in the Cafe, and to have Irn-Bru to drink. So I earned my first 40,000 points, on the way to the million points he set the target at. The soup was ICKY but the Irn-Bru tasted like creaming soda a bit.
From here we heard all about Rob Roy McGregor as we travelled along to Glencoe, which translated to Valley of the Tears, as when it rains all the water runs down off the hills and it looks like tears. This was the spot of another battle, with the Cambells, so we heard all about that from Russell. Next we drove up to Fort Augustus where we were staying the night. On the way we were lucky enough to see the peak of Ben Nevis, which is apparently only visible 40 days a year, as usually it is cloudy or misty. So we were starting to get good weather.
Then when we arrived in Fort Augustus, which is on the banks of Loch Ness, and once checked in we went to the Clansman Centre where we got a show about the old way of life in the Scottish Highlands and how to put on a traditional kilt. Then we went back to the Hostel, and had dinner, where I tried haggis, as it was one of the toppings for the baked potatoes, and then we went on a cruise on Loch Ness with a guy who is employed by MIT to monitor the Loch and track the "monsters". He has thousands of pounds worth of sonar equipment etc on the boat. I kind of believe there is SOMETHING there, but not that it is a monster! He said they believe there are 18 of them, and they are left over dinosaurs. We got to see an image of the sonar equipment picking up a large object only 1 week earlier. Then we went over the road to the pub where we listened to a local musician and chatted, then I went to bed when some more lightweights gave up at 10.30pm. 19/7- I managed to get a front seat so no more leg pain! YAY ME! And the weather was amazing, the grey skies had gone and it was actually sunny! In Scotland! We drove up past several Lochs on our adventure to the Isle of Skye. We stopped off to take a photo of one, called Loch Garry which is nicknamed Scotland's Loch as it looks a bit like a map of Scotland. Next stop was Eilean Donan which is the castle that is used on all adverts and postcards for Scotland. It was picturesque, but not the best castle I have ever seen, as Russell promised us! Then we went over a bridge to the Isle of Skye and drove a little bit around there. Stopping off first of all at a river called Sligachan, which is part of a story as it it meant to make you beautiful. The story is that a beautiful girl was on her way to her wedding and her donkey she was riding got spooked and threw her, so she hit her face and broke her eye socket and her jaw, so when she got to the wedding, to save her clan, she was hideous. Her groom to be pulled up the veil to see what he was going to be marrying, and saw her, and thought her father (who didn't want her to marry this guy) did it to her so he wouldn't marry a pretty girl. So he started attacking everything in sight. She fled, and on the way back a faerie told her to dunk her face in the river for 7 seconds and she would be beautiful again. So she did, and was restored to her beauty. So we all had to dunk our faces in for 7 seconds. I had to do it twice as the girl taking my photo for me missed it! But unfortunately I think the 2nd time undid all the beauty the first dunk gave me! (apologies for my bum) Then we went to Portree for lunch, and then off to Faerie Falls, where we stopped and walked up to the top to fill out drink bottles and drink waterfall! The peat in the ground filters the water. It tasted ok. From there we went to cliffs called Kilt Rock which links to a story of the Giant's Causeway from Ireland. It is called that as the cliff looks pleated, like a kilt. (the one right at the end) Then on the way back we stopped off and went to look at Lealt falls, which was quite pretty, running down to the sea. When we got back to the hostel (same one) we had dinner and then sat around in the hostel bar playing games and singing along to the jukebox. When the karaoke came out, I bailed out, cos I wasn't drunk enough for that! Unlike everyone else who had been doing drinking games for 4 hours. Turns out I missed skinny dipping in Loch Ness and other shenanigans!
20/7- We packed up all our stuff, loaded it onto the bus, and headed off back to Edinburgh. On the way we stopped off at a little "Love Shack" built by a river. Then we stopped to get pictures of Urquhart Castle, which is in ruins, but alongside Loch Ness. Then we drove past the most AMAZING road sign ever in Drumnadrochit.
Next we stopped off at the Culloden battle field and heart all about the terrible battle that took place there. After this we went to the Clava Cairns which are ancient burial chambers, and the best examples of these, that are still fairly well preserved.
We stopped off at Kinguissie for lunch, at a pub called the Tipsy Laird. And then the final stop for the trip was Dunkeld cathedral, where we got a group photo. After this is was back to Edinburgh. I was luck enough that my hostel for the night was literally 10mtrs from where we got dropped off, so I went in, dumped my stuff, and went to get some dinner.
21/7- I got up at 5.45am. Got the bus to the airport at 6.20am. The caught the plane to Birmingham at 8.55am. While I was at the airport I saw news reports about flooding and massive queues on the motorways for 40 miles. So everyone was a bit confused about how to deal with this when we got back. I got there, went to get the train back and no trains were running from Birmingham. So I had to catch a bus to Coventry. Then a bus to Rugby. Then a bus to Northampton. So I finally got back at about 3pm! JOY!
22/7- Happy Birthday to me! It was my b'day. I had most of my rellies on mum's side come over for a BBQ which was nice. It is now my last week in England. And I still have so much stuff to do! I have sold my car. I have got my boxes shipped back. But tomorrow I am off to London to get my ticket sorted to go home. Then Saturday I am in London again to see Sound of Music with my aunt. And now I have to get ready as I am going to spend this afternoon with my cousin.

1 comment:

toy said...

Totally loved the tour as usual and love my very own Nessy. Thank you sooo much Raych...toy. xoxo