There are so many amazing sites and things about Scotland. We tried to narrow it down to 5 that summed up the feeling. Everyone should visit at least once in their life.
- The Land and it’s beauty. It felt like we really experienced most of all Scotland has to offer in topography. Arriving by ferry on the ocean shores with its crisp air, serene beauty and quiet lifestyle. To the rolling hills and Huge pastures of the lowlands and Midlands. You were shocked at how much land with so few people it felt like! It is just mind boggling after living in Southern California. Land land and more land. To the Lochs and Highlands, of what you think IS Scotland. The misty rain hanging over the lakes (lochs). Tall mountains with waterfalls, and a lot of Pine trees which I wasn’t expecting. The Troon beaches of Ayr, which are very South Carolina feeling with scrub brush and Big sandy beaches. Really diverse and quiet pretty all around. One can feel life all around you.
- Scotch the “Water of Life”– So says Darren. This one of course I can’t really agree on because everyone who knows me; knows that Champagne is MY Elixir of life. But for men, Scotland is to men what Champagne France and Paris is to women. Rugged outdoors with fine locally made, Single Malt Scotches, a mans world! The Whiskey Trail is the region of Scotland where you can follow Scotch Distilleries and do tastings like you go to Napa to taste wine. Beware however, Scotland has a ZERO tolerance for drinking and driving so be sure to have a designated driver!
- History– So we’ve been all over where History has been in England, Ireland, France, Italy and even America, but there really is something about the stories of Scotlands history. Perhaps, because so many movies have been made and Mel Gibson made you know them; or you just know more about a lot of the names shared like Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and more. Driving down the road and a castle popping up and you read the history and its facts, and you actually have read about them in school. Wars you remember in movies and you are standing on the field that it actually took place! You can still FEEL the history coming off the land and the buildings you are in. The haunting bag pipe music really helps send it thru you too.
- Fresh Scottish Salmon! I haven’t eaten Salmon since the Fukushima meltdown and I don’t like farm raised so to be finally able to eat wild caught Salmon in the cold waters of Scotland was a thrill for me. And boy is it good, the smoked salmon especially from our favorite small smoker we found: Marrbury Smokehouse, oh man this place was the best! They too have a castle!! Randomly we met the owners far from their restaurant in a town called Perth. They were so fun and nice. Unfortunately they only ship within the UK but if you are ever over in Scotland its a Must visit.
- Castles, as always. Always in search of more Castles, Scotland did not let us down. We found some fabulous ones and even better, Actual Castles from Darren’s lineage of his Campbell Clan. So exciting to see in person what we’ve researched online and then be standing in it! Cannot imagine being a current descendant of direct lineage and knowing you OWN this castle, even if its been turned over to the National Trust. Crazy cool. (many of the gentry had to turn there lands/castles/manors over to the National Trust due to the Very expensive taxation put on them) TO SEE MORE OF SCOTLAND: HTTP://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BELLASTRAVELS1
Arriving by sea to an incredibly beautiful sun drenched rural landscape was not how I had envisioned landing in Scotland. I had pictured beauty, yes, but not the type that evoked such feelings of welcome and warmth. We drove off the ferry into a picture book come to life filled with castles, lakes and incredible panoramas and if that weren’t enough, when I felt tired from driving we pulled over and had the opportunity to be served some of the best smoked salmon I have ever had. Wild caught, house smoked delicious. The best part is it is Scottish not West Coast Salmon, so no fear of neon glow coming from Fukashima, even Darla finally ate Salmon again after years of abstaining! Needless to say we bought quite a bit and have already eaten it all. YUM
The cute girls behind the counter had perfect Scottish lilts to their voices that made me smile. It is very rare that I have heard true Scottish accents in America. Scotty on Star Trek certainly doesn’t count! I am not sure if the Scots just don’t travel much but I rarely have heard it. The Scottish I heard was from my grandmother, who was very hard to understand!
Our arrival truly was a series of events laid out in a perfect universal order and much beloved by all. Could we live here? It is an incredible place and I want to spend a lot of time exploring but the wet cold may limit that. We will be “living” here for the next 3 weeks so the weather is something we shall learn to adapt to. The raw natural vivid landscape is incredible. I can’t wait to get my camera going!
Cool fact, there is a law called the Scottish right to roam that allows anyone basically the unlimited right to go, hike camp and go across almost all land and waterways unimpeded no matter who owns the land. Basically you aren’t allowed to invade peoples privacy, leave gates open, cause damage to crops or go cow tipping! That said, you are allowed to: pitch a tent on any hilltop you have the balls to climb, explore 3500 year old standing stone rings or cairns sitting on tree studded hilltops far from any road. This is a fundamental right set forth by the Scots long in the past. Such a different thought process than in America where, as a child I was shot at on at least 2 occasions for trespassing when I was just “creeking”, crawdading, or adventure exploring! (read, picking fruit). ha ha
Now that we have started to settle and “live” here for a day or two and the rains came over the beautiful hills in perfect Scottish fashion; I realize that there is a cost for the natural beauty and that is the weather! We hope for breaks to enable us to get to some incredible places but that remains to be seen. The British Open is playing at St. Andrews a few hours away, might do a drive by on that one, as unsure on the crowds/parking and Bella. Crazy to think that its happening so close to us.
One of our main goals is both of our ancestry quests here in Scotland. We have spent countless hours on Ancestry.com and have managed to trace both sides of my family here and one leg of Darla’s. We will be visiting the home parishes and looking at here these people live and when.
It is really a very exciting venture and we will lay it all out as soon as we put a few more pieces together. Kinda like an episode of Who do you think You are! I look forward to sharing what we find here and sharing it with you all soon!
Scotland here we Finally come. Our next destination for July/August. Darla has dreamed of Scotland for years, the land of both our heritage. (and hot men in skirts!)
Darren and I have been on Ancestry.com for quite some time and tracked our family trees back to the Scottish Isles and are looking forward to going to actual towns that we have found our heritage to be from.
This is Darren’s Grandfather in full regalia! What a handsome fellow!
and Darren’s grandma, who was born in Glasgow.
How cool will it be to maybe be able to go to local archive offices/churches and see if we can confirm what we have done on line and find our ancestors home towns.
Can’t wait to hear Scottish music and drink a pint in a good OLD old pub. stay tuned.