Trip retrospective #6 – Skyfall country

Very early start today to get on a minibus to be a true tourist and go and see Loch Ness. Seemed like a good way to spend a day out in the Scottish Highlands and I was right.

I left the apartment while it was still dark and walked along the early morning streets to the tour offices. Again that weird sense of dislocation. Surrounded by strangers ( a surprising amount so early in the pre-sunrise morning), totally unfamiliar streets, no landmark that I could take a sense of recognition from. I loved it! I was also relieved to find out that I was happy to be by myself in a strange city. While I was alone, I didn’t feel lonely.

I was the only solo traveller on the minibus (I have discovered most people my age travel with someone else!) but we all introduced ourselves and off we went. Shout out to Rabbies Tours – funny, knowledgeable guides and well-organised.

Didn’t have to get too far out of the city before there was snow, both on the ground and gently falling. I love snow. While we have  it in  certain places in New Zealand, it’s sub- tropical in Auckland so I don’t get to see it that often.

We stopped at various places for photos and I was struck as to how similar the landscape was to the South Island back home. It felt very familiar but on a much wider scale and the light was amazing!

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A highlight was driving along the ‘Skyfall’ road with the haunting theme tune playing through the speakers – indescribably evocative and moving.

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Rugged landscapes that had been thrust up countless millions of years ago towered all around us as we made our way through the Glencoe Valley. I adore mountains, they speak to me spiritually every time I am amongst them. Something about their immovability and sheer immensity always brings me close to God.

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Loch Ness itself was cold, forbidding and mysterious. The water is black due to the high levels of peat, extremely deep, and  the temperature barely changes from summer to winter. It’s so cold you would struggle to survive if you fell in. It’s certainly not hard to start thinking that maybe something does live in those murky depths, maybe in one of the newly discovered tunnels that lead off the loch. Stunning autumn trees lined the banks as a dramatic contrast

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Due to the time of year the trip back was spent mainly in the dark. it was snowing heavily and we stopped for a whisky tasting (which sorted out some Christmas presents for me!) ,most welcome fish and chips to keep ourselves warm before coming back into the bright lights and relative warmth  of Edinburgh.

Next stop the Lake District. Definitely left a small piece of my heart in Scotland – hopefully will make it back one day.

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