I could have easily just written a typical recap of my trip to Scotland, but I wanted to give you something a bit more interesting to read.
Also, if you watched my Instagram stories while I was travelling, you have a pretty good idea of everything we got up to while we were there. Lots of hiking. Lots of eating fish & chips. Lots of petting of dogs. It was my dream vacation.
I’ll give you a SUPER QUICK recap: Adam and I travelled to Scotland for a 10 day trip. The first couple days we stayed with my cousin and his wife in Edinburgh, exploring the city. Then we took the bus up to a small town called Callander, where we began a 4 day hike through the highlands. At the end of each day, we would find ourselves in the next town over, and would stay the night in a cute little B&B.
The hike was all organized by a company called Hill Walk Tours. They send you the map, your itinerary, set up the B&B’s for you, and also arrange for a transportation company to pick up your luggage and drop it off at your next B&B. It was so wonderfully organized and well planned, I would love to do something similar again. Also, at the end of a long day of hiking, I have NO INTEREST in sleeping in a tent. B&B’s are the way to go guys.
Day 1 of the hike we walked roughly 26-28 km. Day 2 was ~28 km, and extremely more difficult than the day before. Day 3&4 we walked about 16 km each day. It was seriously rough going, and at times, I felt like my feet were going to explode from all the pressure of walking. However, at the end of each day, we felt like we have achieved so much. It was such a great feeling of accomplishment, and one of the only ways to explore the REAL Scotland.
8 Things Scotland does Better than Anywhere Else
DOGS IN BARS
When was the last time you ever saw a dog sitting in a bar, while the owners had a pint or two? If you live in Canada – probably never! Which is something that I think I will have to write to my local MP about, so we can change that our legislation.
Any bar you walk into in Scotland has a sign that says “We welcome dogs!” As long as they are well behaved and relatively quiet, your little buddy can join you for a nice little pale ale. This was literally my dream come true, and I would just walk around the bar petting all the doggies until my beer had gone flat. But seriously. So cute.
I’ve travelled to many places where vegetarian options are just unheard of (i.e SPAIN. CHINA. Figure it out guys). However, in Scotland and the UK, they ALWAYS had some sort of option for vegetarian or vegan. Not only that, but they would mention on the menus where the produce was sourced from, and which farm. How cool is that! Rather than just buying ‘blackberries from somewhere maybe in Mexico’ you were getting ‘vine tomatoes from a cute little farm in Killin.’
On my last day I went to Sainsburys, and loaded up on vegetarian sausages and veggie bacon. The soy products in the UK are literally worlds ahead in their veggie-alternative development and I needed to get my fix.
BED & BREAKFASTS
Our B&B in Pitlochery
AirBnB – eat your heart out.
Bed and breakfasts in Scotland are THE REAL DEAL. I’m talking, old, stone, family home mansions, converted into a 6 room cosy B&B. Each day when we finished our hike, we would be greeted by an older couple who opened their warm and inviting doors to us.
My favorite part was that every time we walked into a new clean room, there would be a kettle, two teacups and a biscuit waiting for us! Each B&B had their own on-suite, and a little room that you could sit and watch tv or read (or stretch, in my case). The night before we would write your breakfast order down and they would have it ready in the morning. This was perfect because we would fill up on a big, English breakfast, and then head out for a long and challenging hike.
We decided to hike the Rob Roy Way, because he was a Macgregor, and Adam has ties to that clan.
We think, at least.
Honestly, there were times we were hiking that I just couldn’t BELIEVE that we were in Scotland. It felt like we were in the Amazon jungle at times, or the forests of China. I couldn’t believe how many different types of vegetation there were, and all the different terrains.
For example, in one day we hiked up a rocky mountain, walked along the side of a grassy mountain, beside a waterfall, in between the highlands, and in the middle of the forest. It was a new adventure every 60 minutes.
Massive bowls of paella
The Stockbridge Farmers Market was so nice, we went twice!
I love a good farmers market. And I don’t mean the ones that have 10 stalls selling the exact same over priced fruit and vegetables.
This market had everything – PAELLA, fresh fish, Indian roti, Scotch eggs, olive tapenade, scones, soaps, WHATEVER U WANT. This market was so great, that it was completely packed from the minute it opened until closing. And somehow they managed to squeeze all of it into a TINY parking lot that would fit probably 10 cars at most.
Definitely recommend going if you ever make it to Edinburgh.
It is seriously so difficult to get a good pic in Toronto sometimes. There is so much going on in the background! Plus so many different building sizes and shapes and colors. A girl just needs a fairly inconspicuous blank wall to pose in front of. Das it.
The streets of Edinburgh are on a completely different level. Everything is made of stone there, and gives off this moody, artsy look to it. There are tiny streets that are lined with cafes and bars, and each one will be painted a different color to the next, giving it a quaint, almost movie-set kind of vibe.
Lets not forget that they have castles and palaces casually laying around there, plus cobblestone roads. OMG. Just take me back now, pls.
A little known secret about me is that I FKING LOVE BAGPIPES. No, i’m not kidding. I’ll listen to them all afternoon. They give off this sort of heart-wrenching, beautiful sound that I just adore.
We were SO lucky, because the last day of our hike ended in Pitlochery, and that just happened to fall on the day of the annual Highland Games! YES. THE MOST SCOTTISH EVENT TO EVER OCCUR, HAPPENED WHILE WE WERE THERE.
It started off with an opening parade of bagpipers from different cities in the Highlands, which was one of my favorite moments of the entire trip. There were about 10-12 different groups, each one decked out in kilts and colors. It then moved onto a huge field, where the Highland Games were set up (which we obviously attended).
There is so much history in Scotland, I don’t think you could ever learn all of it. We ended up going to the National Museum of Scotland, where Adam made us begin IN THE BASEMENT, learning about the origins of Scotland.
2 hours later, we finally made it up to the 3rd floor (there were six floors all dedicated to the history of Scotland. No. I’m not kidding), where we started to read about Scottish royalty, and all the drama that unfolded there. Little thing to note: never become a king. You will get murdered.
It was very interesting to read about the vikings who were there first, and to see how far they travelled throughout the country. Even on our hikes, we would see old, old buildings and castles, and it was incredible to know that there were still around after all those years.
This was honestly one of my favorite trips to go on, and I would recommend 100% going to Scotland if you’re ever given the chance. Normally I prefer to take vacations that are warm, and on the beach, but I’m glad I went outside of my comfort zone on this one. It was such a wonderful time. I can’t wait to go back to the UK, because I just feel so happy and at peace there.