Stunning Scotland

Having spent a good 15 years in Scotland while studying it was only right that we ventured up north for a visit together. Being her first visit to Scotland, and having not been back in about 10 years, it was always going to be interesting.

We started the day off by making our way to London Kings Cross station and finding it packed and chaotic. To be fair, it was a bank holiday weekend and the sun was shining but this was just crazy. We calmly thought that only a fraction of these people would be going to Edinburgh without worrying. Given the bank holiday, the end of the Fringe Festival and booking the tickets quite late, there was no possibility of reserving a seat for the train journey. Still, we thought all would be fine, and in the worst case, we might not sit together for part of the trip.

How wrong we were. As soon as they announced the platform number, the rat race began. People running from all directions which we thought was a bit extreme but as we got closer and saw the train and the announcement that if you get on good if not tough and wait for the next one, we joined the mad rush. We hopped on in any carriage and basically sat on the floor in the carriage entrance with a load of others. It was going to be a long 4 hours or so.

About 10 minutes into the journey, we looked at each other and thought that it was a moment of madness to ditch our trusty air companion for the rails. On top of everything, tickets cost a fortune.

Anyway, the journey aside, we made it to Waverley Station in Edinburgh just before midnight on Friday and spent the night in a cosy hotel on Princes Street with a bit of a view of the castle. Having sat on a hard floor for the whole journey we crashed out.

In the morning we picked up the hire car and toured Edinburgh a little with a visit to my old stomping grounds and then made our way further north. Crossed the new Firth of Forth bridge and pit stop in Dunkeld. The stop in Dunkeld could not have been planned any better.

The river Tay was in full force, vivid blue water, just the right amount of clouds in the sky and luscious greens. The comment was “I imagine heaven would look something like this” – the photos do not do it justice so it was a case of phones away and just enjoy the moment. Thank you, Dunkeld. Next up was a quick drive through Pitlochry and a visit to the dam before heading further north to Inverness. The weekend was planned to be in the outskirts of Inverness on Saturday night to have an early start on Sunday to enjoy the Loch Ness and try and spot the monster and a bit of Highlands viewings.

Worked wonderfully well, early(ish) Sunday morning we checkout out, got in the car and made our way to Loch Ness enjoying the loch from various viewpoints. Was nice and tranquil with not too many people around so felt magical.

Made our way back towards Edinburgh via Spean Bridge and Ben Nevis before turning inwards to enjoy some beautiful highlands scenery and stopping off in Crieff for a nose around. From Crieff, we headed for the motorway via Stirling and saw the castle in the background. Was a fitting finish to a quick road trip in Scotland.

Returned to Edinburgh and checked in to the Scotsman Hotel – wow. Very impressive and full of character and did a bit of sightseeing:

  • Royal Mile
  • Castle
  • Princes Street and George Street
  • Mound
  • Canongate.

For the return to London, to avoid the same train issues as on the way up (or so we thought), we got to the station just after lunch and hopped on the first train to London. Surprise surprise, train was packed but we found a place to lean on which was padded so not too bad, apart from being in front of the toilet. Oh well, gave us time to chat about the wonderful sights we had seen.

Overall was a delightful trip and it was a joy to return to Scotland after so much time away. I had forgotten how beautiful it was and definitely warrants a trip there more frequently. Just next time, it will be by plane.