Highlights from the Highlands

I’m feeling pretty fortunate to have been able to take a nice week-long vacation with my husband, Matt, in Scotland. The best part? The beautiful vistas and peace and quiet!

I love New York City, but sometimes all the high energy hustle and bustle can really get to me. We spent the majority of our trip on Skye and in the Highlands around Inverness, which was deeply appreciated.

A few highlights from our trip:

Harried & Fun Driving
This wasn’t my first attempt driving left sided (aka on the left side of the road). It’s amazing how much on-coming traffic seems to just keep coming straight at you! But once you get the hang of it, it can really be quite fun with all those twisting and turning roads and beautiful scenery. When I wasn’t at the wheel, I manage to take some great roadside photos!

Long and Hilly Walks
In addition to tromping up and down the cobblestone roads of Edinburgh on our last day, we went on three beautiful walks during our trip. The first day we stopped at the Pass at Killecrankie. Then while on Skye, we went on a four hour walk from the valley, up and through the hills to an old Highlander settlement by the bay, and back. While visiting the Highlands, we found a great walk in Glen Affric to Dogs Falls. Beautiful scenery and a great way to stretch our legs to balance out all that driving!

 

The Best Food
You may be a bit surprised by this one … I was a bit surprised too. After all, the UK gets a bad rap for food. While in Scotland, I ate a wide array of foods from mussels, scallops, and salmon to venison to lamb. My favorite restaurant hands down was Creelers of Skye and my favorite lunch meal was venison and bacon chili at Fiddler’s in Drumnadrochit.

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Regal Homes
Though we skipped the Edinburgh Castle (Matt & I had both seen it on our individual visits while in college), we still managed to see a total of 3 royal residences. The Dunvegan Castle in Skye (home of the MacLeods), the Urquhart Castle near Drumnadrochit, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse where Queen Elizabeth lives while in Scotland every summer and the renowned home of Mary Queen of Scots.

(Fun Fact: The last photo here is of Inverness Castle, which never a royal residence, or for that matter, a residence of any kind!)

Cheesy Tourist Traps
No vacation is complete without these. We did two:

1) The Loch Ness Centre which tries to help you decide whether Nessie (aka The Loch Ness Monster) really exists. I wasn’t thrilled with the exhibit, but as my husband said, it isn’t really something you can skip.

2) The Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh, which was complete with cat scares and some really cool interactive “paintings” (which clearly provided some very fun and interesting work for actors).

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Scotch & Cider
Much to Matt’s pleasure, I discovered an interest in whiskey after our visit and tasting tour at the Talisker Distillery. As new members of the Friends of the Single Malts, I insisted we visit and do tastings at 2 more distilleries: Dalwhinnie & Glen Ord. Now we just have to go back so we can finish our “Passports” by visiting the remaining 9 distilleries.

As a sidebar, since I can’t drink beer (gluten tolerance), I decided to start trying ciders at the various pubs and restaurants we visited. My favorite: Thistly Cross Elderflower. Now I just have to figure out how to get ahold of some here in the US.

Thistly Elderflower Cider

Photography Fun
With so much beauty around, I couldn’t help taking lots of photos and perfecting my shooting and camera techniques with my camera. If you enjoyed the photos in this post, be sure to follow me on Twitter! Inspired by my friend Laura Vogels’ who is taking 10,000 pictures in 30 days, I’ll be posting a photo a day of Scotland for the next 30 days!

xo,
Natalie

PS: Want to know more about my trip? Post your questions below or hit me up for a cup of Joe.

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