After some convincing that they could do more than just hang out in Paris for two weeks, my parents made their first-ever trip to Europe. After years of consuming all sorts of media involving swords, bagpipes and burly men, we decided that a mini-trip to Scotland would be essential.
We found that Scotland contained the best parts of Ireland – hospitable people, cozy pubs, green grass everywhere – while also containing some of the most stunning natural beauty we have seen yet this year.
The trip started with a quick drive from Edinburgh to Doune Castle. Built around 1400, the castle’s contemporary claim to fame is that it was used in Outlander, Game of Thrones, and for a majority of exterior and interior castle shots in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We then proceeded to Fort William, where we warmed up with some long-awaited ales, whiskey, pies and our first-ever haggis.
After satisfying full Scottish breakfasts (with more haggis, and – more importantly – not a French breakfast), we set out for the Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Clouds and rain would frequently roll in and out, but at all times we were blown away by the scenery. If we had stopped every time we saw a postcard setting, we wouldn’t have made it very far.
Beyond just Skye, there are so many nooks and crannies in the Highlands that it was impossible to cover it all. There are endless opportunities for scenic driving, biking and hiking. There are whisky distilleries, castles, you name it in every direction. Spend more time here than we did.
After a lot of driving, we stayed at a secluded house in the tiny, tiny town of Achmore. It was a nice getaway from the hordes of tourists who had made securing a room at one of the B&Bs on Skye impossible.
We closed out the trip in Edinburgh, and Erin and I were quite surprised at just how much we enjoyed our time there. While it was just an afternoon and evening, we crammed as much in as possible, walking everywhere we could to take in as much as possible. Compared to London and Dublin, much of central Edinburgh is very old, but very well-preserved. We would definitely like to come back here.
Go all over. You can’t go wrong here.