Sunday, March 3, 2013

pearls go plaid in scotland

escaping the hustle & bustle of city life in london : a trip to scotland had us scouring the highlands, sipping scotch and storming castles all weekend long! I had been excited for our midterm travel plans (the school planned this one for us) for a few weeks but I was not expecting to fall as in love with northern england as I did. something about the countless herds of sheep (which I was quite determined to bring home), the fresh outdoor air and horribly thick accents I couldn't understand felt especially energizing.

{ day one }

we started our trip thursday morning as we flew into inverness, scotland before hopping on the coach bus and venturing straight into the highlands of cairngorm mountain reindeer center. yes. reindeer! a small hike up a snowy hill and a few slips in my wellingtons later : we were standing in a field with the reindeer herders who had thoughtfully brought part of the herd across the hills to hang out with us. we got to pet their insanely thick/rug-like coats and feed them grains out of our bare hands! I planned on taking one of them home with me and natalie & I may have tried to run/fly away with them after they finished eating... after the reindeer games we stayed the night in the tiny town of aviemore where we helped ourselves to an italian buffet for about three and a half hours followed by a traditional scottish pub experience.

 starting off our scotland trip in adventure mode
 kicking off the reindeer games!
snowy hillsides and streams that just shouted "scotland!"
 here's the herd of reindeer!!! each one has a unique look & personality according to the reindeer herders
 this little gal liked to stay closet to her mum 
 reindeer love! this one-antlered gal is called candice : she's feisty but we got along pretty well
 natalie & I documenting our attempts at running away with the reindeer : I think they cheated & took flight once they were in the fog
 here's candice & I again : reindeer love their quaker oats

{ day two }

friday we were up & back on the coach to visit good ol' nessie on loch ness! a sucker for a good urban myth, I was so excited to be soaking up the first real sun we'd seen in weeks as I searched for signs of the giant lake monster on our mini boat cruise. we made our way to the medieval ruins of urquhart castle where we overtook it once again with our ability to climb up stone walls (we didn't see the "no climbing" signs...) and insane strength when it came to lifting the giant stones for the catapult. I'm sure we more resembled kids on a playground than university students, so it seemed to fit that in true field trip form, we slid back into our seats on the bus with our sack lunches to make our way to glen coe valley. it was here I felt truly immersed in the highlands as we strolled down a valley path at the base of scotland's tallest peaks, listening to stories about the old macdonald clan, their cattle stealing days and inevitably bloody end thanks to the royal scottish army... 

 wellies were the official shoe of choice this trip
nessie spotting on the roadside! she wanted to enjoy the sun while she could too... 
loch ness all lit up
 the urquhart castle from our boat view
 castle entrance : too easy to storm, they should work on that...
 nothing beats medieval stonework
caryn & I staying serious while on guard duty in the guards' room 
 view from the tip top of the castle
 didn't quite see this sign until it was a little late... #castleconquered
 playing on the trebuchet (catapult) 
hello glen coe!
 getting ready for a stroll through the valley 
 typical highland hype
 our "hike" was timed quite perfectly with the sunset
 sorry for the repetition... but how could I help it? 
 just a couple of the many many many sheep you find around scotland : need one!!!
 reflecting on the journey so far
 again, sometimes one picture just isn't enough

day two & a half }

we spent the night & following morning in oban, which quickly became a group favorite. this sightly seaside town had us marveling at the marina as we stopped by chocolate shops and hiked up hills to the best view in scotland. mccaig's tower (basically a circular stone enclosure) overlooks the bay and with a fortunate weather forecast, fills you with the feeling you're going to conquer the world today. oban was the essence of scotish hospitality and I could imagine no better way to spend a few hours than stumbling over the stone streets in my rainboots with the sun on my face and a coffee in hand...

 oh hey! it's oban! 
 marina traffic
 pretending to instagram my wellies without wifi
 I picked out my scottish cottage in oban 
 overlooking oban from mccaig's tower
part of the crew
a common theme for the weekend was : "I bet I can climb up that..."
 hello marybeth!
 seafront view in mccaig's tower

{ day three }

to complete our northern tour, we made our way east to end our weekend in edinburgh. I had underestimated how extremely pretty everything in edinburgh would be : every other building seems to resemble a stone cathedral and as we strolled along the winding streets of steep hills and uneven cobblestone, the young energy of the university crowd mixed with the leisure of a medieval lifestyle. I loved poking our heads in & out of shops decked out completely in plaid, attempting to play bagpipes in one and trying on vintage kilts in the next. we had girls night out with dinner at the a hipster restaurant with fantastic veggie burgers & chips followed buy frozen yogurt we were somehow not too cold to eat. this morning (sunday) we checked out the top of the city : the edinburgh castle! walking around, I like to play the game : "what would people do right here a few thousand years ago?" the highlight was definitely the scottish crown jewels that started back on queen mary's head in the 1500s, now we're talking vintage! sad to leave scotland but happy to be out of hostel beds, my only regret this weekend is not returning with a pet sheep adorned in a tartan collar & leash for long walks through the london parks...

evening arrival in edinburgh
city view at dusk
 naturally, it was girls night...
 making sure I have scottish housing options : how about a apartment in edinburgh?
vintage military jackets 
 common looking street in edinburgh 
chelsea & I were so excited to find the missoni hotel! missoni printed upholstery & bag boys in missoni kilts... 
how I like to kill time these days : trying on hats 
the place we ate dinner (villager) had cool prints on the walls like this quirky robot mixed with leather couches and crystal chandeliers
side of the edinburgh castle
an very castle-esque entrance
maddy, natalie & I learning self defense medieval style
is this how the cannon works?
goodbye scotland, it's been fun!


  1. that reindeer kiss .... !!!!

    1. I wanted to steal one of the baby reindeer so bad!!! they seemed to like me haha