I’ve been saving the best for last.
When planning our trip to Scotland, we desperately wanted to get up into the mountains, but we didn’t know how to make it happen. The beautiful Scottish Highlands are legendary, but quite far from Edinburgh and no public transport takes you to middle-of-nowhere-scotland.
We eventually found a few tour companies that meet in Edinburgh and take you on day trips up through the Highlands. They are expensive and LONG 12 hour days… but it was the best part of our trip!
12 hours seems like a crazy amount of time on a bus, but it actually flew by! We stopped every two hours or so either for food or to explore some wonderful scenery. During the bus ride we listened to traditional Scottish music and were told all about Scottish clan history. We were never bored and we would have never been able to see the Highlands had we not taken a bus tour!
Our first stop was only about an hour in. We stopped in a little town called Kilmahog Village for some breakfast and to see some Highland Cows! We had seen souvenirs galore about these highland cows and were so excited to see some, ha! They have long furry hair and only live up in these cold Scottish mountains since they can withstand the winters due to their long coats. They are so cute! We saw two up close but we saw hundreds of free-roamers throughout the day!
Our next stop was in Rannoch Moor, part of the Scottish Highlands with tons of little lochs and endless beauty. We stopped in this area for a little bit and were able to step off the bus into almost absolute silence. It was so quiet and peaceful and absolutely stunning. In a day all about scenic vistas… the day was certainly starting out well!
Our next big stop was Glencoe. This place was incredibly beautiful and was my favorite stop of the day!
Although it’s hard to believe by looking at this gorgeous place, Glencoe was famously the sight of a horrible massacre. Different clans of the area were asked (forced) to sign an allegiance decree for the new monarchs, William and Mary. Unfortunately, the MacDonald Clan basically… lost the paperwork… (they were three days late in signing). Because of this, King William sent some of his guys to go and befriend the MacDonalds.
The MacDonalds, being the friendly Scottishmen they are, offered hospitality to their new traveling friends and allowed them to bunk with them as they passed through town. The visitors stayed in their homes for TWO WEEKS before someone gave “the signal” and in the middle of the night all the visitors murdered their hosts! 38 people died all around the glen while trying to escape, and another 40 women and children died in the following weeks from exposure since their homes had been burned down and ransacked. A horrible, horrible story when this place could have remained so beautiful and sacred.
There are monuments and documentaries about this tragedy, but Glencoe has come a long way since the 1600s. Now it stands as a beautiful place to hike, bike, and take in nature.
Our last stop for the day was our longest and most exciting stop. We actually took a boat on Loch Ness in search for the Loch Ness Monster. I mean.. not really “searching,” but how cool is that!
I never thought I would find myself on Loch Ness in Scotland. Life is amazing, isn’t it!. [sappy moment over]
We took a fun boat ride around the lake and heard all about the legends of Nessie. It’s understandable why these legends started… the lake is unexpectedly large. This lake ALONE holds more water than all the bodies of water in England and Scotland COMBINED. It is 850-900 feet deep and 22 miles long!
Since the water that flows into the lake runs through the fields full of peat, the water is actually BLACK. Crazy deep water… black and impossible to see through.. add that to the fact that lots of people in that area were going missing… seems like the perfect monster story.
When triathletes came to Scotland, they would actually be told to purchase “bite insurance” worth a million dollars if they were bitten by Nessie….
All in all, we had the most amazing day trip up to the Scottish Highlands. If you are in Edinburgh and have the time, FIND A DAY TOUR! It is so beautiful. You learn so much and see so many amazing places.
I leave you with the two silliest photos of the trip: