TRAVELING SOLTS – THE LAND OF SCOTCH, TARTAN PLAID, AND HARRY POTTER (PART 1)

Lengthy post alert!

It’s hard to believe it’s already been FOUR months since we came home from the most beautiful and magical SCOTLAND.  We finally had time to sit down and write about some of the highlights of our trip and how we are going to incorporate some of the pictures into our home!  There is so much we want to include in these posts so we’ve split them into a couple parts.  This first one highlights St. Andrews. [And Scotch].

ST. ANDREWS 

We spent 10 days in Scotland, the majority of it in St. Andrews (for my youngest sister’s graduation from St. Andrews University!).  St. Andrews is seriously the most enchanting place on this earth.  I definitely felt right at home surround by the beautiful sea and green countryside.  I’m pretty convinced I lived here in a past life.

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Ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral
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The Fife Coastal Path

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We had the best time exploring this charming seaside town.  Most people think of the famous Old Course and the Swilcan Bridge when they think of St. Andrews.  But there is SO much rich history to discover – the school itself was founded in 1413. [And Scotch]

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Main courtyard of the University.

One of our days was spent celebrating my sister’s graduation from The University of St. Andrews (I’m convinced it’s actually Hogwarts)! [No joke she kept yelling spells at me. People stared.] This was hands down the coolest graduation celebration I’ve ever been too.  The University of St. Andrews has in its possession three medieval academic maces that date back to the 15th century.  These maces are only brought out for use during graduation.  The graduates are sent on their way by the ceremonious touching of a 300 year old cap that was worn by  Sir John Arbuthnot, the private physician to Queen Anne. [Who apparently had lice…JK]

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We loved exploring the famous ruins of St. Andrews Castle and Cathedral (my brother proposed to his girlfriend at the top of the cathedral tower!! SO MAGICAL!).

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Ruins of the St. Andrews Castle

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I had way too much fun exploring the cute little shops all over town. [I agree, way too much fun] My favorite is one called Top Drawer (you can follow them on Facebook!) – they sell the cutest home décor items (I have several of their nautical inspired painted ceramic tiles – super cute!).

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How cute are my parents?!

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Hands down though my favorite part of St. Andrews was exploring the coast and hiking along the Fife Coastal Path.  Such gorgeous views of the North Sea and the surrounding rolling rolls.  I HIGHLY recommend doing this if you ever visit St. Andrews.

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You can’t visit Scotland without going to at least one scotch distillery.  Hubby did LOTS of research [And tasting] and ended up finding a scotch distillery 15 minutes from St. Andrews.   Visiting the Kingsbarns Distillery was probably one of my favorite days!  My siblings and I ended up getting lost after we embarked off the bus, but it was the best experience ever!

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We ended up walking through the cute town of Kingsbarns and enjoyed seeing all the Scottish cottages and local life.  We found a gravel path that led us through the beautiful countryside and dropped us out at the North Sea.  We somehow ended up on the Kingsbarns Golf Course and received some very confused looks from the local golfers.  Eventually we stopped at the cutest farm house and asked some very nice folks how to get to the distillery.  What should have been a ten minute walk off the bus turned into the most glorious hour of exploring the Scottish countryside.

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The distillery itself was awesome!  We tasted some delicious scotch and gin and learned all about the process of making scotch.  Hubby purchased our favorite bottle to bring home so we can taste a bit of Scotland every so often. [Kingsbarn itself is a fairly young distillery, its first distillation occuring in 2015.  The distillery was founded by a Caddie from one of the local courses and a member of the Wemyss Family, who has other distilleries. While we were not able to taste the finished product, we were able to sample the raw spirit that went into the casks that eventually will become Scotch as well as several other single malts and blends from the Wemyss Family.  The Wemyss have a unique process for the blends that are based on flavor palate, so blends include the “The Hive,” “The Spice King,” “Chimney Peat,” and “Kiln Embers.”  Kiln Embers had the palate of bacon and barbecue, which was as unique as it was awesome.]

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We can’t end this post without mentioning the food.  Honestly we didn’t think Scottish food was something to write home about.  Boy were we wrong!  We actually loved the local cuisine.  And yes, we ALL tried haggis, which was served every which way from roasted, fried and yes, even on nachos.  And it was surprisingly quite delicious! [Haggis was the best thing ever, minus Scotch of course]  Another fan favorite were the breakfast scones with clotted cream…OMG….so good!  I think everyone’s favorite meal though was the local fish and chips – you just can’t find ’em in the states like you can in Scotland.

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Next up, Edinburgh and the Highlands!

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

2 thoughts on “TRAVELING SOLTS – THE LAND OF SCOTCH, TARTAN PLAID, AND HARRY POTTER (PART 1)

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