So far we’ve shared about our Scottish adventures in St. Andrews and Edinburgh. This is the last post in our Scotland series and it’s all about the Highlands!
After spending a week in St. Andrews we headed up into the Highlands for two days. We stayed in Inverness in a cute old hotel called Kings Highway. The real adventures though were in the Highlands. What a majestic landscape! Huge rolling hills surrounding you in every direction. If you have ever read or watched the Outlander series, you are probably able to picture the beauty of this area.
Our first stop in the Highlands was Loch Ness, which is not a small lake like people think. It’s a 30 mile long lake and all the bodies of water in the UK can fit into the depth of it. We were amazed by the size and beauty! Sadly, we did not see Nessie the Loch Ness monster. [Hungry Shannon is an equally terrifying, much less shy monster. We call her Shannasaurus Rex]
We ended up renting a car and drove all over Inverness, deep into the hills of the Highlands. Although I got carsick from all the crazy, winding roads, the scenery was absolutely incredible. [She needed more Scotch].
Exploring the Urquhart Castle was super cool and the views are unreal! Urquhart Castle is one of the largest castles in Scotland. For 500 years, the Scots and English fought back and forth for control of the castle. The castle was blown up by the last of the government troops during the Jacobite rising and these ruins are what is left. Back in it’s heyday, this castle was quite magnificent!
Thes second day in the Highlands we explored the Culloden Battlefield, Fort Augustus, and Clava Clairns. Outlander fans may recall the famous Battle of Culloden. One of the most well known battles in Scottish history, the Battle of Culloden put an end to the Jacobite rising, killing over 1,000 Jacobites and less than a hundred English soldiers in less than an hour. It was so interesting to learn more about the battle. We even learned that the clan we are descended from, Clan Murray, were split and members of the clan fought on both sides of the battle.
Clava Cairns are a group of three Bronze Age cairns (or burial graves) that give a glimpse into over 4,000 years of Scotland’s history. For the Outlander fans, these types of stones are the inspiration for the standing stones (“Craigh Na Dun”) where fairies live and where people can fall back in time.
Since we’ve been back, I’ve printed off nine of my favorite photos in a 5×5 format. I can’t wait to find some white frames and hang these beauties in our upstairs hallway.
I know these posts have been lengthy, but if you’ve made it this far, then you are destined for Scotland! I am more than happy to share more tips and places to visit if this is a country on your bucket list! It’s hands down my favorite country I’ve ever been to and I’ve never felt so passionate about a country’s culture and history.
Shannon [and Rob]
p.s. Special thanks to my parents for planning and making this unforgettable trip a reality! What incredible memories!