Anticipating … Scotland through a literary lens

I haven’t ‘visited’ Scotland properly for years. Ok, T and I went up to Edinburgh in April to visit the uni but that wasn’t a real visit.

Before that, I took T there for a week or so, but he was about 8 – far too young to appreciate what its all about.

I’m a west coast (the Highlands) fan – I’ve been there numerous times in my pre-motherhood days and will never tire of it. 

It is Cathy over on Wander.Essence that first got me writing about trips in advance. In other words, the anticipation and preparation of the trip.  As she says:

Part of the thrill of travel is in the anticipation. As soon as the idea takes root in imagination, our curiosity blossoms. We want to immerse ourselves as soon as possible in the journey.  Our date of travel may be far off, but we’re anxious to begin our journey, even if only in our minds.

On Anticipation

Scotland is all about Outlander (the TV series and Diana Gaboldon’s many books), right?

No, I’m teasing. The west coast is wild and rugged and that’s what I like most – it’s elemental. The west coast has water, so much water – another thing I love. It’s steeped in history (some of which is told in the Outlander series), and even though I’m not a history buff, I cannot help but engage with it.

Shaggy coos (highland cattle) are my most favourite type of cattle and make me smile. The names of towns and villages twist the tongue, or run off it – Ballachulish, Dromnadrochit, Kyle of Lochalsh, Lochgilphead and more. Just reading a map of Scotland is an education in pronunciation!

Oh, and then there’s the distilleries and the fine whiskey they produce – Talisker, Glenmorangie, Laphroig, Oban to name a few. Even though I’m not much of an alcohol drinker these days, a “wee dram” of good single malt whiskey always goes down well. Have you ever tasted anything so heavenly, especially in the chilly Scottish weather?

I spent Saturday booking accommodation through Airbnb and found some charming places to stay within my budget. Without wanting to promote it too much, Airbnb is just an amazing resource.

We’re doing a road trip!

Over the sea to Skye…

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone
Say, could that lass be I?
Merry of soul she sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye.

Snippet of lyrics from the theme tune from Outlander series, adapted from the Skye Boat Song

The western highlands are of course the stomping grounds of the clans from the Outlander series, such as the McKenzie’s, so I’m planning on finding out as much as I can about the areas used in for filming and as background for the series and books. There’s one literary connection.

We will be staying on two islands, Lismore and Skye, both of which are part of the Inner Hebrides. This is not something I’ve done before and I’m really looking forward to it. Lismore is in Loch Linnhe and is relatively flat, but it has lochs too! Skye on the other hand has a jagged coastline composed of peninsulas and bays and lots of fascinating stone and rock formations. We are hoping to do some walking on both.

Then we’ll visit Culloden Moor and perhaps seek out the McKenzie stone as the clan featured in the Outlander series, although I have a feeling this will make me feel rather sad. We’ll then head into the Cairngorms National Park for 3 days. Having previously just driven through the park on the way to somewhere else, I’m thrilled to actually be staying in the park and doing some walking. Walking is a new pastime for me as I begin to get fitter. I won’t be hiking huge distances but I will be more adventurous than I have been in the past – I hope. I will not be climbing any of the five of the six highest mountains in Scotland though!

We’ll finish off our trip in Edinburgh, where my son will leave me to start his new life at university. What exciting times are ahead for him and what an amazing city to live in! I’m hoping that my niece will join my in Edinburgh for this last part of the trip and to help me get my son settled.

We are booked in to do a Harry Potter walking tour as well, as JK Rowling took inspiration from streets and buildings in Edinburgh for her books and wrote some of them in the city too. There’s the second literary connection. Who knows, by the time we leave, I might have found a few more!

This post is part of my Experiences series and is inspired by Cathy’s Anticipation series on her wander. essence blog.

Cover image source

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4 thoughts on “Anticipating … Scotland through a literary lens

  1. Christine Betts says:

    I cannot WAIT to join you even if it’s only virtually. Many years ago we caught the “Harry Potter Train” from Fort William. It was a truly magical day. I am so looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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