The following day we drove from a small seaside town named Nairn – with a Gordon Street – to the Culloden Battlefield. For those of you that watch Outlander, it is a real place. And quite amazing to see in person. It is a wide open field full of marsh and bog lands. There are the markers everywhere for the various clans. And of course the large memorial for those that died that day. The sense of history throughout the country is just amazing, but this really hits it out of the park. Simple yet strong in it’s silence.
From Culloden we drove through the beautiful countryside to Loch Ness. My wife is a believer and I wanted to share in her excitement for it. It was breathtakingly beautiful all around and the history and scientific research was rather amazing. My wife even got a copy of one of the books signed by the author who just happened to be there. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to cruise the lake, which is huge to say the least. If I was a Loch Ness Monster I couldn’t think of a better place to live out my days.
From there we rode the train – we both agreed that was enough driving – to Stirling where we visited Castle Doune and castle Stirling. Again, for your Outlander fans Castle Doune is quite amazing to see first hand. It is not large by any stretch of the imagination. But, you can just feel the history and imagine how the clans and their people must have lived in the 1700’s and well before. It was a foggy morning so we were not able to visit the William Wallace memorial, but by the time we were ready to leave the city the fog had cleared so we could see it. Castle Stirling was another example of the history of this country and how the lairds didn’t rule, but took care of everyone like they were family.
Our last two days were spent in Edinburgh and it was an amazing way to end the trip. Seeing this large city, and yet still feeling like we were in a small town at times. The new pubs, and expensive shops surrounding the Castle on the Hill. Once again, we can see how the castle wasn’t just for a laird but it was a huge part of the city. We were lucky to be there for the daily 1pm cannon firing and even that gave us a sense of history. Not that the cobblestones, small stone buildings, or tiny little chapel didn’t lend to the history. It was amazing to walk through these buildings and see the city from the top of the hill.
I started off thinking this was going to be a nice vacation. A good time for us to get away for a few days and enjoys the time away from work. But, it turned out to be an incredibly special trip. For example, finding a small Writer’s Museum. The Balmoral was quite the hotel and the bar had over 400 varieties of scotch. Of which the barman helped you find one by learning what you normally drank.
Every one we encountered was not just nice, but very friendly and eager to help. I will always remember the rolling hills, the snow capped mountains, the history, the scotch, the sheep, and especially the people. We were constantly on the move and it was tiring, but it was a great trip. For anyone considering a trip to Scotland I would highly recommend it. Bring your walking shoes and your camera, because there is a lot to see and you will not want to miss a thing.