In 1995, I was lost and wandering. I knew where I didn't want to be, but everything else was up for grabs. I was alone (which for me was a novelty) and I needed adventure to heal a broken heart. For me that summer, the adventure started with a month's unlimited travel National Express Coach Ticket. First stop Edinburgh. I was good with bus travel. I cut my teeth on the Belfast, ME to Boston, MA Greyhound trip. I could put on my discman and look out the window watching the motorway signs, and time just flew by. I met two au pairs, one German, and one Austrian. And, as I had a tent, a driving license and credit card, we decided to take a few days, split the cost, rent a car and drive around Scotland.
Our first night was at a hotel in Edinburgh. Then, early the next morning we set out in the direction of Ben Nevis and the Isle of Skye. The Scottish Country side is made up of beautiful hills, very few trees and many distilleries. We decided to stop at leisure to do distillery tours. It was amazing - I wasn't a whiskey fan, but I became a fan of Single Malt on that trip. Our second night was at a campground on the shores of Loch Lomand (yes, I sang the song while driving - for the record, we took the low road). When we drove by Loch Ness, Nessie was nowhere to be found. Then we were on to Mallig and the ferry to Skye.
We stopped at a sporting goods store in Fort William, and I bought a sleeping bag. Packing a tent and not packing a sleeping bag - one of the stupidest moves of my life. I ended up sleeping in the car when we were at the campground.
Skye was dark, rustic and beautiful. We stayed at a youth hostel overnight. Then we were off to the highlands, stopping at the most famous modern castle in the world, Eilean Donan Castle. It is beautiful, modern and made to look ancient surrounded by a loch (lake) As we toured the castle, I was very angry with Hollywood for making me think that the castle was ancient. It was still great to walk over the causeway.
We drove on to Stirling, where we checked out Stirling Castle, were in awe of the view of the valley below us, then went down to the youth hostel, signed in, grabbed a quick Indian takeaway and then fortuitously went to a screening of Rob Roy.
The next day, we drove down to Perth, hit some distilleries along the way, and checked into a B&B for the night. (Camping was a wash - Scotland in June is COLD at night) On our final day with the car, we wandered. And found our way to Glamis Castle. Now, Glamis is a CASTLE. I love it. I love the Shakespeare connection, I love the haunted chapel, and I love the stone work. I could easily live there. Yes, even now, I go on their web site and look at the rooms. It was a great way to end an ad-hoc driving tour of Scotland. I was happy, my companions were happy (we saw so much more with a car). All in all it was a memorable trip. I spent my last night in Edinburgh at a Hostel, hanging out, drinking and playing darts with other wanderers. The next morning I grabbed my backpack and hopped on a coach to Liverpool.