The mention of Scotland conjures up images of picturesque landscapes, bagpipers in tartan kilts, whiskey distilleries, scenes from Mel Gibson's movie Braveheart and much more.
My day began by leaving the city of Edinburgh at the break of dawn for Loch Ness situated in the highlands or the region nestled to the north and west of Highland Boundary Fault zone.
The road leading up to the highlands is very scenic and you begin to experience the beauty of this land early on into this journey soaking into the sights of bens or mountains, lochs or lakes and glens or valleys as the Scots refer to them.
The first place of historic importance that I passed was the town of Stirling, which bears witness to the bravery of Sir William Wallace, christened the national hero of Scotland for his valor against the British invasion of King Edward I or Edward “long shanks”. It is Wallace’s story of valor that is the plotline of the movie Braveheart. Near this town is a massive memorial dedicated to Wallace and has the status of national monument in Scotland. A visit here transports you back in time and listening to stories of Wallace you really become poignant and understand why the Scots take pride in narrating his story.
After having absorbed the most important part of Scottish history, I moved into the next town, Callander. This small, rustic town is called the gateway to the highlands. It is from here that the vast expanse of Scottish highlands begins. This place is famous for Mhor bakery that has been serving up bread and lip-smacking bakery items to the town for more than a century. I grabbed a delicious grub of the most scrumptious Chicken & Leek pie I had ever eaten as well as a freshly baked crunchy meringue.
After almost six hours of scenic journey from Edinburgh, I reached my destination and the largest lake by volume, Loch Ness in the town of Fort Augustus. This small town is bustling with tourists who come to spend their summers here. A cruise over the loch, fishing, walking trails or just relaxing in the road side restaurants sipping on beer are the regular sites during summer. The place abounds in myths of Loch Ness monster rumored to be living at the bottom of the Loch for centuries. Chomping on farm fresh raspberries and blueberries, I explored the town on foot and even took the boat ride on the Loch.
After a quick lunch, I began my return journey to Edinburgh that would last five hours. On my way I made one last stop in the village of Dalwhinnie located in Cairngorm National Park. This township is home to the Dalwhinnie Scotch whisky distillery and you can experience the process of making of their 15 year old single malt scotch whisky first hand. It is a once in lifetime experience to witness the making of such a revered drink at its birth place.
This is but just a glimpse of what the Scottish highlands have to offer. Deep rooted in history and blessed by Mother Nature’s bounty, one can require as much as nine days to explore each and every corner of the Scottish highlands. But, I am sure this land will leave you enchanted and be etched your memory forever.
- Food & travel enthusiast