Woodland Trail

I would walk five hundred miles And I would walk five hundred more

It’s the weekend, so now I have to do things.  After not being able to find a place in Belfast, I booked my rooms in advance this time, which unfortunately meant my touring options were limited.  There are a lot of 2-day to 5-day tours up to the Isle of Skye (a 2-day or 3-day would have been nice), but I had to settle for the 1-day intensive course for the Scottish highlands.

The day started at 8am and ended at 8pm and involved about 8 hours on the coach.  I took lots of naps.

We drove by the Forth Bridge.  It was cool if you like old bridges.

Our first stop was at Ruthven Barracks.  It’s kind of a historical centerpiece for the Jacobite uprisings throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, and thus a place we visited.

Ruthven Barracks
Barracks are just horse castles.

Throughout the day, there were tons of ruins of castles and things that we passed and heard a story about.  It was essentially all a historical audio tour, which was entertaining enough when I was awake.  Of course the scenery in the highlands is also quite nice and was also best for viewing when I was awake.  But it was quite the intensive tour so I didn’t mind taking some rests.

The main attraction of the tour was Loch Ness.  It’s a large, deep lake that allegedly has a monster in it called Nessie.  Or the Loch Ness Monster.  It’s a pretty lake and everything, as is the scenery around it (and it’s cool how undeveloped it is), but it’s mostly just a lake.  Here are some pictures of the views:

Loch Ness view
I took this RIGHT after Nessie submerged.
Loch Ness Shore
It looks like a lake to me.
Woodland Trail
I’ve been on boats on lakes before, so I skipped the $20 ferry tour and hiked a trail instead.

Urquhart Castle  is right on Loch Ness, one of the “most photographed castles” in Europe.  I didn’t take a picture of it in an attempt to start leveling the playing field.

We made an extra stop at Inverlochy Castle because we were doing well on time. Yay! It’s another ruined castle.

Inverlochy Castle
This is ruined castle #7822 we saw today.

We stopped quick for pictures of Stirling Castle.

We drove past/over the Caledonian Canal a couple times.

We had a very nice view of Loch Lomond, which was bigger than Loch Ness but not as deep.  But you couldn’t tell by looking at it.  Like I said, the highlands are very nice to look at and this was just kind of part of the tour.

Glen Coe was a very nice place, and I’m sure it would have been even more impressive had there been some greenery.  Glen Coe is essentially a valley mountain pass formed by a volcanic movement a long time ago.

There was also a massacre here in 1692.  Incidentally, there was a massacre just about everywhere in Scotland.

Glen Coe
Glen Coe is a beautiful place to be viciously murdered.
Panorama of Glen Coe
A wider view of places people got killed.

Drove by the William Wallace Monument and heard about his rebellion, along with Robert the Bruce.  More stories about people killing each other basically.

Earlier in the tour they pointed out where Skyfall was filmed (or at least the last scene of the burning house and stuff), as well as a lot of the Harry Potter films.

I got back a little after 8, got some pizza, then went down to Lebowskis with the intention of getting a white russian.  They were kind of busy though, and people were mostly drinking beer so I decided not to get one (as they are a little annoying to make).

This bar really tied my visit to Edinburgh together.

Instead, I did my typical street wandering of a different part of town and returned to the hostel by 12.  I just don’t have the energy to socialize; it’s sad.  Without exaggerating, I think I’ve had literally one conversation in the past week (Darrell last Tuesday).

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