Why Choose Scotland?Visiting Scotland was one of the best decisions I’ve made. There is no better way to experience the beauty of a country than seeing it up close. So why Scotland? It’s not a country that’s featured as a top place to see on travel sites very often. However, Scotland has been on my radar for quite sometime, mostly because my married name has Scottish origins. Despite the family connection, the urgency to visit this magnificent country didn’t truly set in until I came across an Instagram post shot in the Isle of Skye. Once I glimpsed the enchanting landscapes of this beautiful region of Scotland, I had to see it for myself.
My Scotland road trip began over spring break in the month of March along with my husband and two children, both in their teens. We traveled first class from London’s King Cross Station to Edinburgh via Virgin Trains, catching glimpses of the countryside along the way. Our first impression upon setting eyes on Edinburgh is that it’s a visually stunning city dripping in gothic architecture dating back to the Middle Ages. It’s as if we had traveled back in time, quite a surreal experience. There is plenty to see and do in Edinburgh, or another option is to take a half-day hike to Arthur’s Seat, the highest point in a group of hills overlooking the city a short drive away.
Isle of Skye
After a couple of days exploring Edinburgh, we rented a car and continued our road trip to the Isle of Skye. As luck would have it, it began snowing steadily the morning we set off on our road trip. The drive took us roughly six hours, at one point crossing through the southern region of Cairngorms National Forest. Though driving through mountain and forest sceneries was beautiful, it was also a bit disconcerting because cell phone service grew spotty during this stretch of the trip. Our fear was that should something happen on the road, we’d have no means of communication. Fortunately, that did not happen, and we came out of it without incident.
After we left the mountains and the snow ceased, I was astonished by how gorgeous the landscape immediately became. The scenery was beautiful before, but nothing prepared me for what lay ahead. The landscape seemed painted in vivid colors: reds, greens, yellows, blues, and even whites. Everything somehow seems brighter and sharper. A great example of this is the Eilean Donan Castle pictured above. We stopped over for a quick lunch at the cafe onsite and took a few photos before continuing across the bridge into the Isle of Skye. It seemed we’d stumbled upon simple, unobstructed earth in its natural state.
While on the Isle of Skye, we rented a small cottage in the countryside through Airbnb just outside of the quaint harbor town of Portree. We hiked our way around the island over the next three days, following established trails and viewing various points of interests. In the evenings, we returned to the cottage to rest before heading into Portree for dinner and to pick up groceries to take back to our lodging.
On our way back to Edinburgh, we took a detour to see Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness for the final stop in our Scotland road trip, just south of Inverness. Interestingly enough, we ran into several familiar faces that we’d seen at several of the points of interest on the Isle of Skye. It’s always a great feeling to know you are not the only one out exploring the world, even if your only confirmation is seeing a familiar yet strange face over and over again during your travels. We quietly acknowledged each other in mutual respect and went our separate ways.
After seeing Loch Ness, we doubled back to Edinburgh to start the conclusion of our road trip across Scotland. There is still so much we didn’t get to see, but what we did have the privilege of experiencing was incredible. Scotland doesn’t get as much attention as it should on popular travel websites, but maybe that’s for the best. Somehow, I don’t see it having its same draw with tourists crowding its beauty, or maybe traveling in the off season just makes it especially attractive? Whatever the case, at the end of our trip we all agreed that we’d definitely love to come back someday during the summer months and do it again!
For more details about this trip, see Related Articles below.