Oh hello again! It’s been half a year since I posted last, hasn’t it? Generally the global pandemic affecting our lives has not made me want to think about my favourite travel moments in Scotland. But this post has been in the works since May, so here it is!
September 2020 marked 8 years since I first moved to Scotland. I’ve been away twice in that period for visa reasons, but mostly, Scotland has been home for over 7 years.
Throughout this time, I’ve travelled around the country to explore more of my adoptive home. There is so much to love about this gorgeous land and today I look back at my favourite travel moments in Scotland.
1. Moving to St Andrews – 2012
This one would obviously top the list as it was a life changer. I loved every minute of my first year in Scotland. I met some of my very best friends, the Brit, visited castles and called Scotland home for the first time. And it is responsible for everything that came next…
2. Getting married in St Andrews – 2019
I could probably make a list just for St Andrews moments… but I won’t. Moving here was the trigger, but getting married topped the cake (pun intended). We were surrounded by close family, friends from Stirling and friends from St Andrews who came back from all over the world for the occasion. What a magical weekend it was!
3. Seeing the dolphins at Channonry Point – 2016
Seeing the dolphins swim in the bay near Inverness was such an amazing moment. We waited for nearly two hours at the beach and were ready to leave when they finally popped up. It was so graceful. I snapped a few photos and then just appreciated the moment.
4. Journeying onboard the Jacobite Steam Train – 2015
I will probably always be a HP fan. Living in Scotland, it was a no brainer when the Brit got us this day trip for my birthday. We were away for a weekend and spent most of our time on trains.
From Stirling to Glasgow, then up to Fort William. Then the Jacobite Steam Train took us to Mallaig and back (with a short stop to fill our stomachs with deliciously fresh seafood). It was a busy but memorable weekend!
5. Abseiling down the Forth Rail Bridge – 2017
Being afraid of heights this was a tough but memorable challenge. But how amazing that I abseiled down one of Scotland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites? And all for charity!
6. Hiking up my first munro – 2018
Perthshire is one of my absolute favourite regions of Scotland. The scenery is amazing… and maybe it reminds me a little bit of Canada. Back in 2018, my co-workers organised a day out to go hiking near Pitlochry at Schiehallion and I just had to join.
It was a hard day for the body but an amazing one for the soul!
7. Finish a triathlon at Loch Lomond – 2018
Okay so this wasn’t a top moment of my life. I cried, I was freezing, hurting and generally in pain. But once you’re done, the moment of pride takes over!
After training for a few weeks from basically zero fitness, my friend P and I attempted the short version of the triathlon in Balloch. We swam in Loch Lomond, cycled and then ran around the country park. It was tough, but we finished, together!
These physical events are so amazing for experiencing the landscape in a completely different way.
8. Having a castle to myself at Urquhart – 2013
During my first jaunt in the Highlands with my mum back in 2013, the tour schedule had mentioned a stop at Urquhart Castle.
On the tour, I was quite sad when the guide didn’t even mention it. Well I asked him anyway. The next morning, everyone had a free morning and he dropped my mum, her friend, and I at Urquhart.
It was just opening and no one was around. It was so serene and I took fantastic photos of the empty castle.
9. Bumming a ride to the Isle of Iona – 2015
This was such a stressful experience at the time, but a great story to tell now!
On our very first road trip around Scotland in 2015, I had Googled distances and made a whole plan for visiting Mull. We soon realised that it would take much longer to drive around the island than I had thought (single-track roads and all).
Fast-forward to the end of the day and we missed the last ferry to Iona – which was terrible as our reserved accommodation for the night was on the island. When the last ferry returned to Mull, the Brit jumped in to ask if they could do anything. It’s a very short crossing (10 mins) so they just took us across! I’ll never forget their kindness!
10. Being blown by the wind at the Fairy Glen – 2019
While touring Scotland with my family last year, I think the highlight for all of us was the Fairy Glen. We showed up early so there weren’t that many people around. The gale winds were so strong that my brother had to climb on all fours to reach the top. It’s such a fairy-like sight!
Bonus! Discovering lesser known gems in 2020
Fuck 2020 and all, but since the 5-mile ban ended in July, we’ve explored our region so much and discovered some fantastic off-the-beaten-path spots. This includes the Dumpling near Loch Lomond, Creag An Tuirc in Balquhidder (pictured), the Alva Glen, the Pineapple and many more.
These were all my favourite travel moments in Scotland of the last eight years. There are some true gems in there and I hope we make many more memories while we live here!
What are your top moments of travel in your home country?xx