To the Highlands and Beyond

With my phone's photo count passing the 1,000 mark and the days in Scotland quickly winding down, I realize I've been remiss on my self-appointed blogging duties. Now I'm in the terrible position of having a million stories to tell, but only a small amount of space and attention span to express them. 

Recently, Scotland has been living up to its soggy reputation and dumping rain on most of the countryside. The night before a new adventure, my mom and I finalize our driving route and stops along the way, we never check the weather (a chancy habit I've had for years) and yet each day we've ended up driving into the sunshine. My mom is not afraid of a long drive, something I'm grateful for since it means we can truly canvass the Scottish highlands from our back door. She has also nearly mastered the manual Volvo and Scottish roads, but it did take side-swiping one bus and stalling in a rotary; I should note no harm came to any cars in the making of this vacation. 

From our stay on an organic farm just south of Cairngorms National Park, my mom and I attempted a daring, day-long Inverness to Isle of Skye loop: 9 hours and 400 miles. The Scots we told of our plans said we were crazy, and maybe we were, but the double rainbow over the mountains and sunset on the bay will forever be worth it. 

 Driving into a rainbow on skye

Driving into a rainbow on skye

The drives in Scotland show a variable landscape of pastures, mountains, forests and lochs. Sheep dot the countryside like cotton balls, although increasingly less fluffy as shearing season begins here, and castles extend out of the landscape like a fairytale pop up book. We seem to have wonderful luck pulling off the road at random locations to come upon beautiful beaches and delicious restaurants. A personal favorite was a stop made at Elie Beach after a day in St. Andrews. It was low tide when we arrived and completely sunny, the perfect setting for a glass of wine beachside. 

 Enjoying the sun and beach at Elie 

Enjoying the sun and beach at Elie 

 Having a glass of wine at The Ship Inn at Elie Beach

Having a glass of wine at The Ship Inn at Elie Beach

Having stuffed ourselves on fish & chips in the countryside, we prepare to head back into Edinburgh for a few days before our holiday sadly comes to a close.