Friday, 5 October 2007

Destination Highlands Day 2

 Blast from past!

 After a wonderful day in Edinburgh, I was all set to catch a bus early next morning at 6.30am. I had already explored the city in the evening and located its local bus stand so that i don't get lost in the morning. As it was a long day, i crashed to bed immediately only to be waken up in the middle of the night. A couple next door, most probably drunk  were fighting at the top of their voice. My first night in a new country, i am all by myself and all that noise irritated me enough to want to call the reception. I wanted to shout out " get a room" and then i realized they were already in a room..well they were in the room and the corridor of the hotel. Luckily the fight died down as quickly as it started. I certainly had a very eventful first day and night to my holiday.

So i walked down to the bus stand the next morning and joined a group of diverse people on board. Of course an Indian couple and their parents were a part of the group. I bet anywhere you go in the world , you will come across Indians.Our guide was a flamboyant Scot in his traditional attire and a very thick Scottish accent. I found it very difficult to follow his accent.

We were informed that we are on the way to Highlands of Scotlands. As i did not have the time to read up on this place, i had signed up for this tour just on recommendation by my brother. Our first stopover would be stirling, followed by Glencoe , then Lochness and finally Inverness. We had to cover more than 450kms in a single day. But as we started the ride, the distance was the last thing on my mind as i was immediately grabbed by the scenic landscape and quaint little towns we passed by. I had my faithful camera giving me company and i knew the time would fly.

 The scot after the initial introduction gave us audio guides and left us on our own. Luckily the Audio guide was not in scottish accent and it talked about the violent history of two clans of the highlands of Scotland and more blah blah blah. I didn't really pay attention to what was being said as i was too immersed in the natural beauty outside the bus window and had my wonderful companion with me. Unfortunately the weather was not co operating with us that day but i still have just one word to describe it all- Amazing!!!

The winding roads took us  through purple-speckled mountain ranges, tall forests, rolling hills and along lake sides. The Highlands was lush with brown grasses as it was fall , but I could also see a number of shrubs. Most commonly purple heather, a type of perennial shrub,sweeps the area, from mountain tops to roadsides giving it a purple , well a purplish brown hue.

The desolate landscape teamed with gloomy weather immediately took me back in time to Baskervilles. I could only imagine the hound appearing out of nowhere and jumping at me. The eerie feeling just made me more excited and i was truly hoping that hound takes me into a world of adventure and mystery. It was then i realized how much England and its surrounding countries were a part of my growing up years through books. Have any of you felt the same about any other place.

The stopover at Glencoe was exhilarating after a long ride. A glen is a valley, typically one that is long and deep and this one was breathtaking. With a refreshed vigor after fueling up with sandwiches, we set out to Lochness. Loch is a Scottish term for a lake and this one has its infamous inhabitant Nessie. The previous night i had already dreamed of capturing Nessie with my companion sony and being featured in Nat Geo. Ahh..dreams!!!. Wonderful aren't they. But before i could capture the monster, i had to go through the ruins of the Urquhart castle on the banks of Lochness and fight for my Scottish claymore and be honored by a knight. What happened in the next two hours has been sealed away in chest wrapped in a kilt and will never be revealed.

Here are some interesting fact that i learnt through the day. You must have wondered why i mentioned the couple. Well  at one point i got to know they were from Bangalore. Small world right?. The interesting part was they just could not comprehend i was traveling on my own. Small world but a long way from becoming largely open minded. The kilt with tartan pattern is unique to the clan it is associated with and i had always thought it was just one pattern. I still have so much to learn! It is a feeling of home when one comes across an Indian restaurant in an isolated place like Inverness and  eat the cheap horrible tasting Indian food. And last but not least there is nothing more adventurous than capturing a monster. Didn't you read about it in NatGeo. Gosh! where have you been and what have you been doing. If you don't believe me, see the evidence below.

Location: Highlands,Scotland
Date of travel: October  2007

Tip: Do the scotch and hop!
Must do: Return back for a road trip!
First: Capture a monster!
The travel connection : Be a part of Mythology

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