I’ll be in Scotland afore ye

In May 2012, my son Kris and I took a trip to the U.K. “just for fun.” It was the first vacation I’d had in ages that didn’t involve a conference or business trip or other work-related activities. We bought BritRail passes before we left. We flew into Heathrow and then flew on to Edinburgh, where we took the train up to Inverness for the first leg of our journey.

I had never been on trains until my trip to Belgium. At least it wasn’t a completely new experience, but I was glad to have Kris along to navigate the station in Edinburgh.

The standard BritRail pass allows unlimited travel on the train system in England, Scotland and Wales for a set number of days within a specified time frame. We got the passes that are valid for 4 days of travel within a 2 month period.
http://www.britrail.com/passes/britrail-pass 

The Scottish countryside, seen from the train, was just lovely. Everything was so green – except where it was yellow.
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I loved all the little train stations along the way. This is so different from the U.S. – but like what I imagine it was like in an earlier era, when people traveled by rail.
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I also enjoyed watching the changing landscape as we traveled along the coast near the sea, and as we approached the highlands.
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When we got to Inverness, I fell in love. I don’t know why, but it felt like coming home. The little city just immediately wormed its way into my heart and I hope to go back one day.
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The hotel we stayed in is the castle-like structure on the right. There’s a real castle just across the river.
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That evening, we walked around the city (it felt very safe) and had a delicious dinner at a place there on the river.
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The next morning, we got up early and headed over to find our tour bus, that was taking us to Isle of Skye. The bus driver/tour guide was great; she first took us around the city and told us about all the landmarks, and the stories of Scotland’s uneasy relationship with England, the wars and all the historical tidbits. Then we drove through more beautiful Scottish countryside as we headed first south to Loch Ness and then west toward Skye.

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I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful countryside.
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Loch Ness was beautiful, but even though I looked everywhere, I didn’t see a monster sea serpent anywhere.

A favorite stop was at Eilean Donan castle. Wow, what a view. The accommodations might be slightly primitive, but I think I could put up with it to live there and wake up to that every morning (if only I had high speed Internet access – LOL).


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Finally, we arrived at our destination, Isle of Skye. It was like a magical place out of a fairytale, but the photos don’t do it justice.


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We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant in Kyle of Lochalsh, which is just before you cross the bridge into Skye. Kris got brave and tried the haggis. I played it safe and stuck with fish and chips.
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On the way back to Inverness, we were all tired and ready to get “home,” but we did take a stop to meet some Scottish creatures and critters.
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That evening, back in Inverness, we had Indian food and collapsed early, since the next morning we were going to be checking out and leaving for England.

525908_10151087302272039_1243022004_nI knew I was going to miss that sunset over the River Ness.

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I hated to say goodbye to Scotland, but there was more fun and adventure ahead of us in the coming week.

1-deb-sig
deb@shinder.net
www.debshinder.com


About debshinder

Technology analyst and author, specializing in enterprise security. Author of or contributor to over 25 books, including "Scene of the Cybercrime." Fourteen-year Microsoft MVP, married to Microsoft FTE Tom Shinder, and proud mom of two wonderful grown-up human children and three amazing Japanese Chin pups. In my spare time, I love to travel - especially on cruise ships - and write about my grand adventures.
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