Orkney to Glasgow

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September 30th 2019
Published: October 4th 2019
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We left Orkney and started making our way back to Glasgow to fly out to Belfast the following night. We took a detour to Wick to check out a castle that I read about and is one of the favorites of all who visit and drive the North Coast highway and for good reason.

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe are ruins perched on the high sea cliffs on the wild and empty North Coast. It is a perfect setting for such a fortress, virtually impregnable due to it’s location. We had the castle to ourselves at sunset, free to crawl around it’s treacherous and precarious remains that continue to crumble into the sea.

The following day we made a few more stops in villages along the way, having a last farewell meal of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties and Cullen Skink. We stopped outside of Inverness to the Culloden battlefield and Clava Cairns standing stones (the inspiration for the Outlander novels) and then to Loch Ness, so that Dennis could check the obligatory tourist box. As was the case last time it was just overrun with tourists, mainly hordes of Asian tour buses, bumping and pushing to get their best selfie overlooking
the loch. It’s easy to lose the crowds if you veer off the package tour route but when it overlaps it’s pretty awful.

Speaking with some of our hosts we sadly learned that tourism is continuing to increase in Scotland at an unsustainable rate, and that many businesses are being bought by the Chinese and Indians. A severe problem of fish farming salmon has continued as well, with most fish being exported to Asia. The health and living conditions of the salmon are apparently horrendous, with disease being prevalent due to the overcrowding. Now one can only salmon fish by catch and release because the streams are getting depleted. I also noticed that it seemed as though more widespread logging was taking place, with entire mountainsides being clear cut. It saddens me to think of what the future may hold for Scotland and it’s seeming abundance of natural resources that attracts so many to it for a variety of reasons. However on a positive note it sounds as though all are optimistic that Scotland will achieve independence from Britain in the next election, as it was only lost by vote of 49/51% last time. English politics sound about as
awful and embarrassing as ours now, with everyone complaining about their “Trump twinsie” Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Everyone is anxiously preparing for Brexit at the end of the month and what chaos and possible large scale civil unrest will ensue.

And with that we concluded our visit to Scotland. I shed many tears and had many smiles from the memories I made here with Mom and the new ones I made with Dennis. Scotland will always be part of me and hold a large place in my heart.

Next stop Ireland for a few days!

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