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Published: September 15th 2006
Still together after all these years
While heading north, we past the last remaining symbol of England that was once a border between both England and Scotland. In fact, it was once the end of the Roman Empire and on the north side of it was un tameable Scotland. Hadiran's Wall is an impressive feat. Not quite the Great Wall Of China, but still impressive. It once stretched from one coast to the other but now only a few sections remain. The parts that do remain are pretty awesome, running up almost vertical hills and across ridges that hang over the edge of enormous cliffs.
Once we crossed the border into Scotland we arrived shortly after to Edinburgh. I have to say, and I'm sure I'll make a few Scottish enemies with this comment, that I don't like Edinburgh at all. It is one of the most hideous places I have been. All a brownish grey and little to look at. The one big attraction is the Edinburgh Castle, but after paying the sizable entry fee of £10.30, it was rather dissapointing. The amazing view over the city just reiterated what an ugly place it is. To make it worse, my camera decided to stop working
Hadrian's Wall 2
Up and down all the time
for the better part of the day so I have very few pictures of Edinburgh but I don't really mind.
Once we left Edinburgh, we made our way north the the town of Falkirk. The main attraction there is the amazing Falkirk Wheel. Designed as part of the Mellenium Link which links the western coast to the east and Edinburgh completely with lochs. It is a tribute to Scottish engineering that this the only revolving boat lifts in the world. We stayed for a while and watched it revolved several times. The pics say it best.
We already saw the sacred ground of football in Manchester so our next stop was the sacred ground of golf. St Andrews is pretty much the be all and end all of golf. Dad, of course, being a golf nut was in heaven while walking the fairways of the most famous golf course in the world. In fact there is 6 courses in St. Andrews so we walked the original "Old Course" which dates back around 600 years. Some of the biggest names in golf and indeed random golf loving celebrities have played the very challenging course which is still used today.
An "average Joe" could very much play on that course between monday and saturday if they are willing to part with £120 for a round of 18 holes.
On the way further north we stopped in a tiny town called Pitlochry and had lunch. We thought we had stumbled on one of those "undiscovered" treasures because the town was so beautiful but we saw the amount of tourists pouring in so the excitement dropped a little.
The scenery was getting much nicer as we headed into the Highlands. The gorgeous scenery eventually gave way to the town of Inverness. Not a bad place but the real attraction was 6 miles south at the famous Loch Ness. We had our time on the shores of this massive loch searching for Nessie but to no avail.
The best drive of the trip so far was yet to come on our joyride through the rugged mountains of the Scottish Highlands to the Isle Of Skye. The Isle is just as everyone told me. Misty mountain tops, large lochs and all round spectacular countryside. The Isle Of Skye is Scotland's 3rd biggest tourist attraction but it didn't feel like it. It
Hadrian's Wall 4
I'm glad I didn't have to build it
was sparsely populated and even the "capital", Portree, was just like any other tiny village we past through. It's one of those places where you have to pull over into little lay-bys to let oncoming traffic pass. One of those places where the biggest traffic jam you'll see is a flock of sheep in the middle of the road. One of those places where you have absolutely no trouble telling the locals from the tourists. One of those places where the bank comes to you in a van for all you banking needs. One of those places where a few minutes up the road from town feels like the middle of nowhere... so you get the idea. If you come here expecting blistering nightlife, fabulous shoppping or to tan up on a beach, you'll be sorely dissapointed. Yet the Isle Of Skye was probably my favourite place on the UK road trip and it's safe to say one of my favourite places in Europe. It's all about the scenery.
Once we had reached the northern most point on our trip we directed ourselves south for the steady drive over the next few nights staying at Fort William, Inverary plus
Me on Hadrian's Wall
I found out I wasn't meant to be up there... oops!
taking in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs before arriving at Glasgow. I was surprised about Glasgow actually being a nicer than Edinburgh but I didn't take long to look around. The prospect of the big bad city after all the beautiful Highlands seemed too much to take so I didn't bother seeing much of Glasgow at all. I can always come back later if I'm keen.
The second leg of the journey has finnished now and I'm flying out to London tomorrow to meet up with the lads. Scotland has been, for me, nicer than England. The cities aren't anything to rave about but some of the small towns are beautiful. The reason I like Scotland more than England was, apart from the scenery, the people. Not at all to say the English aren't nice, but I found all the Scots just so pleasent, friendly and willing to help in anyway possible. Plus I also found Scotland just so more laid back than England. It's a place where, on the outskirts of their major cities, you can still be held up by a farmer driving his tractor down the motorway. It seems more distinct, more proud and just more
welcoming. I'd be happy to visit again anytime.
Cheers for all the comments. It's party time now with the guys (and girls)... but I'm sure we'll see a couple of things along the way lol.
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