There was something about the rain in Scotland that sent a primitive, magical like, energy into my poncho draped body as the lone bag piper stood perching over a stoop atop Edinburgh Castle. The piercing sound of the pipes from a far distance was somehow accompanied by a stillness and quietness. The rain infused with years of history, culture, victory and loss pattered across the cobblestones in reflection of time passed.
When people ask me about the favorite part of my trip to Scotland its too hard to process, but often I’ll remember that moment just mentioned above and smile to myself knowing I could never fully explain it or do it justice with words. Scotland felt like a dream. A dream where I had returned to somewhere I felt I belonged. I jokingly state that if it wasn’t for my husband and daughter I would have never come back to the States. So yes, I’d say that I thoroughly enjoyed this trip to it’s fullest intent.
It would take ages to recount to you the memories made and the adventures taken. Therefore, I’ll hope you’ll settle for a few highlights instead.
Highlight #1: Military Tattoo
This spectacular event holds place every year in the stadium attached to Edinburgh Castle every August. Different branches of military from a variety of countries come to perform several different tunes iconic to their region (Scotland of course being the highlight). This remains my favorite highlight and I’m sure this will not be my last Tattoo event. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Highlight #2: The Culloden Battlefield
This was incredibly special as I had been brushing up on Scottish history prior to my trip. Not to mention, HUGE fan of Outlander book series here (historical fiction). This battle was fought in the most beautiful field scattered with masses of wild heather and foxglove among the grasses. This was the last stand for Scotlands clansmen in the Jacobite rising. Unfortunately, the red coats utterly slaughtered them in droves. Therefore, the disbanding of the clans. To walk on History is always a privilege and it gives the mind room to imagine all kinds of things the more you discover the surrounding environment.
Highlight #3: Edinburgh Castle, Blair Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, & Stirling Castle.
The historian in me was near feint getting to openly explore these four beautiful castles. Two of the most monumental figures in Scottish history, Mary Queen of Scotts and her son James, lived in Edinburgh castle. Mary gave birth to her son in a small room in this castle who would later grow up to change the fate of nations and unite both (Catholic) Scotland and (Protestant) England under one crown! It was also by his consent that his mother Mary Queen of Scotts be beheaded. Talk about your family issues.
Blair Castle was removed from society way up in the Highlands. The heather clads hilltops created the most serene backdrop I have ever seen in my life. It reminded me of scene in The Sound of Music when Maria is on her way back to the Abbey late for mass.
In my personal opinion, Eilean Donan Castle was by far the most breathtaking sight I have ever seen. This was a castle dead center in a body of water with a gorgeously crafted stone bridge with several arches that gave it a remote and secluded feel. Likewise, the mountain ranges behind it made it appear cinematic to the eye. Fun fact by my sister: This castle has been featured in several movies but the most known being Made of Honor starring Patrick Dempsey.
Last but not least, Stirling Castle. One of the most important castles in Scotland. Several Kings and Queens, including Mary Queen of Scotts, were crowned in this very castle! In the War for Scottish Independence, Bonnie Prince Charlie tried to seize the castle. This too, like Culloden, was unsuccessful. However, not everyone that tried to advance the castle failed. William Wallace lead many Scottish men to victory in the Battle of Stirling Bridge. I guess you could say He’s kind of a BIG deal in Scottish history. Haha! Braveheart will never be the same for me now (in a good way).
To experience culture on this level is such a blessing and a gift. To reflect on ages past and how they shaped the present for both visiting country and home country is eye opening and brilliant! I hope your path crosses with Scotland and if it doesn’t then make it happen!
This post was sponsored by: Carter Clan Grandparents of whom I am most grateful to for allowing me to accompany them on this trip along with several other lovely family members. I will never forget this memory we all made together on foreign soil.
All Is Grace,