I’ve just spent Christmas in the Highlands and it was one of the best I’ve had!
So, what am I doing in Scotland? Well, going back to the US really didn’t make sense (who wants to be on a plane on NYE and arrive early New Year’s day?), so I took a quick look at other options. A tour of the Scottish Highlands, with a traditional Scottish Highland Christmas and dancing won!
Admittedly, tours haven’t been my “thing” in the past, but the knowledge of the guides has really impressed me on the few I’ve tried. Of course, the only holiday tour I could find was geared towards young people and involved sharing rooms – just 4 nights of my total trip though! I started my trip at a Motel one, which was quite nice and nothing like a Motel 6!
The ground covered during the tour looked like a lot and it was – nearly 5 hours the first day, broken up by stops at the Kelpies, Stirling for the William Wallace monument, the Green Welly for lunch and a pit stop at a store. There was supposed to be a short walk through Glencoe, but it was raining so badly that people barely jumped out for photos.
The next day started with 2 1/2 hours of driving as well. Really, the best part at that point was hanging out with the girls the night before. Realistically, if I’d been on the tour to really see Scotland, I’d have been a little disappointed; however, I’d booked it more for the social aspect over the holidays and that was going fine!
Once we reached the Isle of Skye though, the long drive was worth it! In addition to waterfalls, there was a gorgeous coastal town, a river that’s supposed to keep you eternally young and beautiful, plus one of the most famous castles of Scotland, Eilean Donan.
It was disappointing that we didn’t get a better look at the castle, but I guess that just means that I’ll have to come back! At the end of the day, we headed to Inverness for Christmas Eve festivities.
Everything is basically closed on Christmas in Scotland, so we went to the “beach.” It wasn’t exactly warm out, so I went on the proposed hike around the lake. It took us (speed walkers) an hour and 15 minutes, but was about an hour and half for the rest of the group.
In the meantime, part of our group had been building a sand castle, complete with landscaping.
It gets dark early, so the trips were short, but a group of us made the best of it with a walk around town. A member of our group suggested going to the top of the castle, which was pure genius – the photos were great with the fog rolling in!
As for the traditional turkey dinner, I’m not sure if this is really what the Scots eat, but here it is!
I’ll be back with the rest of the tour, including the first real “Outlander” sites that I saw, and my day exploring Edinburgh. There’s a famous DaVinci code chapel, Roman ruins, Hogmanay and my Outlander tour yet to come! On my first trip to Europe, Scotland was another favorite, along with France, and spending more time there has only reinforced my appreciation!