— From the pages of FLL#37 • Article & Photos by Melanie Hummer
For as long as I can remember, I have loved the Scottish accent. It was a real treat to make the trek across the pond this past June to the country this accent calls home.
Edinburgh’s greetings were traditional in style. The streets slightly wet from recent rainfall and lunch served at Ryan’s Bar introduced my palete to haggis, neeps, and tatties. Scotland’s capital city was architecturally stunning and historically rich. The cobblestoned Royal Mile guided my steps to Edinburgh Castle while the unmistakable song of bagpipes filled the air. The ornate interior of the royal palace was the birthplace of King James VI, son of Mary Queen of Scots. Afternoon tea was a must, accompanied by a clotted cream and jam covered scone. This tasty treat would fuel a hike up Arthur’s Seat before continuing the journey into the highlands.
A pit stop in Stirling on the way to Inverness would do, to climb Wallace Monument and taste a spot of Scotland’s orange soft drink, Irn-Bru. Urban streets and roundabouts were in the rearview as I set my sight on sheep and heilan coos. From afar, Scottish blackface sheep resembled white polka dots painted across rolling, green hills. They grazed communally along winding roads and accompanied hikers on the most treacherous routes. Affectionately known as hairy coos, highland cattle sport long, unkempt hair and impressive horns. Their shaggy coat protects them from harsh elements in the rugged highlands.
Passage through the vast, mountainous terrain of Glencoe was sublime. Snowcapped peaks draped with magnificent light towered over the land. Scotland’s beauty continually outdid itself with each fleeting mile as the arrival to Skye drew near.
Portree was a picturesque harbor town on the Isle of Skye, and served as a center hub for adventure seekers exploring the island. Old Man of Storr sat just to the north of Portree. Hiking The Storr was no small task, though sheep conquered it with ease. The rocky face was a gauntlet of intense inclines on the way up and loose gravel-like stones on the way down. Views from the top were stunning and worth the effort of the climb. Taking on Storr was only one of Skye’s many epic excursions. Take an icy plunge into the Fairy Pools or let your heart race along the narrow footpath of the Quiraing.
The land of kilts and pipes was an absolute delight!