in the scottish highlands
eileen donan castle
an early morning, post-fog view of a loch
i took an overnight bus to edinburgh on a cold december night the week before christmas. i spent the day finishing my packing at the pub and catching up with an olympic friend who was kind enough to let me stash my bags in her room for a few weeks while i travelled. i arrived at victoria station a couple of hours before my bus so i sat with a hot chocolate and my kindle and crossed my fingers for a seat to myself so i could hopefully get some sleep.
the night passed slowly as we drove north through sleepy villages lit only by the orange glowing street lamps. i don’t know when exactly it happened but suddenly i was in scotland and the sun was rising slowly from below the horizon and through my half awake eyes i could see the silhouette of tiny cottages atop the hills and ruins from hundred year old castles. even before the sun had risen i was in love with scotland and it was just as i had imagined it.
in edinburgh the sun rose and was shining through a nearly cloud-less sky as i made my way to my hostel to leave my backpack and go exploring. i didn’t know a lot about edinburgh on my arrival and so i spent my first day under its charm, learning the history and soaking up the beautiful views in every direction.
the next morning i woke early when it was still dark outside to board yet another bus to take me further north into the magical scottish highlands. i was on a 3 day tour with haggis adventures and a bus filled with mostly australians (as always) and a group of very friendly chinese travellers. our tour guide was a scottish woman named ange who was quirky, always bubbly and excited and held such a strong love for her homeland. we drove out of the city to a town called stirling where we made our first stop to walk to the top of a hill to visit the wallace monument which celebrates the 13th century scottish hero who fought and won against the english army in 1297. (or for some people better known as the character mel gibson plays in the film braveheart).
we continued driving into the highlands through Glencoe and onto our ‘luxury hostel’ in the tiny village of Fort Augustus in loch ness territory. the next day we visited the isle of skye to witness it’s dramatic, beautiful scenery and hear traditional scottish tales filled with faeries and giants and other wonderful magical creatures. we stopped along the way for photo ops infront of amazing backdrops of mountains, lochs, castles and valleys. nothing is boring in scotland.
that day i dunked my face in the river that supposedly gives one eternal youth and beauty (and possibly frostbite) and held water in my mouth from the top of a waterfall as i ran down to spit it onto a rock that grants you a wish (so graceful). we drove up a narrow and steep road up, up, up to a landing point with an incredible view over the isle but of course the view got better the higher you got so we let our feet take us further up until it felt like i was standing on top of the world. if it wasn’t so cold i would have gladly set up camp and stayed for a few days.
that night back at the hostel, our tour group along with the other group who were on the same tour had a quiz night in the hostels pub. i don’t remember a whole lot (no, not from the alcohol but from the amount of time that has passed since) but i do remember being dressed as a christmas tree, not winning, doing shots of whiskey, learning how to write my name in chinese and being very unwell the next morning which is something i am not going to write about (not my proudest moment).
we started the next day early and visited loch ness before the site of the battle of culloden. i never knew anything at all about scotland’s history and this trip opened my eyes so widely to a whole new chapter of the world that i never knew existed. it seems with every country i vist, i learn so much about the history and all of it is astounding. it makes me thirsty for knowledge and gives me a yearning to know more about everything. that is just one of the things i am so thankful to travelling for giving me.
Anonymous asked: what coloring do you use on your photos?
i generally just play with the curves in photoshop