After many years, I have fallen in love with you.
Our first visit was nothing spectacular. We went to some of the traditional tourist spots, staying in a different place many nights. We visited Edinburgh for a couple of nights and we visited Inverness. We had a couple of days on Skye. After leaving Skye, we headed south, visiting Hadrian’s Wall. I cannot remember much of that visit. After leaving you, we visited Ireland, where we were stuck for a few days as a result of the Icelandic volcano stopping all air traffic. This is what I possibly remember most of that holiday touring Italy, the UK and Ireland.
It was our 2018 visit that focussed on Scotland before heading to Nova Scotia (New Scotland) in Canada. That is when I fell in love with you. We stayed for 3-7 days in most places. We saw and learnt so much, I cannot identify a single highlight.
Our first stop was Perth. Although we needed to fight jetlag a little, we managed to see quite a lot of great places around the region. After the first night’s sleep we visited Scone Palace, The Black Watch Museum and Castle, and then Perth itself. We did get lost but we eventually found our way back to the car. An interesting visit was to Innerpeffray Library established in the 17th century. This was a great collection, and we were even allowed to touch most of the books.
Our next stop was Inverness. We had been there eight years earlier, but only had an overnight stop. This time we were able to explore a little more of the region. One stop when in Inverness is of course Culloden. This time we were able to explore the field (it had been wet and miserable the previous visit). I even found the marker for the Stewart clan, my forebears. A standout find in Inverness itself was a bookshop – new and old books and ranging over several levels. We could have spent days wandering and browsing.
It was as we left Inverness and headed further into the highlands that I really started to fall in love with you. I can still picture driving up the west and north coast. We did stay in a couple of places for only one night each, but this was part of the plan for seeing the west and north coasts on our way to catch the ferry to Orkney.
We spent five days exploring Orkney Islands. Our base was in Kirkwall on the east of the main island. Here we explored ruins, cathedrals and even managed a craft drive over the few days we stayed. Our location was perfect, right on the edge of the town. The unit we rented was a little inconvenient as it was upstairs, with the bedroom up a further flight of stairs. Still, with such a perfect location we did not complain too much. We even found a pub where there was a music session every night for Tim to participate in.
From Orkney Islands, we caught another ferry. This time we headed to the Shetland Islands. More ruins, cathedrals and craft to explore. Our unit on the main island of Shetland was not located as close to the main town of Lerwick but was more comfortable. One exploration was to the island of Unst, the most northerly permanently occupied island and found the most northerly home. And we found our way south as well. Some of the smaller islands got missed due to timing. Highlights for me included the Shetland Textile museum and Jamiesons Wool Shop.
We finally left Shetland for a couple of days in Glasgow before leaving you for Canada.
You are my overseas love and I look forward to seeing you again at some stage in the future."