Over summer I spent a glorious long weekend with my family and James on the shores of Loch Tay. Loch Tay is in The Highlands, north of Edinburgh, but only a couple of hours in the car. The scenery is stunning – we took a detour into The Trossachs on the way home where I snapped a picture of the magical rainbow below. Scotland doesn’t have very many trees, but they all seem to be living in The Trossachs. I love the countryside and if you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I escape the city whenever I get the opportunity. Edinburgh is just small enough for me to not feel too claustrophobic, but I still need regular escapes to unwind and rid myself of city air. The Scottish Highlands are about as wild as you can get in the UK. To be honest, there’s not a lot to do if you don’t like walking. Luckily I do! Out of all the things we saw, my favourite must be the crannog. Lots of the lochs in Scotland have these little grassy islands, not far from the shore. They’re actually manmade – the foliage is growing on what used to be a circular wooden house, or “crannog”, built on stilts in the water. They were positioned close to the bank, with a drawbridge to separate inhabitants from the wild animals at night. At Loch Tay, there’s a reconstructed crannog, complete with a cauldron, insulation and hay floors. It’s so much fun to walk around and imagine what it would have been like to live there! They’re actually pretty cozy, and the drawbridge makes it feel like a fairytale.
A highlight for me was accidentally spending the evening at a local pub on folk music night. We arrived for dinner and although the food was fairly average, they made a big effort to cater for my dietary requirements which I always appreciate. After we had eaten, locals gradually arrived with an assortment of instruments of all shapes and sizes. Asides from my family and me, the majority of people in the pub had brought an instrument to play along. If I was ever going to be convinced to move to the Highlands, a village sing-a-long might do it! I didn’t join in, but there is something so heart warming about communal music-making like that. It makes me want to learn to play something portable, like the fiddle or the accordion maybe. On our last day, we had an adventure to Killin to see the standing stones and the beautiful falls of Dochart. My Dad has always loved standing stones. He doesn’t particularly like going away, but he can be convinced to take trips in the UK if standing stones are on the cards. As a child, I thought they were pointless pieces of old rocks (are children always that ungrateful?!) but since I’ve learnt more about their origin and Celtic culture, I find them kind of beautiful. I have plans to return to the area for New Years and I am praying that it snows (but you know, not enough to make our drive difficult…) It would be a dream to look out of the window at a loch covered in snow, curled up in the cottage cradling a whisky next to the log fire. Fingers crossed!