Top 5 Enchanting Things About Scotland

After visiting Northern Ireland, Mac and I were eager to see more of the United Kingdom. Our original plan had been to go straight to England but at the last minute we took the advice of fellow travelers and bought plane tickets to Scotland. We’re really glad we did—from surreal scenery to fascinating folklore, there was so much magic in Scotland that we easily fell under the country’s spell. What made it even better was the fact that it caught us entirely by surprise. Here are the top 5 things that enchanted us about Scotland.

The hiking: From the far reaches of the Scottish Highlands to the outskirts of busy Edinburgh, there was no shortage of incredible wilderness to explore. It wasn’t simply the wilderness that captivated us, though. It was also the interplay of light and fog that turned even ordinary sights into mystical settings.


The symbology: Wherever we went, we were sure to find thistles (the national flower) and unicorns (historically from the crest of Scotland’s royal families). You have to admit, there’s something quite charming about a country that puts spiny flowers and make-believe animals on a pedestal.


The literature: One of the best things about Edinburgh was the  abundance of good stories and great writers. We spent some time retracing the steps of J. K. Rowling, who wrote Harry Potter at The Elephant House cafe and based everything in the book—from buildings to streets to character names—on actual places and people from Edinburgh. The bathroom at the cafe, which happens to be owned by her brother-in-law, has been turned into an unofficial fan club.


The food: We couldn’t resist trying everything from haggis (sheep organs mixed with onions, oatmeal and spices) to tatties (Scottish potatoes) to pigeon (yep, the bird). The verdict? Mac liked the haggis but I thought it was disgusting, everyone loves potatoes and pigeon isn’t bad at all.


The Loch Ness monster: One of our last—and most important—adventures in Scotland was conducting our own search for the Loch Ness monster. We didn’t find “Nessie,” but we did find a stunning, mostly untouched lake (loch means lake in Scottish) that made us want to camp, hike, swim and explore for much more time than we had available. That—and “Nessie”—will have to wait for another trip :-)


1 Comment

  1. Pure gold! Beautifully written. And, the photos are exquisite. Now I want to go to Scotland and Ireland!! Thank you for the vicarious thrills!

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