End of the exam period last December in Edinburgh wasn’t special only for the fact that, of course, the exams were over and that a 3-week vacation could start. What made it so joyfully anticipated was the fact that my brother Boris and one of our best friends Danijela were coming for a visit! Being adventurer as I am, and having two like-minded people on my side, it wasn’t hard agreeing on making a road trip around the famous Scottish Highlands!
As we left Edinburgh, there were a few essential spots to visit in close proximity to the city, before starting the long way! Our first stop was an adorable village of Queensferry, connected to its opposing partner – North Queensferry, by the iconic Forth Bridge. Apart from having the second longest single cantilever bridge span in the world, and being one of the most famous symbols of Scotland, this bridge was featured in numerous television programmes, films and video games including one of my all-time favourites Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas!
Only a couple of miles away our next stop awaited. Standing 30 meters high, two horse-head sculptures also known as The Kelpies, represent the World’s largest equine (relating to horses) sculptures. The Kelpies name reflected the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 100 horses – a quality that is analogous with the transformational change of Scotland’s landscapes, endurance of Scotland’s inland waterways and the strength of Scotland’s communities.
The last, but not least stop on the start of our trip was the engineering wonder called The Falkirk Wheel. It’s the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, and it indeed left us speechless!
As we moved up north, in a couple of hours we found ourselves at the gate of Highlands. The first sight to arrive at was the famous Glen Coe. This lovely valley surrounded by breath-taking mountains immediately gave a meaning to the name of the region – the Highlands.
As the winter days this north are extremely short, we wasted no time, and we continued towards our next stop. If you have ever seen a Harry Potter movie, then you will immediately recognize this stunning bridge.
The best thing about the Glenfinnan Viaduct is that the bridge is not the only beautiful thing around. The bay that the bridge is overlooking makes this whole place completely miraculous.
And finally, deep in the night, we arrived to our final destination – the Isle of Skye where we spent a night in a hostel in the largest town of the island – Portree, counting approximately 2300 people 😱!
As we woke up the following morning, exploration of the Isle of Skye could officially start! Having met quite a few friendly Scottish people on our way (most of them are indeed), we got the first-hand tips about the best places to see on our two-day visit to this remote island. Only 10km away from Portree, our first “must-see” spot awaited – The Old Man of Storr. A steep rocky hike was extremely difficult at this time of the year, due to the huge amounts of ice along the whole path. Nevertheless, we managed to make about a half of the full climb which was more than enough to experience some spectacular views of both the stunning Storr rocks and the bay beneath us.
Without further ado, we continued further north making a circle around the whole island, having numerous stops just to appreciate the scenic views surrounding us.
To sum up the day, a visit to Talisker – the distillery of my brother’s favourite whisky was inevitable. Learning all about the whisky production process and eventually tasting this fine single malt gave a special flavour to this truly Scottish day.
Waking up early the next day, in order to make the most out of it, we headed to the western most point of the Island – the Neist Point. High terrifying cliffs, no people, strong winds and a lighthouse at the very end of the island, next to the open ocean seemed like a perfect setting for a spooky movie 😱! Notwithstanding, these 3 brave Serbs still managed to fully enjoy this scenic area having fun like they were in a comedy movie rather than a spooky one 😉
As the clock was ticking, we knew it was time to slowly head back towards the capital. On our way back, we encountered several beautiful castles, which felt like an ordinary thing in Scotland. But why I’m even more proud of this brave trio is the fact that we even managed to get to the Loch Ness without being eaten by the Nessie! 😊
And oh yes, I almost forgot, we managed to do 1600km in 3 days with this beast!
Finally, in late night we arrived back to Edinburgh. Overwhelmed by how beautiful Scotland can be even in the middle of winter, we all agreed that this country deserves plenty of visits in future, as there are still countless unexplored beauties waiting to be discovered!