Today’s the day. In a few short hours, I’ll be on my way across the pond again for a long-awaited two-week visit to northern Scotland. I wasn’t supposed to be going to Scotland this summer. I had long been planning on a trip to Germany and Austria for this year’s summer vacation. But upon the suggestion of a stranger on TripAdvisor last summer, I started looking at pictures of the Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides online. It was one of those times where my heart made the decision before my mind had a chance to catch up. I knew without a doubt I would be heading to Scotland after seeing those pictures and reading about this remote part of the world. And I never doubted my decision. After waiting until I was reasonably sure we wouldn’t be having any more snow days, I booked the trip. Then, of course, we had two more snow days. Good thing I left myself a few days’ cushion after the end of the school year!
One thing you should know about me is that I am incredibly claustrophobic. I have gotten better over the years, but I still get myself pretty worked up when I am in a small space. (I used to avoid elevators like the plague!) So I was all set to book my flights through London on British Airways, and I decided to double-check to see if there were any other connecting flights to Inverness from Boston. Lo and behold, Aer Lingus had a flight through Dublin, transferring to a regional airline turboprop. The thought of stopping in Dublin appealed to me; the turboprop did not. After searching for pictures of the interior of the plane and sufficiently driving myself crazy, I decided (despite the significant savings) if I was that nervous just thinking about it, I should stick with my original plan. A layover in London it is!
So I’m off to Inverness, Scotland. Inverness is a small city/large town in north central Scotland. I considered flying into Edinburgh or Glasgow, but not being a city person, I decided I’d be much happier skipping them altogether. My flight lands in Inverness at 11:25 BST tomorrow morning, and I plan to pick up the rental car and hightail it out of the city. My first stop is Torridon, a small village on the Applecross Peninsula, for two nights. The whole area has a population of about 400 people. My kind of remote place! From there, I will head to the Isle of Skye for four nights, then ferry out to the Outer Hebrides, where I will spend six nights before heading back to Inverness and eventually back to Boston. I’m not a city person at all, and this trip is far enough off the beaten path that I expect to enjoy lots of solitude and relaxation. I’m looking forward to walking on beautiful white sand beaches, eating afternoon scones at quaint cafes, and hiking to iconic vistas. (I think it goes without saying that what I’m most looking forward to is drinking English cider!) Although I’m not a city person, I do like my creature comforts, so I’ll be staying in larger towns and villages so I can (hopefully) also enjoy some live music and pub culture in the evenings. If you click on the map above, you can see my route through the Scottish Highlands and Islands!