As I mentioned below, I went on a 3-day bus tour of the Highlands in northern Scotland. Among many things this area is important because of its with rich and traumatic history, vast and magnificent mountains, and fanciful and entertaining folk tales. And of course, there are many pastures of coos (hairy cows) and sheep in the Highlands.
Accompanied by six other Georgetown students, I set out from Edinburgh to visit the Highlands. As we headed north from Edinburgh, we stopped at the National Wallace Monument, which commemorates Sir William Wallace, a prominent thirteenth-century leader in the War of Scottish Independence. We enjoyed a beautiful view of the Scottish landscape from outside the monument. Our next stop was in the small town of Callender; unlike rest stops along the NJ Turnpike or Garden State Parkway that I have become very familiar with over the years, this stop consisted of a visit with Hamish, a huge Highland hairy coo. Back on the bus, we enjoyed entering the Scottish Highlands and learning about the history of the clans in Scotland from our Scottish tour guide, Fe. Also, my friends and I enjoyed some Scottish cider on the bus as our journey in the Highlands continued. Our next stop was at the remnants of Inverlochy Castle, an thirteenth-century built castle situated on River Lochy near Fort William. This castle, under the care of Historic Scotland, has been mostly unchanged and thus represents an authentic historical structure from the thirteenth century. Next, we continued on to Fort Augustus, where we stayed for the night. We stayed in a hostel called Morag’s Lodge, which is a 10-minute walk from Loch Ness. In the bar of the hostel, I had my first glass of Scottish whiskey! That night, we went to a small performance about kilts and weaponry from the Highlands. Later that night, the group of Georgetown and UPenn students embraced our hostel’s proximity to Loch Ness as we went for a rainy midnight adventure into Loch Ness.