Stories of Scotland

One angle of the view from our bay window at the Bed and Breakfast in Wick

I talked last week about how this trip changed my life. Now it’s time to go into a little more detail–and of course show off some of the 500 pictures I took while I was in the UK.

I could turn this into a big series–you’d be amazed at how many things a person can fit into three weeks when they really try–but to be honest I’m already eager to start a completely different series of posts. So while you can be sure you’ll hear about this trip again, it certainly won’t be in the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, let’s get started!

Travelling Alone

No pictures at this point because frankly I find Toronto–and airports–fairly boring. But this was my first time flying alone, which was pretty cool. I loved watching the plane take off and land, which is pretty strange when you consider that I’m terrified of heights.

I did also spend four days by myself in London, but that’s another story for another time. What I will say is this: traveling alone is nice, but it gets tiresome after a while. And it sucks when you want a picture of you taken in a certain spot.

Staying in Wick

DSC_0125I met up with my aunt in Edinburgh and together we took a rather small plane up to Wick, a town in Caithness. The awesome thing about the smaller plane is that it flies a fair bit lower than larger planes, meaning you get to see a lot of the countryside as you fly. I’ll admit, I was too busy gaping to take a picture through the window, but I did take a picture of the plane.

Clan Gunn used to actually own almost all of the lands in Caithness, including Wick and the lands around it. I’m not sure if it’s because of that or because of the spectacular landscape, but I felt far more at home in Wick than I ever have in Toronto. There are many logical reasons for me to continue living in a city, but I’m still planning to move up there someday.

This is the other side of the view from our Bed and Breakfast in Wick.
This is the other side of the view from our Bed and Breakfast in Wick.

And with views like this, who can blame me?

To be honest, I kind of think my family was insane for moving to a place like Canada when they could have stayed in a place like this. I mean, there are places that look kind of like this in Canada, but most of them have dreadful cold winters, the kind of thing that’s completely unheard of in Scotland.

It was a bit gloomy the day we arrived, but it wasn’t particularly cold and we had beautiful weather the rest of the time we stayed in Wick.

We spread my dad’s ashes outside the Clan Gunn Heritage museum, which was actually a couple towns away from Wick. Well, I wouldn’t say it was in a town, but it was past a town and I think another town began a little bit after the museum.

DSC_0089It also happens to be in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I certainly can’t blame my dad for wanting his ashes spread there, and some day I just might want the same thing done with mine.

Spreading his ashes lifted a weight off my chest that I hadn’t even noticed until I was gone. Or perhaps I had gotten so used to it that I didn’t remember what caused it, didn’t even remember it was there.

I had fun from the moment we landed in Wick, but I had fun in a different way after the ashes were spread. In a strange way I didn’t really feel like I was on vacation until after the ashes were spread. Once the job was done, I had more fun than I thought possible and made friends with a handful of locals.

The Beauty of Edinburgh

DSC_0132Edinburgh is a magnificent city built on seven large hills that used to be volcanoes. This means you can get excellent views from almost anywhere in the city. I found the old architecture so fascinating that I could have taken a thousand pictures. To be honest, the main reason I didn’t is because I didn’t want to stop moving that often.

We spent quite a bit of time just wandering around in Edinburgh and even though we were only there for a few days, by the end of it I felt like I knew downtown pretty well.

To be honest, I wish I never left Edinburgh, as much as I enjoyed the other parts of the trip. I can see myself living in Wick someday when I’m older and more established as an author than as a content writer, but I could see myself living in Edinburgh now.

DSC_0200My aunt did introduce me to a couple awesome people from Edinburgh who I hope to stay friends. In my head I am already half planning the day when I’ll get back to this beautiful city.

My aunt and I did spend a good couple hours exploring Edinburgh Castle. We did visit the castle last time but ten years is a long time and this time I had my own rather nice camera, so I wanted to explore it again.

DSC_0192One of the most interesting things about Edinburgh castle is the hole in the wall where several prisoners of war escaped. This picture doesn’t really do it justice because of the bars, but it was a long way down into the city. Unfortunately you can’t see how sheer the cliff on this side of the castle, but just thinking about that climb gives me the shudders, especially because the largest escape was during a rain storm.

Do you call that bravery or desperation or even insanity?

All I know is that I could have happily kept exploring Edinburgh for a long time, but I will console myself with planning my way back.

What’s your favourite place in the world? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Stories of Scotland

  • Carol Browne

    I really enjoyed reading about your adventures and look forward to further instalments. I felt at home the first time I went to Glastonbury. I’d love to live there. The only thing wrong with it is it’s not near the sea.

    • dlgunn

      Some places are truly magical, and I suspect the magic is often ignited for us in places where our ancestors said.

      Still, I think I’ve reached a point where if I move out of Toronto, it will be to somewhere near the sea. The sound of waves lapping against the shore is the most beautiful sound in the entire world.

Comments are closed.