Tramping through the heather

Trip Start Aug 28, 2006
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Trip End Aug 31, 2007


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Monday, July 16, 2007

Another ferry ride over to Scotland from Larne in Northern Ireland.  I am getting to be a pro at riding these giant boats and know to head right for the video lounge for a comfy chair and relief from the crazy kids and loud talkers (do I sound grumpy?)  I don't know if it is because I have been travelling for so long or if it is age, probably a combination, but I am finding that I just hate people. obviously, I don't really hate all people, maybe I just hate strangers and their noises and how they don't stand in line the right way...I guess I am just longing for a place to call my own so I can hide away sometimes.  travelling leaves you very exposed all the time and I suppose that part of it is getting to me.
But, alas, fun was had in Scotland!!!  I first stayed in Ayr, nothing to get excited about, so immediately went to Arran Island, what they call "scotland in miniature".  It was very pretty, lots of hills and heather and coast.  I stayed in a nice bandb where the guy actually wore a kilt, which was a nice touch.  Staying in all these bandbs you can't help your mind wandering to the idea of doing it yourself.  well, he basically talked me out of it...for now anyway!  Of course I did a long walk into the hills with the goal of seeing some deer.  So I got up toward the top, sat on a rock in the heather covered hills, and to my utter happiness I saw a stag in the distance...very cool!
After Arran I decided to head all the way to the top of scotland to really see the highlands, that is why I came here.  It was a big haul, a ferry, a train, and then two buses taking about 12 hours in total.  worth it though, ended up in Thurso, again a place not to get too excited about, but a good starting point.  I really wanted to go to the Orkney islands, but that will have to wait for  another trip.  headed around the highlands via Tongue, Durness, and Ullapool...all pretty with lots of walks and really nice people.  I am loving the accent and how everything is "wee", it's grrrrreat.  the highlands feel very remote and ancient, very wet and boggy still.  people wave when they drive by, alot like tasmania.  It is tricky without a car though.  Again I considered the car option and thought I would just risk the buses.  From thurso to tongue I had to take the Post bus, which basically means you have to sit with the mail bags, kind of fun.  But the problem came in Tongue, to get to Durness, just 30 miles along the coast, there was no bus, you had to take a bus two hours south and then two hours back up north, crazy!  so I thought I would hitch instead, the the band b owners took sympathy on me and he offered to drive me...really nice!  He even did a little tour for me on the way.  I am telling you, these highland people are incredibly friendly...just like most people that live in country places around the world.  Something about living among less people lets you give of yourself more. 
Headed down to Edinburgh, just 10 days too early to see cousin Tom's son david performing his own play at the Fringe festival.  The city was nice, very pretty with lots of secret alley ways.  But it didn't thrill me either like people said it would.  I think I am more of an extreme person, I like it totally bleak and remote and windy, or a really big city where you can walk forever.  the in between stuff does not do it for me. I went to York in England next, on my way to London, and same thing happened.  It is a very pretty place, lots of cool old buildings, but too small, I ran out of places to walk pretty quickly. so picky I am!!!!
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