(courtesy Lonely Planet)
I’m actually pretty embarrassed to admit this, but despite living in London for a year, I never managed to make it to Scotland. I didn’t actually travel much around the United Kingdom that year, instead opting to explore the European continent (France, Italy, Czech Republic, the Balkans, etc). I did visit Cambridge and Cardiff on daytrips, and the usual tourist spots of Stonehenge, Windsor, and Bath, but that was about the extent of my UK travel. When I spent a week in London in January 2010, I seriously contemplated making a quick trip up to Edinburgh and spent a few hours researching railway timetables (it is about a 4.5 hour journey from London) and finding Edinburgh hotels. Ultimately, though, laziness prevailed and I opted to instead spend my time wandering around London with friends.
Someday, though, I will visit Scotland. I figure I would need about two weeks to see everything on my “to-do” list, including Edinburgh, Skye, and the Highlands. BBC Travel recently published an excellent article detailing a two-week road trip itinerary that takes you from Edinburgh to the Orkney Islands. I’m especially intrigued by the Scottish Highlands, often considered the most beautiful part of Scotland due to its multitude of lochs, castles, mountains, and coastal scenery. I’ve heard Inverness is a fun city to visit as well, especially if you are visiting during the Highland Games. The BBC itinerary is packed with a lot of different activities, including hiking, sea kayaking, castle visits, ferry rides, wildlife cruises, and whiskey tastings. Admittedly, I’m not a huge whiskey fan, but maybe a trip to Scotland could convince me otherwise.