I recently returned from a month-long journey to Scotland. My husband had been longing to drink his favorite heavily-peated, single malt whiskey, Laphroaig, made only on the Isle of Islay (in total we made it to 19 distilleries on Islay and in Speyside). Since I had a hankerin’ for haggis, we decided to spend April driving the single-track roads (on the left of course, with too many roundabouts to count) from south to north and west to east.
We drove 1500 miles, flew twice on Scotland’s own Logan Air 40-seater prop-planes and traveled around the Western Isles via CalMac ferries, both large and small. We visited the Scotland familiar to you: the Highlands, Loch Ness, Inverness, and Edinburgh, but spent most of our time in remote, not often visited by Americans, locales including the Trotternish Peninsula of the Isle of Skye, Islay, Kilmartin Glen, Mallaig, Oban, Elgin, Ullapool, Dufftown, and the Outer Hebrides including North & South Uist, Benbecula, Lewis and Harris.
In addition to tasting at the distilleries, we spent our days visiting ancient bronze and neolithic sites including the Callanish Stone Circles on Lewis, plus brochs, burial cairns, and Pictish carved stones. We visited a Harris Tweed weaver and climbed through the ruins of 8th through 17th century castles, cathedrals and monasteries, learning about the Scottish quest for freedom from William Wallace to Robert the Bruce to the final battle at Culloden (think Outlander), as well as John Knox and the protestant reformation that swept Scotland in the 1500s.
We also discovered that all that hiking through the highlands and ancient sites is helped by a hearty full Scottish breakfast in the morning and then satisfying our appetites in the evenings by tucking into fresh caught, local fish, meat pies, Scotch eggs, haggis rolls or a steaming bowl of hearty Cullen Skink, all washed down with a few pints of draft lager.
About that haggis? Check back soon for Part 2 of my Scottish Adventure.