If you follow me on Instagram (and if you're not you should) you will have known that a couple weeks ago, my mom and I took a trip of a lifetime to Scotland.
Now - I've been getting a lot of questions revolving around why I wanted to visit Scotland and there isn't just one simple answer.
I do have ancestry from Scotland on my moms side, so that certainly played a huge part. I also fell in love with the country at a young age. I have a really big love for the United Kingdom and I have already visited England and Ireland so Scotland was the next logical choice.
I am also a HUGE outlander fan - although this only just arose within the past year or so.
I will do my best over this blog post to detail what we did and saw day by day but I may skip over some details for time sake. As much as I am sure you all would love to hear about my trip, I doubt you want to read a novel.
We landed in Edinburgh very early on the Saturday morning. After our driver took us to our hotel, we checked our luggage, got freshened up and began to explore the city.
If you didn't know, Edinburgh is a very walkable city. Everything is easily gotten to on foot and this really appealed to me. We walked up and down the Royal Mile and took a million photos. Around 10 am we headed to Edinburgh castle where we did a self-walk tour around the grounds.
Talk about amazing views. Edinburgh castle sits on top of an old volcanic rock where you can see the entire city and beyond from it's walls. It makes perfect sense when you stand up there why they wanted to build a castle here.
After a quick lunch, we headed back to the hotel for a nap (jetlag was real that day) and then got ready to head back out.
We then walked up Calton hill for yet another amazing view of the city and visited Bakehouse Close. Which at the time I didn't realize was my clasmen's old mansion (Clan Gordon) but thought it was cool to see where they filmed the printshop scene in Outlander.
After 25,000 steps - we called it a night after a nice pub dinner.
Day two started with an Outlander guided tour. This tour took you on locations where they filmed for the show.
We started at Doune Castle, which they used as Castle Leoch. This famous castle is used quite often in film and television. If you are a Monty Python fan you will also recognize the castle.
Next we headed to Culross - which was an adorable village that was used as the castle gardens and as Cranesmuir.
After that we stopped in at Falkland which was used for 1945 Inverness. Here we ate lunch at an adorable tea room and walked around the city square. They did all their filming here - and it is most famous for the scene where Frank sees Jamie's ghost looking up at Claire.
Next we visited Dysart Harbour - which was used for the French harbour in Season 2.
And lastly - we visited Midhope Castle. Which I am sure all you Outlander fans can immediately recognize as Lallybroch, Jamie's home. This location felt the most surreal for me as it looks just as it does in the show. And let me tell you - I got to live out my best Claire life by sitting on those steps.
After our tour we returned back to Edinburgh and walked around The Prince's Gardens. It was here that we got stunning views of the castle and the scot monument.
Day Three we picked up our rental car and it was time to drive into the Highlands! This by far was one of my favourite days. We made our way through Glencoe and let me tell you these views were stunning.
This was exactly what you'd picture Scotland to be like. The rolling hills of green and amber. If any of you have watched Skyfall - it was shot in the Glencoe area.
We took our time driving through the area and stopped by the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is possibly most famous for being the Hogwarts train. Unfortunately the train wasn't running when I was there - but the viaduct itself was stunning.
We arrived in the evening at our B&B just outside of Fort William.
Day Four we began our journey to Isle of Skye making a stop at Eilean Donan castle - which is the ancestral seat of Clan McCrae.
Now as a Guelphite - the name McCrae has some special meaning, as most of you know John McCrae, writer of In Flanders Field, was also a Guelphite. So it was really amazing to see not only this castle but the beautiful war memorial they have using his poem.
After this - we began our drive over to Skye. Now this is where the day took a bit of a sour turn. Unfortunately for us - we drove right into a storm.
So we tried our best to drive out to Dunvegan Castle and Neist Point but were met with high winds, downpour and thick fog - which made us a lot more comfortable on the roads for the days to come but also meant we saw next to nothing on our first day on Skye.
Day Five, and our second day on Skye, we weren't going to let anything stop us from taking in the beauty of this island.
We got in the car and headed out to the Quiraing where we literally hiked with the sheep. This was such an amazing view and environment to be immersed in. We walked along the thick heather and took a moment to just relax and breath in the fresh air.
Afterwards we headed down to Kilt rock - yet another beautiful view. Which I am sure by now you are sensing a trend in this post - Scotland is beautiful, if you don't take anything away but that, that's okay with me.
After Kilt Rock we drove down to Old Man of Storr - and because the fog began to roll in - it created a really eerie scene. This hike was a bit more than I anticipated but I was glad I did it.
Next we drove into Portree and shopped around, grabbed some lunch and a tea to go.
Day Six we left Skye and started heading North East towards Inverness. On our way we stopped in Beauly to take a look around and then drove past Inverness to Culloden Moor.
Now if you are unaware of the Battle at Culloden I will give you a very brief summary.
In 1746, the battle at Culloden marked the end of the final Jacobite rising and the end of the Highland culture at the time.
The Jacobites were those who aimed to restore a Roman Catholic Stuart to the throne and in this particular case these Jacobites were following Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) into what they called "An open lake of grass and bullets".
The battlefield itself was open and barren, and not at all the place for Highland troops. The feeling you get standing there cannot be described.
After our visit to the Culloden battlefield we made our way to our B&B in Inverness and walked around town before getting dinner at a local pub.
Day Seven we headed out of Inverness and went to the Clava Cairns (Standing Stones) located just behind Culloden Moor. Now for my Outlander fans these aren't the stones you are thinking of - but definitely would have been the inspiration for the ones in the books and tv series.
Afterwards we began our journey South through Aberdeenshire. Stopping at the Glenlivet distillery where I managed to snag a picture of a Highland Coo.
We also got to drive by our old family farm which was again surreal to see in person and also so amazing to see where my ancestors lived and worked.
Day Eight we had made our way to Stirling. We spent the morning touring Stirling castle which was one of the most beautiful castles on our trip. The set-up and maintenance of the castle was also extremely well done - making for a really amazing tour.
Next we began to drive towards Edinburgh making a stop at the Kelpies. This is an art installation by Andy Scott located in Falkirk.
For those who don't know, Kelpies are shape-shifting water spirits who can be found around Lochs. They take on the form of something that you would find attractive and once you have touched the Kelpie, they drag you into the depths to your death. They are often featured in stories to help keep children from playing by the Lochs.
Day Nine we had arrived back in Edinburgh and we made our way down the Royal Mile towards Holyrood palace and over to Arthur's Seat. After hiking up nearly 60 flights we arrived at the top where we could overlook all of Edinburgh. These views were absolutely worth the hike.
The rest of the afternoon we took it easy, walking around the city and shopping for some more goodies to take home with us.
Day Ten and Eleven, we made our way to Glasgow by train. Here we walked around to see the amazing cathedral and street art that was scattered through the city.
We took it easy these last couple days, shopped and ate some amazing vegan food at the Glasvegan.
The street art that you see above is done by Smug.
I'd like to give a huge thanks to Tenon Tours for helping us schedule and book this trip.