The Scottish Highlands

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In Harry Potter, Dumbledore can extract memories from his mind and pour them into a Pensieve. Then, other people can fall into the Pensieve and experience that memory. This is one of the many, many moments that I wish Harry Potter was real, because I want to give you ALL the memories of this weekend! I guess these so-so photos and so-so words will have to do. Note: WordPress doesn’t like vertical photos, and this blog doesn’t make scrolling through pics very fun. Click here for the whole collection: https://plus.google.com/photos/103371901950956707016/albums/5846995206996632497?authkey=CKLolZHso8-1uAE

(That album is a little repetitive and out of order, but I would still encourage you to click that link!)

Try to imagine all of these photos to a consistent soundtrack of chirping birds and babbling brooks. And remember that I completely surrounded by everything I’ve photographed. My pictures completely fail to capture the beauty and the sheer SIZE of everything we saw. On the bus ride through the snowy region, I actually had to tell myself to mellow out. You can’t just throw an overly-enthusiastic person into a situation like this and not expect the wonderment to consume them!

The journey to Scotland began with a 5 hour train ride up the East Coast of the United Kingdom into Edinburgh. After our night in Edinburgh, the 50 students on our tour climbed aboard the most comfortable bus in the world and began our journey north to Loch Ness. We stayed overnight in Loch Ness—in an adorable lodge that convinced me of my love for Scottish people—and then made the journey back down to Edinburgh through the mountains.

Our phenomenal tour guide, Graham, explained to us that because we were so far north (60 miles north of Moscow!), the Highlands are considered the arctic zone. At that latitude, you only have to be at an altitude of 1500 ft to be considered arctic. Somehow, we had the best weather I’ve experienced in the UK! 50 degree days and a blue-skied Sunday. According to the locals, there have been a few deaths in the past month due to the -90 degree windchill! To say we were lucky is an understatement.

We spent most of the weekend on the bus, hopping out to grab pictures of the more impressive waterfalls and scenic areas, but the whole ride was amazing. We would be driving along thick, green, mossy forests and suddenly we’d zoom right by an abandoned old castle or hidden waterfalls. As we traversed the more arctic areas, we would find our selves at altitudes so high that our ears would pop and we’d be level with the clouds. We we drove through the areas by Glencoe, the hills and pools of water reminded me (illogically, but still) of Mars! Here are the highlights, minus my FAVORITE part of the trip—Culloden battlefield—which will come in a future post.

IMG_2047This is Glencoe. Imagine in being in one of those cars on the right, and imagine that this is all green in the summer. Even in as a blend of reds and browns and yellows, it didn’t fail to amaze.

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Glencoe as we approached via bus.IMG_2025

For a sense of scale, note the size of the people on the left hand side. This is the last photo of Glencoe. Everything below is a mix of sights from Saturday and Sunday.

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Are you seriously sleeping on this bus. 
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This would have been reminiscent of the old Dell screensaver without the reflection of the bus windows.IMG_2175

Farmland means we are re-entering civilization after a long day in the ARCTIC TUNDRA.

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Sigh. I would like to warn you that the forthcoming pictures of Culloden Battlefield will be even more beautiful.

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4 thoughts on “The Scottish Highlands

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