As sad as it is for me tell you all, this is my final post about my trip to Iceland (The Sights and the Noms) and Scotland. Today, I’ll be wrapping up by recounting my last two days in Scotland.
We last left off with forever boo and I touring Edinburgh, sitting down for some high tea, and, of course, eating too much, but we’ll pick back up with our whirlwind tour of the Scottish Highlands!
Day 3 (All Day)- Rabbie’s Tour of Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands
When forever boo and I had decided to visit Scotland, I knew he had to see the Highlands. During my previous trip in 2011, I was able to spend three long, amazing days on a MacBackpackers tour, but this time we would only have one day. After some *serious* research, we chose the Rabbie’s Tour of Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands, a 12-hour sprint that would give us the highlights.
After meeting our group/bus at the Rabbie’s Café, we set off on our journey. For the first part of the tour, we stopped at Dunkeld, home to the Dunkeld Cathedral, and learned about forestry in Scotland and saw some of the last remaining native forests of Scotland near Kinloch Laggan. We didn’t leave the bus very often on this first leg, but our tour guide assured us that we’d get out more after our lunch stop at the world-famous Loch Ness.
A few highlights from our tour of the Scottish Highlands! It was rainy and super duper Scottish.
We arrived at the Caledonian Canal around lunchtime (we got food from a chip shop, again, y’all, and it was good as always), just in time to catch our vessel to the abyss: The Spirit of Loch Ness! By far, this was the best part of the Highlands tour. At about an hour in length, this ride is a lovely jaunt over the loch jam-packed with amazing views and fun facts about the hunt for the Loch Ness Monster. Definitely try to get on any loch (don’t swim, it’s dangerous; try a boat or something) while in Scotland. It is so beautiful.
Pardon the wind. I left it in so that you really feel like you’re there!
We then proceeded to drive through Glencoe, an area with some impressive mountains, including the tallest in the UK, Ben Nevis, as we trekked back to Edinburgh. Due to the rain, the second leg of the trip was also mostly gawking at the landscape from inside the bus, but we did stop off to see Hamish the Highland Coo (Scottish for cow), or technically his successor!
After we arrived back in Edinburgh from our whirlwind tour, we noshed at Gurkha Café and Restaurant, and once again I have failed you all and did not get a photo of our wonderful Nepalese noms! Trust me, it was delicious!
Day 4, Activity 1- Dalkeith, Scotland
The next morning, we set off for my 2011 home in Scotland, Dalkeith. As I mentioned last week, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls has an amazing study abroad program where students stay and take classes at Dalkeith Palace. Being able to return to my old stomping grounds was so incredibly great, and I was so happy to see the updated Dalkeith Country Park. If you have a morning or afternoon free, take the #3 Lothian Bus from Edinburgh out to Dalkeith and explore!
Dalkeith Palace and Cider Black Currant! What a morning!
After wandering around the Palace and grounds, we stopped off at one of my favorite pubs in Dalkeith, the Blacksmith’s Forge, so that forever boo could try a traditional Scottish Breakfast, and so that I could have one of my favorite drinks (that I had first tried at Blacksmith’s Forge), a Cider with Black Currant. It’s just cider and black currant syrup, but for some reason it tastes better in Scotland.
Day 4, Activity 2- Sandeman’s New Europe Harry Potter Walking Tour of Edinburgh
We arrived back in Edinburgh for one of our final activities, Sandeman’s New Europe Edinburgh Harry Potter Walking Tour. I don’t know about you guys, but we’re pretty big Harry Potter fans, and this tour really drove home that fact that so much of the city correlates to aspects of the Harry Potter universe. For those of you that may not know, JK Rowling lived in Edinburgh while writing most of the books and continues to live in the city today.
Some Harry Potter sights in Edinburgh!
From grave markers with names of certain characters (like Thomas Riddell and a McGonagall) to the street that inspired Diagon Alley (it’s Victoria’s St.) as well as a number of other Harry Potter pilgrimage sites and shops around the city, Edinburgh is VERY Harry Potter friendly, so if you’re in the UK to tour other Harry Potter sites, consider adding Edinburgh and this tour to your list.
Wrapping Up Scotland
After our Harry Potter walking tour, we wandered around Old Town a little more, grabbed whatever souvenirs we thought we could still fit in our bag, and then had our last dinner at Howie’s Restaurant, once again, near our Airbnb. The food (forever boo got an out-of-this-world chicken dish and I got some delicious Shetland salmon) was splendid, and they had a gin flight featuring Edinburgh’s finest that I continue to dream about. It was a great meal to finish out our amazing stay in Edinburgh.
The Final Verdict
My return to Scotland was filled with old sights, noms, and activities, but also a few new ones too! I was so glad to be able to share Scotland with forever boo and prove to him that Scotland really is the greatest place ever. I hope you all are convinced, too.
It’s been great telling you all about my trip! I hope you learned a little, pity-laughed at some of my jokes, and salivated at my photos of the food! ❤