Halò! I’m back from my honeymoon in Scotland and I’m so excited to share some highlights from our trip! We traversed much of the Highlands, starting in Inverness and making our way to the Isle of Skye, then south near Glencoe before looping back around to Inverness. It was the trip of a lifetime…we saw so many amazing spots we dreamed of visiting, plus a few surprises we discovered along the way! Now let’s embark on a journey together to revisit some of my favorite moments in bonnie ol’ Scotland!
Our very first stop was to Culloden Battlefield, outside of Inverness. On this spot, the Jacobite forces battled the English in 1746, marking the end of the Jacobite rising.
For my fellow Outlander fans, you’ll also note the memorial for Clan Fraser, marking our dear Jamie’s valiant role in the battle. 😉
A few miles from Culloden, we visited the Clava Cairns which are Bronze Age burial grounds. (That’s 4,000 years ago!!) It was quite remarkable to be in the presence of such ancient history and to contemplate the significance of this spot for a civilization thousands of years old.
Amid the cairns, we even found a standing stone which bears a remarkable resemblance to the legendary stone that sent Claire back in time...(I couldn’t help myself!)
And we saw castles galore throughout the Highlands! Cawdor Castle is an ancient medieval fortress dating back to the 14th century, and is still home to the Cawdor family to this day. The castle is also accompanied by gorgeous sprawling gardens which still showed beautiful blooms, even in late September!
The ruins of Urquhart Castle (situated on Loch Ness!) were quite a sight! It felt like uncovering a hidden passage through time as we traversed the rubble that’s been reclaimed by nature while we imagined what the castle may have looked like hundreds of years ago...
We didn’t originally plan to visit Eilean Donan, but we were so glad we made the slight detour on our way to Skye! It’s one of the most well-known castles in Scotland and was quite busy with fellow tourists, but once you step into the castle none of that matters because you’re instantly transported back in time. My favorite bit of history were the secret hideaways in the gathering hall, where the Lord of the castle would plant people to stealthily listen in on conversations…oh, the intrigue!
I completely fell in love with the town of Fort Augustus, on the shores of Loch Ness. It has a charming seaside ambience and the streets are lined with quaint shops…perfect for strolling and picking up some special souvenirs to bring home!
I was excited to also come across this monument commemorating the Victoria Jubilee. Just imagine what Fort Augustus must have looked like in the Victorian era!
Being the Outlander fan that I am, I insisted we visit some filming locations from the show, which brought us to Beauly Priory, the ruins of a 13th century monastery. The level of detail in the stonework was incredible and we even saw a tomb dating from 1491! (I must confess…I was told this was a location for the episode “The Fox’s Lair”, but I re-watched the episode and I’m not entirely sure that’s correct. If anyone knows which episode features Beauly Priory, please do share!)
...And then there was this charming monk statue (note my Outlander-inspired shawl I knitted just for the occasion)!
We also made an impromptu visit to the Highland Folk Museum, where the recreation of an 18th-century Highland settlement was used as the backdrop for part of the “Rent” episode in season 1. According to the museum staff, we missed seeing Sam Heughan who visited just the week before! Drat our unfortunate timing! 😥
My absolute favorite part of our trip was our hike along the “cleared coast” on the Isle of Skye.
Fortunately, our AirBnB was located just a 15-minute walk from the coast where we began our trek up the mountains and through the ruins of Suisnish and Boreraig, two seaside villages that were abandoned in 1852 when families were cleared off the land by the MacDonald clan. The villages themselves were solemn, yet beautiful spots. Generations of families made their homes here for hundreds of years before being pushed out, and you can feel the history and a profound sense of loss.
The full hike was about 10.5 miles and took us on meandering (and oftentimes very boggy!) paths up and down mountains, along the coastline on dramatic cliffs, through abandoned marble quarries, and past foggy moors and heaths reminiscent of my beloved English Fog scent blend! The path finally wound back down into the valley of Kilbride, ending with this remarkable old structure, which remains a mystery…
There were so many incredible moments from our trip and I wish I could share each and every one with you, but I do hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our journey through the Scottish Highlands!
Have you visited Scotland? Or is it on your bucket-list of dream travel spots? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from others who share a love of this gorgeous corner of the world!