Written by: Anne Gavin
I keep saying, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” And…then…it does. Every location exceeds the location before it and every travel experience touches me deeper than the one before. I seriously am out of adjectives at a little over the half way point of the trip. This country is truly life-changing. And, it’s really not just about Outlander or my love for the show. Clearly, that was a spark for me to come here. But, it’s become about the indescribable landscapes, the spackling of the sun (yes, SUN!) off the munros, moors and lochs, the haunting hum of the wind through the scotch pines or the roar of the wind off a ridge that stops as suddenly as it starts. And, sometimes just waking up to the growling tune of a bagpipe…somewhere. I only have my words to describe it but nothing really does it justice. Because every day the experience just gets bigger than me. Compared to the things I have seen here, nothing seems quite as important or significant. Read more after the jump…
It was time to start our descent out of the Highlands and back towards Edinburgh. But, first we would have the opportunity to see Scotland’s beauty from an entirely different perspective – aboard a horse!! We made our way to stables in Aviemore. We later found out that the Outlander Starz production team stabled the horses used for Outlander there. Perhaps I would be trotting along the same ground as Sam Heughan’s horse Sleepy (also known by the much more manly stage name of “Donas”)??? That little bit of information was just gravy to me, though, as we started our trek up a steep incline above the deep, deep green fields dotted with sheep. My horse, Emar, seemed a bit bored by it all yet eager for any chance to nibble from the branches as we passed by. When we reached the summit, it became 50 shades of green as we looked down the middle of two mountain ridges in the distance and rays of sun slicing through the clouds that had formed while we were under cover of the forest. Really hard to describe as I am just a mere mortal (see opening paragraph!) but astoundingly beautiful. Back at our “Big Hoosie” in Alyth that evening, we prepped to leave the next day for Perthshire, another hike and another unique Scottish experience that involves some dogs, some wool and some knitting needles.
Continuing our way south, we stopped briefly at Ruthven Barracks – an English fort and prison from the 1700s. It was much like what Ardsmuir probably would have looked like in “Voyager.” A grim place. One would never want to be imprisoned there. The wind and some rain swept in while we were meandering through the roof-less remains of the old fort. It was the first time during the trip that I felt a chill run through my bones. Maybe it was the cold or maybe it was the unearthly sense of the thousands of Scots who had been imprisoned and died there after the rising of 1745.
Missed the previous entries in my Scotland Diaries? Find them here:
A Sassenach Abroad
Ready, Set, Scotland
May 13-14 Edinburgh
May 15-17 Castles, Kirks, Cairns and Culloden
Until next time, Sassenachs. Slainte!