Scotland – The Highlands & The Toilet That Echoed Louder Than I Thought

We awake.

Being that we are not in a city, we are waking up at a decent hour.

Being that we don’t want to get kicked out of the parking lot, we also just decide to get up and head off at around 8am.

Most of the time, people are pissed off at around 8:30, so we keep our bets safe by getting out of there around 8am.

I chuck the only wet pair of shoes I have back on, preceded only by some crusty socks I wore the other day, because I am in need of washing some more socks. We head over to the cop shop, but for some unknown reason, they are all locked up, which means that we have to head to the main cop shop, located in Fort William.

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Being that Fort William is a fair hike away, we decide that we will see some of the highlands first. Especially since we are right at the foot of them.

The mountains are already super easily visible from the town. The closer you get, the grander they feel. I said this about the mountains in Iceland too, but they just feel so powerful. They are just so huge and just loom so far over you that you cant help but feel dwarfed by them. They have got this certain sense of majesty and power about them that not many things compare to.

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As the drive deeper into the highlands, I keep finding myself having to duck and weave around the columns of the windows to be able to get the full view that I want to get. Bec and I are forever winding the windows down and back up to clear the glass of the constant fog build up. We keep clearing it, or with the ‘sock of clarity’, which is just a lone sock that is now used to clean the windows when they get too fogged up.

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The road ducks and weaves around the mountains, leading you deeper into the ranges. Everywhere you look is photo worthy. The hardest part is working out how to actually show the magnitude of the ranges in the images clearly. This is something that frustrates me. I can see a scene in front of me that is just stunning in every way, but actually capturing that to be able to depict what I am seeing is a real art.

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We have a look at where we are headed for our journey, and marry it up against what else we want to see while we are in Scotland. We make the executive decision to head out of the highlands an head back to another area, which is still a touch mountainous, but also has the viaduct that they used in Harry Potter, which spans across a valley.

Super picturesque.

We zig zag, and we get to the car park where you can pay to then head to the via duct. I get to see it, but I honestly feel that to get a good shot of it, I am going to have to firstly pay, and then walk for ages up one of the hills to be abel to get the right vantage point. I’m firstly, not that committed to one single shot, especially one that everyone else had, and secondly, we want to be spending the little time we have in the highlands well, so we skip out on the viaduct. But, I do get a picture of it so that if anyone tries to hit me up about it, I can show them the proof.

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If you want to hit me up about it, Ill give you the proof.

We turn back around to head to Fort William to make our statement about the crash last night. Just as we are leaving, I spot this gorgeous lake, with all these funky looking trees on an island. I can see the shot in my mind, so we spin back around. The adventure of trying to find a solid footing comes up again.

I end up just using the tufts of grass and bundles of reeds poking up through the super watery ground as my stepping stones. They work a treat, but it sure took me a while to work out how the hell to get form point a to point b with my camera in hand, and not getting my shoes more wet.

Yet another activity I shouldn’t be undertaking with a camera in hand.

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I try a few other spots around the area, and we hit the road again.

We head into Fort William, and meet Jack, who takes our statement about the accident. We are sitting the waiting room, and I am absolutely hanging for to lay a nugget. There is only one toilet in the police station, and its naturally connected to the waiting room. I head in there, and do my thing. This particular time, its not very subtle. In between bowel movements, I hear Bec in the waiting room chuckling. Literally every time. I keep telling her to keep quiet, but she keeps laughing.

I finish my business and head into the interview room, where we begin the questioning with Jack. He has to head out, so as soon as he leaves the room, Bec turns to be and says “I could literally hear everything!”

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“Really? I though you were just trying to be funny”

“Nah. You can literally hear everything happening in there. You’re really lucky it was just me in the waiting room, otherwise anyone else would have heard too”

I cant help but have a laugh at this point. Thank God it was just us in there.

We give our statement, and get a couple pointers from the cop and get on our way. By this point it is late in the arvo, and we are headed to Edinburgh for the night. Tomorrow, we return the car, and we want to spend a day checking out the place before we fly to Dublin.

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We begin the along the road to Edinburgh, but we choose to take the long way back, as we want to see all the good stuff that Scotland has to offer. We are driving along, and I pull over into one of the bays to let this bloke behind me pass us. As I pull over, Bec says “Thanks babe”, sounding really sincere and all. To which, I reply, “For what?”

“For pulling off the road”

“Huh?”

I look over to my right, and there is this absolutely small, but stunning waterfall. Bec just assumed that I had pulled over on the side of the road for another photo, but I actually hadn’t seen the falls at all. If I hadn’t pulled over to let this guy pass, I would never have known it was there.

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Seriously, Scotland has been like this from the moment we got past Glasgow. It is actually so gorgeous. You’ll be driving along, and then you will be met with a view of an utterly gorgeous forest landscape, or a lake side, or a river, or falls, and if its not any of the natural beauties, then it would be a castle that is standing tall atop a hill or cliff face. I mean, I stopped a lot in Iceland, but I feel as though I was capturing similar landscapes, with hints of diversity.

However, in Scotland, I feel as though there is so much diversity in such a small country that its not funny, and the diverse landscape is A-grade every time I come across it. Seriously beautiful stuff. If you haven’t been to Scotland, you need to make it your new bucket list destination. Just hire a camper van and head north. I can’t see how you could be disappointed.

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We continue along our way to Edinburgh, stopping regularly for another shot that I couldn’t have predicted to appear only moments ago, and they keep popping up. Shots of castles by lakes, sheep grazing among green rolling hills, tiny islands just sitting the middle of lakes. Literally, everywhere you look, there is something stunning to catch your attention.

Just as we are about to jump on the motorway, we spot a distillery, and we can’t morally go to the home of whiskey and not visit a distillery. I mean, we didn’t buy anything, and we just missed the last tour, but at least we did it.

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Feeling unfulfilled and no more intoxicated, we head for the motorway again. We again, pass through a mountain valley with all the mountains just dusted in snow. We are up pretty high, so much so, that you can still see the cloud cover covering the tips of the mountains. The snow occasionally spills onto the edge of the motorway.

But that isn’t the best bit.

As we are getting closer to Edinburgh, we are about 30km out, and the golden light really kicks in. Being that we are on the road, I’d largely given up on shooting a landscape with the stunning afternoon light. We begin crossing this bridge, and I look over to my right, and across the lake, is this utterly stunning scene.

It is truly truly beautiful.

The water is like glass, except for a few ducks paddling across the water. The Golden hues of the afternoon sun cast a gorgeous light among the forestry, and the clouds roll down the hillside, and nestle above the trees by the edge of the lake. Its amazing. Honestly one of the nicest scenes of the day.

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Bec and I swap, so I can jump out and take the photos I want.

She just drops me off on the bridge, and then comes back after doing a lap to pick me up on the other side.

Shot of the day, in hand, we head to Edinburgh. By the time we arrive, it is well and truly dark, but that doesn’t take away from the city’s beauty in any way. We had straight for the castle. Park just around the side, and walk to the top. Its really bloody amazing. This is the same place that they hold the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Pretty much any time we were around at Nan’s place, and it was on, we would be watching it.

No exceptions.

Having watched it that many times in my younger years, it was incredible to actually be standing where they make the actual performance. The castle itself is just a behemoth. Being that it is the capital of Scotland, I can understand why it pretty much has one of the most perfect positions for a stronghold you could conjure up.

Pretty much the only way you can get up there is directly up to the main gate, which, I could safely assume really isn’t the best strategy. Either that, or one-by-one, climb the cliff face that surrounds the castle. Either way, if you were attacking, you weren’t going to have a ripping day.

We head down past some film crew for the night and settle in.

Just as we are getting ready for bed, we hear a noise, and look over to see a fox rummaging around some rubbish.

A fox.

What the hell.

Come back tomorrow,

Billy

4 thoughts on “Scotland – The Highlands & The Toilet That Echoed Louder Than I Thought

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