Scotland Trip 2022 Part 3: Highlands: Hills and Villages

At the end of one of our first days of the Scotland adventure, I was talking to my brother and nephew about the landscape. One of us said, “I was thinking, perhaps I’m not attracted to this landscape because I love mountains so much, but I love mountains so much because of this landscape. It’s in my blood, in my genes.” We all nodded. Each of us had had that very thought, that the reason we are as we are is that our ancestors lived in this landscape until only 250 years ago, a blink in the 5000 years since agriculture made its way to these shores.

Could it be that those few drops of Highland blood in my veins still called me “home”?

Riding out of Edinburgh we crossed a lot of countryside full of golden grain fields. It was pretty. From the Stirling Castle we could see the northern hills, which were nice. But then, a bit past Callander (we didn’t stop on the way out, but did on the way back a week later), something changed. There were these beautiful hills surrounding a body of water, Loch Lubnaig.

OK, at this point the hills weren’t as impressive as those a ten minute drive from my New Hampshire home, and in 20 minutes I can have water views that are similar.

And yet there was something special here. Everyone was glued to the windows, oohing and aahhing.

And then there was another turn, and the mountains became a little rougher with few trees.

And I was home.

A little later we passed through Glencoe, and wow! And then to Fort William, with water and mountains, including Ben Nevis (sorry, no good pictures of this tallest of mountains).

And more coastal Highland driving to Mallaig. I was ready to move in!

Part of the appeal was how few and far between the signs of Man were (not including the road). And then some castles as rugged as the landscape.

Of course my ancestors would more likely live in something simpler than a castle…

Our visit to the Highland Folk Museum was great. I enjoyed seeing how my ancestors 250 or 300 years ago lived. It was not a life of luxury! But most life would be lived outside, not in the dark, cramped, smoke-filled buildings. Everything that needed light, all of the crafts, would need to be outside. Is that why I would much, much rather be outside than in?

We saw some of these same types of buildings on Skye and at Glencoe. There were differences, but one could easily get the idea.

Of course the Highlands wasn’t all hills and glen, mountain and moorland. Nor even primitive village and crumbling castle. There are, of course, towns and even cities, such as Inverness, that are in the Highlands.

Yes, there are, but my heart still sings for the open spaces.

… A few quick notes – We did get a little hiking in, the longest being from the hotel in Tyndrum, but I do need to get back for long, all day hikes! And there were a lot of ugly, mono-culture tree farms, but there was also some great, magical, old forests.

Below are some general pictures taken in the Highlands of Scotland, but minus a few of the specific areas that I will focus on later, like Glencoe. You can click on a photo to bring it up full size and from there scroll through them.

I hope you enjoyed this little taste of the Highlands! This is the third part of the adventure that started here.

33 thoughts on “Scotland Trip 2022 Part 3: Highlands: Hills and Villages

  1. Pingback: time for other play – Touring My Backyard

  2. Ju-Lyn

    All your images and reflections sing to my soul!
    Loving Husband & I travelled to Scotland (particularly the Highlands) quite a few times when we were young adults. We don’t have any connection at all to the land but it really spoke to us. It always felt like a homecoming whenever we visited.
    We have always wanted to bring our children here when they were older (have not done it yet), and also to walk the West Highland Way (on our bucket list).

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Maybe it is just the beauty of the land that speaks to me, but the Romantic in me likes to think there is a deeper connection… The Highlands are gorgeous and I can understand how coming back to them would feel like a homecoming, no matter were your ancestors are from. I hope you are able to make it back soon!

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  3. Shannon

    More amazing pictures! 😍 You know, it’s funny, but for some reason when I think of Scottish mountains and NH ones, it’s like thinking about totally different things. When I was in Scotland everything was this unreal shade of green – hard to believe there were mountains of stone under it!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      The mountains in NH and Scotland were formed at about the same time in pretty close to the same place, but their history over the last 400 million years or so have created totally different things! Part is how steep and jagged the Scottish mountains are (Franconia Ridge is very steep and jagged, but feels different) and, as you said, the other-worldly green. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the photos!

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  4. Teresa Hurray

    Love the scenery pics so much it made me squirm!
    I still say Scotland is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. There IS an odd feeling that wraps around you when you see these places—a whispering history that envelopes you like the arms of an old beloved ancestor. The emotions that this sight evokes can move you to unexpected and unexplained tears. I would love to go back some day. I get a similar experience in the Great Smokies, most likely from the other side of my ancestry.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      You are right, most people think Scotland is gorgeous, ancestors or not, but I do like to think that there is that special bond… And I am sure you have a similar type bond with the Great Smokies. I have felt strong attractions to other places, but I don’t know if any were as strong as Scotland. Thanks for stopping by, Teresa! Did you see my other two Scotland posts in this series? I plan on three or four more.

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  5. Pingback: Scotland Trip 2022 Part 1: Overview | Trent's World (the Blog)

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