I have mentioned several times in these posts that this was a family trip. Part of this was a visit to places about the MacDonalds, since that is our history. So I guess I should be excused for thinking that we were going to visit Glencoe for the history, to go and visit the site of the infamous Massacre of Glencoe. I assumed that was what the visitor center was all about.
Imagine my surprise when on our first travel day, after driving through some of the most beautiful mountains I have seen in my life, and I have seen many, that this was Glencoe.
We drove through Glencoe a total of three times. We didn’t get a chance to stop until the last time through. We spent some time, a little over an hour, at the visitor center and another 45 minutes or so at a scenic pull off that was crowded with people looking at the mountains.
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?
The next day after St. Mary’s Glacier, we headed north again but this time passed by Boulder and drove to the Rocky Mountain National Park. After a few stops, we did a hike up to Fern Falls. Although the round trip should have been short, the late hour of arrival made it so the round trip hike was over 8 miles/13 km. Continue reading →
I spent a few days in Colorado earlier this month. As I went through all of the photos, I decided I needed to divide them in half. OK, the photos really weren’t since the second half has more, but the days were. (part 2)
On our first full day we went to Boulder. Our first stop was at NCAR, a really high profile weather station. Besides looking around the exhibits, which are aimed more at children, we walked a bit outside.
We then went into town and shopped for a while. We then stopped at Chautuaqua Park for a short walk before heading back to the Denver area. Continue reading →