This guest post comes to us from University of Arkansas- Little Rock student, Reagan Martin who is currently studying abroad in Stirling, Scotland. You can read more about her journey abroad so far at http://reaganmartin.com/
World travel makes you modest. It shows you how truly small you are and how much there is to explore. Traveling captures your youth and your independence all in one. It pushes your boundaries and puts you in situations that you never dreamed you’d be in. Wandering across new countries reveals your emotions. It leaves you speechless, takes your breath away, and forces you to be humble. This experience has given me a sense of purpose, and I learn more about myself every day. There’s a certain strength I am gaining from this journey that I couldn’t get from anywhere else. I’ve never felt more empowered or thankful, and I kid you not, this is nothing less than the adventure of a lifetime.
Yesterday I traveled across the Highlands of Scotland to discover new glens, lochs, and whiskey. I witnessed beautiful things that will impact my life forever.
An Edinburgh Sunrise:
Our journey started early in the morning as we caught a train from Stirling to Edinburgh at 7:15 am. I was already trying new things at this point, with this being my first time on a train. It was completely dark for the majority of the ride, but we did get to watch the warm colors of the sun’s rising upon our arrival. Once I stepped off the train, I knew something was different. And sure enough, when we exited the train station, I entered the most beautiful city I have ever seen. I had seen photos of Edinburgh online before, but I was overwhelmed seeing it in person. Gorgeous is an understatement.
These photos don’t even capture the charm of Edinburgh. I wished we could have stayed longer, but we had a tour bus to catch. Luckily, I’ll be visiting Edinburgh again next weekend with API to further explore (blog post to come).
Our first stop of the day was to the city of Dunkeld. The main highlight here was the ancient cathedral, along with a short walk through the city.
After a ten minute drive from Dunkeld, we reached the Hermitage Trail. This is when we got our hiking boots muddy by trekking through the arboretum of the Hermitage Woods, seeing some of the tallest trees in Scotland! Along the trail, we also saw some aged bridges, and of course, the stunning Hermitage Waterfall.
We stopped for lunch in an adorable little town called Pitlochry. We didn’t have much time to explore the city or capture photos, but we did enjoy a delicious meal at Pasha Mediterranean Restaurant.
After lunch, we drove to Queen’s View – named after Queen Isabella, wife of King Robert the Bruce. The view here was absolutely spectacular and stretched for miles. Like I mentioned before, it is sites like these that make you realize how large the world really is and the hidden beauties that exist within it. It rained on us the entire time we were there, but luckily I still managed to get some good photos.
Our main stop on the itinerary was to Dewar’s Aberfeldy Whisky Distillery. We took a tour of the distillery and warehouse and did a tasting of multiple Scottish (and American) whiskeys. The first few we tasted were Dewar’s White Label, Dewar’s 12-year-old Blended Scotch, and Aberfeldy 12-year-old Malt Whisky.
When we visited the warehouse, we got to taste a 1988 Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whisky straight from the cask. It was nearly 60 percent alcohol content and had never been bottled. I also received a complimentary Dewar’s Distillery tasting glass!
Night on the Town:
On our way back to Edinburgh, we stopped at the Forth Rail Bridge. By the time we made it there, the sun was setting, and the view was just breathtaking.
What we didn’t know was that there was a very important rugby match going on between Scotland and Ireland that night. Therefore, finding a dinner destination that wasn’t overly crowded was quite the task. We ended up eating at Yo Sushi, a restaurant chain that serves your food from a sushi conveyor belt right to your table! It was a little pricey for the quality, but overall we had a pleasant experience. Afterward, we sat in the train station for half an hour while waiting for our train to arrive.