There honestly aren’t any words to describe just how ecstatic I was to go back to Scotland.
I first visited the home of ‘Nessie in 2012 and quickly fell head over heels in love. I can still remember getting into Edinburgh and stepping off of the airport shuttle and feeling an overwhelming sense of home – something that I’d never really felt in my actual home. I felt as if this was where I belonged, like this was where I was meant to be. I quickly proclaimed Scotland to be one of my favourite countries in the world, and now, many years (and many new countries) later, it is still one of my most absolute loves.
So, when Dan interrupted my planning of our big trip to proclaim that he didn’t want to spend the entire four months in Africa, I was initially disappointed, but that disappointment quickly faded when I realised that it would give me the opportunity to return to Scotland for the fifth time.
I was to return to the land of lads, lasses, whisky, bagpipes, tartan, ceilidh, deep fried pizzas and a certain red-headed Jamie Fraser (or so a gal can dream) – and I could not have been happier.
We landed into Edinburgh in the early hours of the morning after a long three days of travel from the Comoros. We had one day to spend in Edinburgh before setting out on a road trip to the Highlands, but rather than explore, we had errands to run.
After spending two months in Africa, we desperately needed to replace our summer clothes with some that would be more suited to the cool Scottish climate. The day was devoted to drinking coffee, eating avocado on toast (I’d missed it so much) and hitting up the High Street.
We had an early night and rose as early as possible to start our road trip.
We were to end the day in Aberdeen, but of course, we made a few stops along the way.
The Fife Coastal Route is chronically under-appreciated, and it was such a wonderful surprise. By chance, we came across a lovely coastal walk out to a tiny ruin on a rocky outcrop.
We stopped for fish and chips – a staple in every Scottish diet, marvelled at the coastline and eventually stumbled across Kingsbarns Distillery.
When I say stumbled, I mean it! We noticed signs pointing to a distillery whilst heading towards St. Andrews and decided that we should pull in and sample a wee dram!
Now, I have loved whisky since my first ever visit to Scotland, but this was the first time Dan had ever tried drinking a good single malt, and it was also certainly his first time drinking it without some kind of a mixer…
He wasn’t exactly a fan!
I must admit though, it took me a while to learn how to appreciate whisky – it is much more of an acquired taste – however, even though his taste buds weren’t exactly singing with joy, we both still enjoyed the tour of the distillery and would highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves road tripping through Fife.
From Kingsbarns, we set course for the seemingly sleepy but devastatingly underrated student town of St. Andrews. We didn’t plan to stay long, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop at the St. Andrews cathedral and marvel at an amazing example of 12th century Scottish ruins.
Built in 1158, this cathedral became the centre of Medieval Catholic practises in Scotland for many centuries. It fell into disrepair and ruin sometime in the 16th century due to the Scottish reformation which outlawed Catholic mass. The ruins indicate that the building was around 119m long, making it the largest church to have ever been built in Scotland.
Entrance to this cathedral is free, and it is certainly a wonderful place to stretch your legs and break up a long day of driving.
After we had seen all that the ruins had to offer, it was time to get back on the road and make our way to Aberdeen. By the time we arrived into the city the sun had well and truly gone to bed, so after treating ourselves to an enormous dinner, we decided to follow suit.
We were to spend the next few days exploring the beauty of Aberdeenshire and surrounds.
Getting to Edinburgh: One of Scotlands largest air and rail hubs – you’ll have lots of options
Aberdeen Youth Hostel: This is a well located backpackers, dorm beds start at £15 per night, click here to learn more
Vehicle Hire: We hired a car through Budget with no issues, which seemed to be the most affordable option
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: If you haven’t tried a deep fried pizza in a Scottish fish and chip shop at 3am, you haven’t lived!