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Perhaps my favorite day spent in Scotland (no…DEFINITELY my favorite day) was the day we spent touring the West Highland Lochs, Mountains and Castles with Timberbush Tour Company. If you want to really see the beauty in any country you’re visiting, I believe, you’ve got to make your way to the countryside- you can’t just stay in the city- so that’s what we did.
We left the guesthouse just after 8 AM to head to Edinburgh’s city center where the tour would start. It was cold (nearly zero degrees or lower, I think) and I needed more coffee, but the excitement for the day ahead fueled me. Castles were waiting, after all.
We were greeted and checked in my Stuart, a Scotsman from Glasgow, who would be our guide for the day. He was like a ray of sunshine- and early in the morning, that’s meaningful in my book. Stuart quickly became my all-time favorite tour guide (and that’s looking back on all 35 countries I’ve visited the last 2.5 years).
We boarded the mini-bus full of people from all around the world (it felt like the United Nations in there) and everyone shared their excitement for the day ahead.
Stuart started the engine and immediately drove us out of the city, whistling all the while, as he drove onto the freeway. I sat in the front so I could video and take notes as we drove. Within less than 10 minutes it felt like we were hours outside the city, and the views started getting more impressive.
Stuart played traditional Scottish music when he wasn’t educating us on a piece of culture or history that we were passing or stopping for. I actually learned quite a bit- and, to be honest, I usually have a hard time paying full attention during tours like this- as he was able to keep us engaged and entertained.
“Did you know, Heather, that Scotland produces the world’s majority of Heather? See that plant there we’re passing? There are hundreds of them along the roads, just look!”
I had no idea about the Heather plants coming from Scotland. Or that my name could also be considered Scottish. Everyday’s a school day. (Thanks Stuart!)
Our first stop: Doune Castle
Rare Sighting: Highland Cattle
Highland Cattle are so cute, they make a strong case for vegetarianism. Is this not the most beautiful cow you’ve ever seen?!
I know what you’re thinking: Okay, thanks for the cattle pics. Now, more castles, please! DONE. See below!
There are so many castles in Scotland, I asked Stuart if they AirBnb them out. “I don’t think so, but that would be nice,” he said as he laughed at me. I was serious. I want to stay the night in one of these beauts!
Endless Majestic Mountains
The snow made everything look even more magical.
“The Land of Thirty Thousand Lochs”
Did you know there are over 30,000 lochs, in Scotland? Me either. (Thanks again Stuart!) With each loch as picturesque as this one below, how could anyone not fall in love with this country?
“Lochs,” meaning “lakes,” are plentiful in Scotland and absolutely breathtaking to witness. While I was complaining about being freezing cold, I would not have had it any other way because we got to see lochs nestled under snowcapped hills and mountains, and that was something on another level of beauty.
Peace, Love and Lochs
I grew up around lakes, back home in Northern California, but they don’t even come remotely close to the ones we saw in Scotland…sorry NorCal.
The tour lasted about 9 hours, and by the end we were exhausted in the best way. I felt full of inspiration at the end of the day, having seen and experiences so much in such a short period of time.
I went to bed that night dreaming of cuddling one of the cute cows in a castle of my very own. Call me crazy, I don’t care. I had a great time!
Timberbush was wonderful and took such good care of us. I’d recommend them to anyone and everyone visiting Scotland. If I were to do it all again, I’d book a three day tour, however, as there seemed to be SO much more to see. All the more reason to go back, I know…
See you again (hopefully) soon Scotland and Timberbush!
You can book a tour with Timberbush by visiting their site, here.