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    Posted August 7, 2014 by
    mapqueen
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    Bonny Scotland

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    Paradise in Scotland

     
    Last month, I was in England for 2 weeks and needed to go to Scotland for a business meeting. The meeting was only for a day, and it had been years since I'd been on a real vacation, so I rented a car and treated myself to a 3-day solo road trip of Scotland. I drove 1,100 miles in 72 hours!

    On Friday, I drove from Nuneaton, England, to St. Andrew's, Scotland, for my meeting. I very quickly determined that 1.) I was immensely blessed with perfect weather, and 2.) sunny Scotland in early spring is just about the most beautiful place I'd ever been in my life...and I've been to a lot of places! The best way to explain the weekend is to explain that I was immersed in green. Everything was green. And the air----the AIR was crisp and clean and just seemed to have more oxygen in it.

    After my meetings were done, I wanted to take my extra couple of vacation days to do two things---drive around the country, and take pictures wherever I could. On Saturday, I drove from St. Andrew's on the east coast all the way to West Kilbride on the west coast. It did rain that day, but when I woke up on Sunday, the sun was out again!

    For 10 years, I'd wanted to visit Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull because "Entrapment" was my favorite movie a decade ago, so I wanted to see Sean Connery's house from the film. I drove from West Kilbride up to Oban by way of Loch Lomond and Loch Lochy. I frequently stopped on the side of the road to get out and snap shots of the lakes and mountains. The perfect blend of clouds, sun, and hills were exactly what I'd been hoping for when I first determined I'd go on this trip. Once in Oban, I parked the car and bought a pedestrian ferry ticket to Craignure on the Isle of Mull.

    The ferry ride was 45 minutes, and I think I took pictures for the full journey. Sailboats, emerald isles, lighthouses, and then, as you approach the Isle of Mull, Duart Castle looming ominously on the tip of the island.

    I got off the ferry and hopped on the bus to Duart Castle. Once there, I spent a couple of hours on the property. The castle itself was spooky and musty, but the roofwalk at the top was such a highlight--you could see the mountains of Mull and the channels separating the Hebrides islands. So many people were taking advantage of the sun and wind that there were beautiful sailboats floating by as I sat in the grass beneath the castle and ate a snack. The trails below the castle were breathtaking, and I couldn't take enough photos. My favorite photo is the second one in the slideshow above--the sailboat, the clouds, the castle, the green fields---PERFECTION.

    I took the ferry back to Oban, hopped in the car, and decided to go back to West Kilbride a different way. That was a great decision, because I happened upon the famous valley, Glen Coe. I'd been there 10 years ago, but it had been winter, freezing cold, and I didn't even stop to take a picture back then. But this day, I spent a couple of hours stopping and going through the glen...climbing hillsides, capturing waterfalls, breathing in the fresh air. 'Spectacular' is the best word used to describe it.

    I made my way back down past Loch Lomond after that, spent the night in West Kilbride, and got up early the next morning for the 8 hour journey back to Nuneaton, England. They were some of the best 3 days of my life---I was so blessed by the people, the weather, the scenery, the nature, and the pure perfection of Scotland in early June.
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