The Travel Edit: A Wanderlust Tour of Scotland

Photo credit: Argyll Cruising

Scotland. My homeland. My passion. My soul. The beautiful country that I was lucky enough to be born in.



I grew up on the east coast. Fife, St Andrews to be precise - which many of you know. I've lived on opposite ends of Scotland, and there is not a part that hasn't blown me away.

It's easy to be overwhelmed by the vast landscape, most whom visit may only just see the likes of Edinburgh, Glasgow and maybe Dundee. And while they are beautiful cities, there are many, many more sites to see from this ambrosial country.

For starters not all of which you see in Braveheart is true. However, the award-winning tv show Outlander, a semi-fictional story about Scotland's tumultuous history, is, in fact, more historically accurate. And actually filmed in Scotland. But I'll elaborate on that later.

So let me take you on a whistle-stop tour of my sanctum homeland, featuring some old favorites and some quiet retreats thrown in for good measure.

It's a trail for the curious and wanderlust amongst us, and I just can't wait to get started.

Fort William

Known by many as a gateway to Ben Nevis, Fort William boasts abundant historical magnetism due to its bloody battles and its famous locomotive, The Jacobite. 

The Jacobite train journey is not your standard Scotrail expedition. Not because it actually turns up on time, but because it is described as one of the greatest railway journeys in the world. 

From a starting destination in central Fort William, the picturesque journey takes you to some of the most resplendent places in Scotland.

The most famous being the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which to you and me, is the iconic 'Harry Potter' bridge. 

Which, as a former passenger of the train, I can confirm is one of the single most exciting yet breathtaking experiences of my life. 


From there the train takes you to Mallaig, with a few more locations on the way. Mallaig, a port in Lochaber, is a beautiful little sea-town right at the edge of the Highland West Coast. Equal parts quirky and rustic, it warms you with its welcoming and hearty locals, making it a place you will never forget. 

Culloden 

Made famous most recently from the hit series, Outlander, Culloden, near Inverness, is one of the most famous, yet under the radar towns in Scotland. 

Before the battle of Culloden, which you may have learned in history class, the town was one of the home grounds for the aforementioned Jacobites. 

A culturally rich landscape with family clans aplenty, they suffered a devastating battle which almost wiped out the Jacobites army - led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, entirely after being slaughtered in their thousands by the Duke of Cumberland's army, familiarly known as 'The Red Coats', to condemn the Scots to a bleak demise. 

Which you would have probably known since its the main plotline in Outlander. And also Jamie Fraser (played by none other than Scottish heartthrob, Sam Hughan) is a reason alone to watch the show. 



Since the success of Outlander, the little town has been inundated with fans desperate to see the iconic scenes from the show which they have now created designated tours for. With no promise of seeing Jamie Fraser, but full of promise when it comes to exciting and eerie landscapes and historical anecdotes aplenty, it delivers a unique history lesson on one of the most famous and bloody battlegrounds Scotland has ever seen. 

But it's not all doom and gloom, Culloden is, of course, near famous hotspots such as Inverness, Narin, and my personal favorite, Brodie Castle. It also is near the infamous Cawdor Castle which the thespians amongst us will tell you is the setting for Shakespeare's, Macbeth, which is, of course, one of his more, ahem, cheery plays. 

Iona

Being my favourite destination in Scotland, Iona is full of history as it is the birthplace of Scotland's first ever king, Kenneth MacAlpin in 810 AD.

Known as a devotional pilgrimage for many, Iona boasts an idyllic landscape on one of the most peaceful islands in the world.



Iona is only 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, but despite its tiny size, it is superfluous in culture and religion, due to the moniker associated with the island, 'The cradle of Christianity" after St Columba arrived from Ireland. Establishing the monastic community by building the first Celtic church in the world, it brought structured religion to Scotland, and with it an influx of pilgrims aiming to retrace the steps of the beloved saint.

However, it is not only those with a religious acumen that visit the island. Over 130,000 people visit the little island every year in hopes to restore inner peace on their journey to pacification.

It is the original, 'Eat, Pray, Love' destination for the soul, and I speak from experience when I say that it's an island that you will 'find yourself' in and lose yourself all over again in its atmosphere, which is one of the most magical experiences in anyone's life.

All in all, Scotland is full of little towns and islands for you to truly frame your visit. Scotland is more than its shopping destinations and castles on hills. It's one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I'm proud to call it my home.

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