Our first stop in the U.K. was to the Scottish Lowlands. We stayed with family at a house-sit in the countryside about a half-hour outside of the city. I haven’t decided if house-sitting is my cup-of-tea or not, but anyone can do it and it is perfect for long-term travelers who need a cheap place to stay (how does FREE sound!?) Read more about how to do it HERE.
Konnor got to feed chickens, brush a Clydesdale named Apollo and a Highlands pony named Blue. To this day, Konnor still calls all horses Apollo.
We took a train into the city where we walked around the historic district and hiked up to a gorgeous lookout spot called Arthur’s Seat. I assumed the name must have something to do with the legendary story of King Arthur, but nobody is certain how the hill got its name. There are many legends including one that claims the rock is actually a sleeping dragon.
What I can tell you with certainty is that the hill was formed by an ancient volcano and it is a MUST DO if you want a beautiful hike to sweeping views of the city of Edinburgh.
Things to know before you go:
- It is a HIKE. You need good shoes, strong legs and a bottle of water
- There are multiple ways up. We chose the path less traveled. It is more strenuous, but worth it for incredible views and moments of solitude.
- It is crowded. We were there during the shoulder season and it was PACKED at the top of Arthur’s seat. Be prepared for crowds and randos in the background of your selfies.
- If you plan to picnic, do it on the way up or down. There isn’t ample space or solitude at the top.
Edinburgh is also the location where we first tried Haggis, a traditional Scottish dish, but I’ll post more about that later.
The Scottish lowlands may not have the grandeur of the majestic Highlands of the north, but they are beautiful in their own right. Country roads are narrow and winding. In April, the pastures are filled with sheep caring for their lambs.
There are bright yellow flowers everywhere. Daffodils dot gardens and road shoulders. Prickly Gorse flowers coat the landscape. If I had to describe the Scottish Spring with just one color, it would be yellow.
Further north, in the Highlands, Spring had not fully arrived and the landscape lacked the vibrancy of the Lowlands.
We learned that Scottish geography and history are intertwined. The mountains aren’t the only thing that separates the Highlands from the Lowlands. The two regions were at odds for Centuries. We visited a castle that taught us about a bloody history. To be continued in another post…