Scotland 2006

From Wales to the Trossachs.

This is a picture record of a trip to Scotland. Large amounts of the holiday were devoted to meeting newly produced members of our extended family, and previously unknown distant family members. As a result, only a small fraction of the 334 pictures were eligible for this public gallery, and after (un)suitable weeding, a mere 91 were selected for inclusion here. A few more made it into a cycling trip record.

The pictures are largely from the journey to and from Scotland. The journey takes about 8 hours, assuming you stick to the speed limit (of course) and do not take any extended breaks. Not wishing to stop every 5 minutes for pictures (as anyone on our North Norway trip will remember), this means that most pictures were taken from a moving vehicle. Sadly, many pictures were obscured by other vehicles, had fences or verges or crashbarriers blocking the view, and some featured reflections and insect smears from the windscreen. If you are unable to accept these limitations, or are not a fan of mountains, then please try another gallery.

Scotland itself is like the Canada of Great Britain. It has a comparatively small population for its size, and the majority of the country is wilderness. It has a staggeringly high number of national parks and scenic areas, with about 25 in various parts of the country (although only two are considered a part of the UK-wide national park administration). Most of the parks cover mountainous regions, as Scotland also has more mountains than any other part of the UK. (And yes, we have a fairly low minimum height for a mountain - in Switzerland, they still call them hills when they are 10 times the size, but we have to do the best with what we have.)

In England, the tallest mountain is Scafell Pike at 978 metres. In Wales, there are 6 taller mountains, of which 4 are taller than 1000 metres, the tallest of which is the 1085 metre Yr Wyddfa summit of Snowdon. Scotland has 137 peaks over 1000 metres, of which 56 are taller than Snowdon, and the highest is Ben Nevis at 1344 metres (the tallest in the UK). Unfortunately for me, we were not heading for the Moutains, but we would get to see several of the ones in the southern part of the country.

The country itself is one of the three countries in Britain, and one of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom. It has its own parliament and legal system, and largely governs itself. It has its own language that is used by almost none of its inhabitants, as well as many of the strongest dialects of English. In many parts of the country, the dialect is so strong, that most of the words are not recognisable to other English speakers. It is famous for five major things;

Unfortunately for tourism, kilts (a pleated skirt with a tartan pattern, worn by men) are almost never used, except for special events. However, when they are used, they are proudly worn without underwear, irrespective of the temperature.
A sheep's stomach stuffed with its heart, liver, and lungs, mixed with oatmeal and suet. Oh yes, it's food. Most Scots now use regular meat and an artificial wrapping instead of the stomach.
And for what it's worth, the Irish have these too, only they use an arm mounted bellows to inflate it.
The Loch Ness Monster
Supposedly a surviving 100 million year old plesiosaur that lives in a lake in North Scotland (the series of lakes almost transects the country).
The caber toss
The most popular of the Highland Games, involving throwing a tree trunk so that it lands pointing in the right direction.

After several days of rain, this was the first chance for birds of prey to go hunting. In 5 days we saw 3 kestrels, 29 buzzards, and 3 peregrine falcons. One even did a nice stoop (dive) for us. Compare that with the one bird of prey (a sea eagle) I saw in 6 months in Norway. Sadly, my camera was too slow on all occasions. Now, on to the pictures.

The journey

Stirling and Falkland

Heading West