Travel in September had not been a possibility for me since I was five years old. I have been in school as a student or a teacher for 50 years. (In the justice system, that would make me a lifer, wouldn’t it?)
So on this very first September of my retirement, I decided to celebrate by going on a trip. My husband and I found pet sitters for our various animals and ventured off to Scotland.
It was an amazing vacation! We spent time on the isle of Arran, the isle of Skye and in the highlands.
The weather tended to be changeable. One B&B hostess told us, “You get all four seasons in Scotland – sometimes in the same day.” We certainly found this to be true. On a couple of days, we had rain, cloudy periods, sunshine and hail.
The weather didn’t stop us from doing the things we wanted to do though, and for the most part, the rain co-operated and we stayed dry.
We found the folks to be very friendly and accommodating and I loved listening to the Scottish burr.
We visited stone circles and hiked to great waterfalls. We explored castles and viaducts. We visited a reindeer herd and hand-fed them. We sat by Loch Ness, and I did see something rise to the surface and dive again! We saw jaw-dropping scenery – mountains and coastal cliffs. They were rugged and magnificent.
Mackrie Moor stone circles, Arran
Urquart Castle, Loch Ness
Duncansby Head, Highlands
Kilt Rock Falls, Skye
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Highlands (Harry Potter fans might recognize this!)
Feeding reindeer, Cairngorm Mountains
I went pony trekking. I galloped on a Firth of Moray beach and rode by a fairytale castle.
On the way home, we had a 24 hour stopover in Iceland. It is a wild and beautiful country. I went pony trekking again and enjoyed tolting on the marshes, surrounded by craggy mountains and hot water spring fed rivers.
We took a drive around the southwest coast. Waves crashed against craigy shorelines. We drove through huge lava fields that resembled moonscapes. Steam rose out of the ground in places. We saw herds of Icelandic horses and flocks of Icelandic sheep.
meeting Fleygur – “Flying Horse”
Bridge between the Continents
We walked across the Bridge between the Continents. The fault line between the North American tectonic plate and the European plate crosses Iceland, and in one place along the rift, they built a bridge. The rift is separating at the rate of about 2 cm a year.
This was definitely an unforgetable celebration!