Following up from yesterdays top 5 things to see in Wales, I thought I should share the love with my whisky-loving friends further north. Scotland’s weather might keep a lot of the backpackers away, but those of us who make the extra effort get to experience a country full of history, amazing landscapes and grade A booze, something for everyone! Let check out 5 cracking things to do in Scotland:
1) Drum roll…. The Northern Lights. No need to go all the way to the north of scandanavia to check out aurora borealis, the north of Scotland can play host to them too. Your chances may not be as great as northern Norway but is is still possible to view the northern lights in Scotland, particularly around the Isle of Skye, the Northern Highlands and Dunnet Head. Your best chances of spotting aurora borealis lies between November and February. The helpful winds blowing in off the Atlantic can disperse any clouds and clear the skies for viewings at night. Check out Aurora watch UK, they’ll tell you if your lucks in on your trip.
2) Loch Ness Monster hunting: The world’s most famous monster was first spotted in 1871, so see if you can make the most recent sighting of ‘Nessie’. Head up to the Scottish highlands from Glasgow or from your Edinburgh cottages and get to Inverness and from there it’s easily accessible. There’s even a youth hostel for about $15 per night and endless highland Cottages to choose from, extending your chance to lay eyes on the Loch Ness Monste for an extra day or two. No photoshopping those pics though.
3) The World’s Oldest Golf Course: Scotland gave the world its first golf course at St Andrews so when you’re in the country you should pop on over and have a look. St Andrews town itself is a nice quaint, Scottish town which you could easily kill a couple of days in.
To play the course you need a handicap of 24 or under, and enter your name into the random daily draw for the following day. It then costs about $200 to pay the course. Ouch!
4) Attend the Highland games: Pure, unadulterated Scotland! The games run throughout the country all summer and consist of every stereotype imaginable with caber tossing, haggis tasting, throwing the hammer. The biggest event is at the Cowal Highland Gathering, and it’s held towards the end of August each year so if it’s size you’re after, that’s your destination.
5) Check out Scotland’s Viking Island – Unst: Wanna feel like you’re really traveling? I have just the token for you! Unst is Scotland’s most northerly island found at the top of the Shetland Islands, closer to Norway than England. You can get there without flying, with boats, buses etc it might take a while but it’s beautiful once you get there. There’s a very Nordic, Viking-esque feel to the place but English is very much still the first language. Think of it as a massive nature reserve with an added bonus of the local ‘Valhalla Brewery’!
So going on Scotland tours will uncover a few hidden gems here, I hope this has persuaded you guys to make the journey north next time you hit up the British isles. Happy travels!