To Oban ft. Mountains & Jacobite Tales by Brenna Smith
We are excited to introduce our first guest blogger Brenna Smith. Brenna got inspiration to start her travel blog on our 5 Day Highland Fling tour last year. Since then she has even taken a trip to Norway with friends she had made through MacBackpackers. Currently, Brenna is planning a trip back to Scotland this winter. True Scotland addict!:) We can't wait to read about your next Scottish experiences, Brenna.
This post appeared first in Brenna's blog.
7/29/16 - To Oban ft. Mountains & Jacobite Tales
This morning I attempted to see the ruins of a nearby castle in Kyleakin, but a steady mist was falling and when yet another muddy path greeted me and my fellow backpacker we decided to turn around after a quick picture of the distant structure and head back to our hostel for breakfast.
Of course, our usual routine continues. After breakfast, we headed to catch the ferry from Skye to the mainland, a ride that was far shorter than our previous boating journeys and allowed us to sit up top since the weather was pleasant and sunny with *gasp* blue skies -yes, in Scotland. Just before we finished our crossing we managed to see dorsal fins on the horizon of some dolphins (yes dolphins exist along the Scottish coastline as do whales!)
With all the sunny weather our guide Michael thought we ought to visit one last beach, this with fine, white sand like the others and the additional surprise of an awesome rope swing which we took turns on. Across the shallow waters, we could see vibrant green hills in contrast with quaint white houses -more beautiful now that the sun was out to truly highlight it all.
Photo courtesy of Brenna Smith.
We continued on to view the mountains where Hogwarts was filmed in the Harry Potter films, following the Jacobite Railway (aka the Hogwarts Express). Also, in our view after a short climb was a monument to the Highland clans that had gathered to meet Bonnie Prince Charlie along the shores of the loch we looked out on.
Onward yet again to Fort William for a brief lunch where we sat in the sun at picnic tables enjoying the mountains and loch scenery and as we were leaving saw the Jacobite Express go by (again the Hogwarts Express for HP fans).
Arriving in Glencoe a little later we visited the highest peaks I have yet to see in Scotland, a treacherous, but magnificent landscape to which the clans of MacDonald fled after they were betrayed by government soldiers -many tragically died. We took in the amazing views and also stopped shortly in the visitors' center but Oban and our next hostel beckoned so we carried on, with only one brief stop at a coastline overlooking the ruins of yet another incredible castle.
Oban is the seafood capital of Europe, nestled in a little bay overlooking the sea it reminds me a lot of a larger seaside town along the Oregon coast, but with more charm. It’s weird to be in a large hostel again after the privacy of the Blackhouse and the accommodations in Kyleakin, but I am still in a room with members of my backpacking group.
A few of us opted for cheap, but authentic take-out seafood and walked down to watch the sunset on the harbor as we ate. After dinner, we walked around the town for a bit, before settling on a place to meet up with the rest of our group for drinks. Sadly tomorrow is our last night together, and with a day off tomorrow to do as we wish our group will most likely split for the day to explore and hopefully reunite for dinner and drinks later. Already I can tell how much I will miss these amazing people. Each and every one of them has made this 7-day tour an experience unlike any other for me and while I will continue on to a 5-day tour upon the conclusion of this one, I will be sad (to say the least) to say goodbye to my new friends.
I’ve had some revelations on this tour and while I remain in Scotland for 5 more days (of hopefully good weather and with new, cool people to meet) I can tell it will never be enough time, just as it was 3 years ago when I first visited. I’ve fallen completely in love with this country, from its beauty to its culture and its friendly inhabitants. My brain already begins to plot when I can return -maybe even for good. Never have I felt so completely drawn to a place. It’s the strangest feeling, but every molecule of me feels so at home here amongst the highlands and lochs and scattered towns.
Still, time left to enjoy and celebrate with my 7-day clan, and to soak up every bit of this place before I am forced to say farewell again. I am hopeful that I will stay in touch with my newly discovered international fam.
Photo courtesy of Brenna Smith.
Our 5 Day Highland Fling runs year around. Read more about our tours.
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