Travel Journal #4 — God Was Showing Off

Loch LomondHe really was. Our tour guide told us that “God was showing off when He made the Isle of Skye.” I came to realize the truth in that statement by the end of the trip. If I wasn’t in love with Scotland before this past weekend, I am now. I went on a weekend trip with Glasgow University’s International Society to the Isle of Skye, one of Scotland’s most beautiful destinations.
students having teaThe trip started with an early wakeup call. We met at the main gate of campus at 7:45 a.m. and were on the road by 8. At 9 o’clock, we stopped at Loch Lomond and Luss, and then really began traveling. We drove for a little while and passed into the Highlands. Our next stop, an hour and a half later, was Loch Tulla — a Loch that is said to be shaped like Scotland. Not only was it gorgeous, but there was a man playing the bagpipes. It was exactly how Scotland should feel, and I was already in awe of the beauty that was before me.
Our next stop was the amazing Glencoe, one of the most beautiful glens (or valleys) in Scotland. We saw the “Three Sisters”, a trio of mountains that are right beside each other — part of the Glencoe mountains. After that we visited the beautiful town of Fort William, the second largest town in the Highlands, where we ate lunch. After viewing the gorgeous Loch Linnhe that washes up on Fort William, we were on the road again to visit Eilean Donan Castle, the seat of the Clan Macrae.
That was our last stop before crossing the breath-taking Skye Bridge onto the Isle of Skye. We stayed in Broadford, the second largest town on the Isle of Skye, which isn’t saying much. There are a few shops, a food cooperative, and a hostel. Since the Isle of Skye is remote and in the Scottish Highlands, it’s very sparsely populated. We arrived at the hostel and were immediately taken by the amazing view from our front porch.
On Sunday morning, we went to Portree (the capital of Skye) for pictures and to catch up with the other group. From Portree we traveled to the Trotternish Peninsula, which is north of Skye. This houses the famous Old Man of Storr. After a 30-minute hike (which was well worth it), we reached the top of the mountain and were able to take some stunning photographs. I only slipped and fell once, but it was totally worth it to feel like I was on top of the world.village of Portree
The next stop was the Sligachan Bridge and river. It was a stunning view of a crystal clear river running through the rocks and mountains of the countryside. From this point, we ascended into the Cuillin mountains. Our next few stops were my absolute favorites. We stopped at the famous Kilt Rock, which showcases an amazing waterfall flowing 170 feet from Loch Mealt into the Sound of Raasay.
My absolute favorite stop was An Lethallt. It’s a stunning cliff that made me feel so small yet so alive. Looking out into the water, I fell in love with nature. I’ve never been outdoorsy or particularly liked being outside, but I was in awe and amazement of the beauty of nature and God’s creation. And I couldn’t get enough.
We took a lunch break in Portree, and explored the area. Even though the shops were closed because it was Sunday, we took in the town and walked around. After that we got back on the road and took a short break in Fort William, arriving back in Glasgow around 8:30 p.m.
All in all, it was one of my favorite weekends so far. I experienced so much of what Scotland has to offer. I loved the city but I loved the Highlands even more. I feel that I’ll be back at some point in my life. I’ll never forget my connection to Scotland and nature, knowing I’ll always carry it in my heart.
by Julie Springate ’14, currently participating in the Centre-in-Scotland study abroad program. Learn more about study abroad in Scotland.
PHOTOS (top to bottom): Early morning at Loch Lomond, the Cuillins Mountains with friends from Centre, and a beautiful view of the village of Portree.

By |2012-10-09T13:39:56-04:00October 9th, 2012|News, Study Abroad, Travel Journals - Scotland|