I was very lucky to have one of my best friends, B, come to visit me for three weeks. After months of planning and anticipation, we were finally together and able to begin our Northern exploration. Our itinerary was rushed – 3 days, 2 nights for a whirlwind tour of Inverness and St Andrews.
Inverness is about 4 hours north of Edinburgh by bus or train, and is most sought by tourists for its proximity to the infamous Loch Ness. Of course, B and I decided we would be the ones to FINALLY discover the truth behind the mystery of the Loch Ness monster. Previous explorers were clearly not up to our intellectual level, which lead to their inevitable failure. We, however, would be the ones to find Nessie.
When we arrived at Loch Ness, I was pleasantly surprised that (other than the castle) it looked very much like my home on Vancouver Island in Canada. Strange.
The main tourist attraction at the Loch, other than Nessie spotting, is Urquhart Castle.
After spending a few hours at Urquhart, B and I sat down on the beach for a snack, and a dejected last effort to spot the monster of the Loch.
Back in Inverness, I was determined to have a look around before the sun set and we were hostel-bound til morning and departure for St Andrews.
Inverness was surprisingly stunning. I had no idea what to expect of this city in the north, but I would love to go back there one day to see what else this wee beauty has to offer.
After a suffocating sleep in a room shared with four men who had clearly won and decided to use a lifetime supply of axe (lynx) body spray, B and I woke to a beautiful day, and our impending train ride to St Andrews. I must say, this train journey held the most spectacular highland scenery. B concluded that Hogwarts could easily be hidden somewhere in these remote hills, and that we should probably go looking for it.
I decided that this would probably not be a stellar idea since Hogwarts has muggle-repelling charms placed on it, our search would be for nought.
When we finally arrived in St Andrews, I was reminded of all the reasons I fell in love with Scotland in the first place.
Scottish people make fun of St Andrews for being too English, since the University draws a lot of posh students, and the reputation of the golf courses draw a lot of, well, those kind of people. Golfers. But these are not the things that make St Andrews special to me. It is seriously an amazing place. Between the sea, the cathedral and castle ruins, the long-running beach and the accessibility of the whole town by foot, it is the perfect specimen of British-seaside-village.
I was delighted that I largely remembered how to get around, my last time there having been nine years ago, and I even recognized the building I had stayed in!
B also loved St Andrews, being an avid fan of the Royals, especially Will and Kate.
We took a long walk down the beach, famously featured in Chariots of Fire. We did not run.
I was disappointed that we had to leave so quickly, but we’ve made each other a promise that, when we are rich of course, we will come back to Britain and rent a car so that we can create our own schedule.