What a day. We packed a lot in today, seeing much of the west coast of West Mainland.
From the sea stacks at Yesnaby, to the Neolithic settlement at Skara Brae; from the high sea cliffs at Marwick Head, with puffins perched on ledges and gannets diving like spears into the sea, to the tidal island that is the Brough of Birsay, where old Norse settlements lie at the end of a causeway passable from the mainland only at low tide.
The weather today was great. I got a good soaking in the morning as we hiked to the sea stacks — I had left my raincoat in the car — but that was pretty much it precipitation today. We had quite a few sunny spells, too, which really brought out the vibrant hues of the island’s coastline.
Thanks to our visit to the Brough of Birsay, which required waiting until this evening’s low tide, we didn’t return to the hotel until after sunset. The children are knackered, but had a fantastic day. I’ve scarcely heard a word of whinging out of either of them all day.
The whole family loves Scotland. In Sarah and me, the dramatic scenery and abundance of sea birds have reawakened memories of previous trips to Iceland and our 2004 trip to the Faroe Islands, giving us a renewed sense of appreciation for everything we saw and did on those remote North Atlantic islands. It’s high time we returned.
We’re already talking about the various school holidays next year and where we should go. I had become a bit jaded to travel, especially after our washed-out Italian jaunt in May, but Scotland has rekindled the flames in this traveller’s heart. I could never tired of a country this beautiful.
We should have come here years ago. I’ve always known Scotland was beautiful. I’ve seen books, documentaries, nature programmes, films, etc. and knew that the land was beautiful. Somehow, I still didn’t know quite how spectacularly stunning this country is. And it’s not just the land, of course. The people have been incredibly friendly and nice, the food is great, we speak the language (so we can read newspapers, listen to the radio, etc.), it’s not overcrowded, it’s not too hot (it’s not even warm!), etc.
This is definitely one of the best trips we’ve ever done.