I have lived in Aberdeen for four almost four years now, and I am now just coming to the end of my time at university here. I can remember so clearly first sitting with my Lonely Planet Scotland book, months before first came, and looking at all of the potential for adventure hidden between the pages. One adventure, or several really, that I have been lucky enough to embark on are visits to a few of Scotland’s beautiful, historical and rugged islands, something that has just left me wanting to see more…Iona…Arran…Islay…here I come!!
So, grab your scarf and your woolly hat (they tend to be a bit blowy) and I’ll show you some of the magical places we visited last summer…
Tiree is about a four hour ferry journey from Oban. It is ten miles long and five miles wide, and is desolate and beautiful. I am told it is one of the sunniest places in Britain, however it is also very windy and know for it’s great windsurfing. We drove straight of the boat into the nothingness and tranquility, and stayed our three nights in the cutest little traditional black and white crofters cottage.
Lewis is the largest island in the Outer Hebrides covering about 683 square miles, it is also home to the largest settlement in the Western Isles, Stornoway. We only visited Stornoway once for provisions, spending most of our time exploring the diverse landscape and travelling along the deserted, sweeping roads and trying not to be blown away in the little wooden wigwam we were staying in. Two golden eagles even came out to play for us!!
Harris is attached to Lewis, and is MUCH more mountainous, meaning fewer inhabited areas, it is also home to the sought after Harris Tweed. It has some of the most breathtaking, sweeping beaches I have ever seen and makes for some very exciting driving!
Friday was our last night in Bristol. We were there for ten weeks, doing some good for our CVs, pretending to be grown-ups, and failing drastically (cue the yellow car game). If you’ve read my blog from the very beginning you’ve not only made me very excited each time I look at my stats, but you’ll also remember that my rule for the summer was ten weeks, ten new places. Sunday was our designated day trip day, I think I’ve probably driven Dom crazy pulling him out of bed on a lie-in day to jump in the car and head off to the next place we’d found in my guidebook! Luckily he’d always let me off when we got there – the South West really does have some beautiful places to visit.
1. Obviously our first new place was Bristol itself. I found it absolutely huge to begin with, and a real proper city with y’know, city people and city cars, and I wasn’t sure I liked it very much. It has still got some work to do, but Gromit certainly helped show me around and the coffee shops are THE best!
Do you like our fan set-up? I don’t know if it’s because we usually live in Aberdeen, but it was very warm!!
2. On our first weekend we went to Weston-Super-Mare, actually we drove straight through it until we found a lovely beach to walk along and then went back for chips later!
3. My favourite day of the whole summer was our trip to Lyme Regis. It was idyllic. We pootled around the town, walked along the beach and lolled in the sun. Take me back?
4. Cribbs Causeway is a shopping centre just off the motorway outside Bristol. It is massive and there are lots of shops. We went to the cinema there one night and had a little mooch round John Lewis for good measure (really, it would be rude not to). I didn’t take any pictures, so just think big, grey, shoppy and lots of car parking spaces!
5. Wells is the smallest city in England, and lovely it is too. It is home to a beautiful cathedral and palace, and as we sat in the gardens we were lucky enough to hear the choir practice for Sunday service.
We ate our picnic by the moat and then took a wander down Vicars close – the very last picture – it’s the oldest purely residential street in Europe, people have been living there for over 700 years. They were originally built for the Bishop’s chantry priests, but now you can go and stay in number 14!
6. The strawberry trail led the way to Cheddar Gorge, I bought the biggest strawberries you have ever seen just a few metres from where they grew. They were delicious! Once we reached Cheddar, Dom bought his cave matured (really just because it was cave matured!) cheddar and we found another Gromit. The scenery was pretty great too…
7. When Mummy and Daddy P came to visit we took mabel (can you spot her? She’s blue and beautiful…) on a day tour of the South West. We visited the charming village of Chipping Sodbury and the non existent castle of Thornbury – turns out it’s a hotel these days.
Anyone know the right way to go?? No…well at least the sandwiches have our names on…
8. So this one might be cheating a wee bit…but, have you ever been to a balloon fiesta? It was a new event in a new place just out of the city, and quite spectacular.
9. One Tuesday, I put on my boat/anchor/cloud dress and went on my very own adventure to Cheltenham. There were lovely parks, cutie shops and I bought myself some glass Tupperware with flowers on. It’s very nice :)
10. I really liked Bath, Jane Austen had good taste. We peeped over the wall into the baths and then went on an adventure to find the ‘famous round houses’ – we drove around the crescent (which I don’t think you’re supposed to do…) and watched a butler let guests into one of the houses. It was all very proper.
A few thousand miles later (we’ve even been to Aberdeen and back!), Anna, Dom and the little black clio packed up to drive home. But first, we sat on the outside sofas of an Italian restaurant I walked past every day and ate pizza… well pizza garlic bread to start with and then pasta. It was really good!
Thanks for spending the summer with us and listening to me babble on. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our adventures, why don’t you tell me some of yours?
Next stop, Aberdeen. See you there!