The Travels V – Tak’ The High Rood

One thing I remember Geraldine telling me before I left was the need for me to visit the Scottish Highlands while I was there. I took this to heart and definitely made space in my mind for a day of highland driving. The Friday was this day. Laura planned a route, we jumped into the car and off we went. We were to start in Edinburgh, drive to Perth, then Dundee, then St Andrews and then stop off at Kirkaldy on our way back to Edinburgh.

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Seeing as we only had a day to drive, we didn’t really get out into the highlands proper. The drive from Edinburgh to Perth was punctuated with hills and mountains but after Dundee, we chose to take a more coastal route and we certainly didn’t regret it.

Our sat-nav kindly told us how to avoid a toll road and so we took a detour through Stirling. Espying a sign for Stirling Castle we had another moment of “Ooooh a castle! You want to see it?” “Hell yeah!” and so I reached across to our little sat-nav while driving and attempted to tell it to take us to the castle. This is no mean feat when you’re bombing along at 70mph. The problem was, the sat-nav was utterly wrong. With the castle on our left up a hill, it told us to drive up the hill. The one place without any road or path. Mind you, the signposts weren’t much better as they sent us into the city centre, away from the castle. A little perplexed and frustrated we drove back onto the motorway once more, the castle on our right this time. Ah well, at least we saw it, even if it was from a way away.

Perth was a brilliant little town. Apparently, Perth is one of only three towns in the UK to have been downgraded from a city. Ouch. All this aside, it was a lovely place. The sun was shining and birds were singing when we stopped for some food. Next we went shopping in a some small shops for random bits and bobs. All in all, we enjoyed Perth and I know that I’d definitely return given half a chance.

Dundee however was a bit of a dive. It was raining and grey and there was lots of concrete. We wandered round in a circle trying to find an old boat, getting soaked in the process. We saw it. Laura took a picture. We returned to the car and drove off as quick as possible. Dundee was a fail.

It quickly brightened up on our way to St Andrew’s though. The roads also became narrower and more windy – FUN! Ok yeah, I confess, I broke the speed limit and had a little, oh alright, a lot of fun. It was so totally worth it. If you’re at all into driving fast and you love corners and bendy roads then come to St Andrew’s. It’s beautiful and all the roads around it are a driving enthusiast’s heaven.

I’d never heard about St Andrew’s before. I vaguely knew that there was a university there but that was about it. Oh. My. Actual. Word. This place has the ruins of the 12th Century cathedral which leads down to the sea front. It was sunny again and it was simply breathtaking. I decided that if I ever move anywhere in Scotland and I can’t get a place in Edinburgh then St Andrews will be the place I choose. Walking along a little stone pier, the wind was blowing and it was making a strange kind of music by whistling through the hollow hand rails. It was slow and quite relaxing, it reminded me of whale song and it suited my mood perfectly.

Leaving the beautiful little place, we took the Fife tourist coastal road (from letters E to F on the map) and it was perfect. Sun, sea, coast, grass, hills, drystone walls – I love this country. St Andrew’s is the place where golf was invented and so we stopped off at a golf course just outside the town which was essentially on a beach. Sheer bliss.

Annoyingly, I had got into the habit of leaving my camera in the car for this day trip so I’m afraid I don’t have any photos to show you. Laura has quite a few so I’m sure I can steal some from her and post them here at a later date.

Our final stop before arriving back in Edinburgh was Kirkaldy. We stopped, we walked around, we left. Kirckaldy was also a fail, but we didn’t care – St Andrew’s had totally wowed us :)

Coming Next: The Travels VI – Bye Bye Bonny Scotland.

P.S.V.

Well waddayaknow? Peace between Israel and Palestine is a lot easier than we all think!

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2 thoughts on “The Travels V – Tak’ The High Rood

  1. no worries, i didn’t get to see Sterling Castle up close and personal either. i remember the tour bus rumbling along as we waved at it from a distance.

    on the other hand, i am a bit sad that despite everything you didn’t make it to Scottish Highlands proper. ::sigh:: though, i admit, that the highlands are vastly more vivid and heartbreaking with a guide to tell you their history. another time, perhaps.

    and… andy, dear friend. how had you not heard of St. Andrews before this trip!? hahaha. you are a wonder.

  2. I know! It’s just I knew that if I went into the highlands that I wouldn’t want to stop driving.
    Don’t worry, I’m definitely going back to Scotland, there’s no question about that. I’ll do my utmost to get into the highlands.

    I *had* heard of St Andrew’s but I hadn’t done more than hear the name to be honest. I had no clue what was there!

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