That time I ran away to Scotland Part 3 - Skye, Highlands, Nessie and Ghosts

The final part of 'That time I ran away to Scotland' with exploration, leaving Skye looking for Nessie and searching for Ghosts in Edinburgh. Yet another picturefest. Check out part one for Edinburgh and two for the first part of the Highlands and Skye adventure.

After a wet day across Skye the weather began to clear up on our return to Portree and so our guide very kindly took a few of us to the other end of town and showed us a small hiking trail around the cliff, and so, probably a little too enthusiastically we headed off. Six wannabe explorers, making sure we all had water and food (and plasters and a few of our group were med students – talk about over prepared). 
The Scorrybreac Circuit is about 2 miles long, within a mile away from the town. It has epic costal and countryside views and also has a pretty steep incline about two thirds of the way round.

{L-R; The Scorrybreac trail, Explorers exploring}

At the start of the walk your greeted with some stunning views of Portree Harbour and just a little way along there is a memorial/ view point with magnificent views across Loch Portree. The Memorial is to members of Clan Nicolson who helped buy the land. This area is considered to be the Clans homeland

{Top; Portree Harbour, below; Clan Nicolson memorial}

You can also see The Isle of Raasay, and Ben Tianavaig across the bay. Further along we met a man walking his dog, and quickly double checked we were going the right way (there is also a 6 mile route) and he confirmed yes, it wasn't too far, we just had to get up the hill and then begin to head back towards the start. The hill is not a hill, to me it is bloody cliff, and to those that know me, you know my leg does not like steep hills/cliffs (due to scar tissue/scrappy veins – find out more by checking out posts marked heart), so it took me a little while to get to the top, but I blummin well did it because I'm awesome, as are my legs and my heart. My fellow explorers were also awesome, happy to let me stop, offering to help with my bag and even offering to go back with me to avoid the climb (I couldn't have met such an awesome understanding  explorer gang).

 {Top - bottom; Panoramic from the memorial view point, Isle of Raasay, Ben Tianavaig and view across the bay}

So cliff tackled we headed back towards the start of our walk with views across the countryside, before finding ourselves back at the start and then heading back towards Portree.

After stopping for a wee dram of whisky, grabbing some food and generally having a bit of a re-group we headed over to The Portree Hotel pub (with pretty much everyone else in the hostel) for some drinks and live music. The perfect way to end our last day on Skye.

{Top to bottom; Views from the climb, countryside at the top of the hill, Recovery Whisky and pub times}

Up early, it was wonderful, if not bittersweet to see the sun shining over Skye, so I headed out for a walk before having breakfast and then having to say goodbye to my hostel friends and Portree.

Today's trip back towards Edinburgh began at 9am with the promise of lots of stops to make up for what we had missed out on seeing on route up to Skye.

{Early morning in Portree}

Our final stop on Skye was at Sligachan Bridge, situated near the Cuillins mountain range. As always on this tour our guide was eager to tell us the stories of the places we were visiting, and here at Sligachan not only can you gain eternal beauty by placing your face in the water (spoiler alert – I did not feel that comfortable with lying down and putting my face in a fast flowing river - so your stuck with ugly me) but also you can take part in the Glamaig Hill Race.
The Glamaig Hill race is an annual event where athletes race from the hotel bar up to the top of the hill and back. This event commemorates Harkabir Thapa, who in 1899 ran this course in 75 minutes with bare feet.

{Top - bottom; Sligachan Bridge, Glamaig Hill, Rainbow}
Weirdly, none of us thought this was something we wanted to try ourselves so we bid farewell to Skye and began our journey back to Edinburgh.

Our first stop on our Highlands tour was Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland's most iconic castles. Unfortunately we didn't have time to go into the castle but just from where we were it looked stunning, so obviously I'll be making sure I visit it properly soon.

 {Eilean Donan Castle}

Highland quick stop number two was a view point along the loch overlooking The Five Sisters mountain range.

{The 5 Sisters}

Next we had lunch with Nessie! Stopping at Fort Augustus for an hour and a half for lunch meant that we had a chance to cruise on Loch Ness (whoop whoop – monster hunting!). So we had a quick look around we boarded our Cruise Loch Ness boat for a scenic, hour long trip out into the black waters (£14.50 per adult).
While aboard the focus wasn't all on the monster but on the nature that surrounds you on the loch, both up on the hills and underneath the boat. We saw wild goats, and learnt about the history, and mysteries of the Loch and got to see some pretty cool sonar equipment.

{Top two; Out on Loch Ness, above; Wild Goats}

I will 100% be taking another tour with these guys on my return and I saw Nessie, sort of.

Swapping our boat for our coach we headed back off towards Ben Nevis and Glen Coe.
For incredible views of The Nevis mountain range we stopped at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge The memorial commemorates the British Commandos from WWII and nearby The Area of Remembrance commemorates lives lost in more recent conflicts. It is the perfect place to stop and reflect.

{Top - Bottom; Panoramic, Commando Memorial, Nevis Mountain range}

Now I didn't start my day thinking I'd be walking in a 420 Million year old Supervolcano, but that is where I ended up. We stopped at Glen Coe and all our driver left us to take a short walk up to the next car park. We walked down to the main path and along for about 30 minutes before climbing up to the minibus. It was pretty freaking incredible, I mean who wouldn't be happy walking though here!

{Views from walking in Glen Coe}

So once we climbed out of the Glen we just had one more pit stop at The Green Welly for a quick cup of tea and peruse of the gift shops before making our last approach to Edinburgh.

{Left; The very real petrol station. Right; The Green Welly at The Green Welly}

Along the way we had more stories of Scotland and Scottish music playlist to accompany us.

Now I haven't put in hardly any of the facts of stories we heard along the way, not because I don't care or remember but because a) There are so many cool things I learnt that it would turn a 3 post trip into a 30 post trip and B) I don't think me writing them could do them justice and you would be much better off heading out on a trip and hearing them direct from a guide. Steve was a great guide, with incredible knowledge and passion for what he does. We love Steve!

We sadly disembarked at Edinburgh and slowly said our goodbyes before heading our own ways.

I headed up to the bus station and eventually found it (there were works going on that me, my map, google and a person in the street couldn't work out how to get around), loaded my case into a locker and rushed back up over North Bridge to spend my final hours in Edinburgh chasing ghosts. Obviously.

I had picked out a couple of Ghost tours to have a look at, but due to messing around with the bus station I missed two of them so ended up on the Doomed, Dead and Buried tour, run my Mercat Tours (£16per adult). This was possibly a little bit more family friendly then I would have liked but none the less it was really interesting, and we went into the underground vaults at Blair Street (yay ghosts).
We started be going around some of the streets off The Royal Mile before ending up in The Blair Street Vaults, which were amazing and horrific both at once. Leaving the depths of the underground we finished our tour in Cannongate Kirkyard where we heard legends of cannibals and body-snatchers.

{Top - Bottom; Inside the vaults, Cannongate Kirkyard, Cannongate Kirk, Edinburgh at night} 

The guides were great, and really engaging as well as making sure no one was lost in the dark! However having been on a similar tour with Mercat Tours before I had heard most of the stories from the vaults before, and I had heard one of the stories from Cannongate earlier on in my trip on The Darkside tour (and in fact it was pretty much told word for word). So next time I'll probably use a different ghost tour, just because I'd like to see something different, but I would totally recommend Mercat tours for your ghostly needs.
And then that was that. The End of my Scottish adventure. I headed back to the bus station and got the overnight coach back down south. Sad to be leaving but happy in my soul.

My last minute Scottish adventure was probably the best idea I've had.

*For more information on hikes walks in The Highlands and beyond check out

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