Everywhere you turn, the land is there, just sitting around being gorgeous. This place, called Burn O' Vat, had a lovely little waterfall and two shallow caves.
Here's one of my favorite memories of the trip, in the Cairngorms. Scotland has an old tradition of its residents being able to walk pretty much everywhere, as long as they're not leaving a mess or disturbing other people. There are trails and footpaths everywhere, and we saw people using them, walking in places I would assume were off-limits if we were in the US. We did a little bit of hiking, but if we'd planned for it we could've done much more. I think Americans have this sense that Britain is a very small place, but it certainly didn't feel that way to me while we were there. Edinburgh during festival season felt just as bustling and alive as San Francisco during fleet week, and the Cairngorms felt just as open and majestic as the High Sierras.
history behind Glen Coe, and it's eye-opening to visit national landmarks that belong to someone else. I can feel some deeper personal connection to Mt. Tamalpais or Hume Lake, and knowing that there's another set of people who feel just as strong a connection (if not stronger) to these places helps me feel connected to those people through a shared experience. Seeing the world's natural wonders makes environmentalists of us all.
As a small footnote, it's hard to look at the countryside of Scotland and not notice the sheep everywhere, which live off the land, and are an integral part of life for many people in the highlands.
Next time: From the Land comes the Cloth