I wanted my husband, David, to hurry up which was difficult with his knee injury, making his way with a crutch. I’d scheduled a twelve-hour trip into the Scottish Highlands. The Rabbie’s Tour Company would pull out at 8:00 sharp. Regardless, I needed to be quiet and patient. David was moving as best he could. I felt relieved when we finally made it to the bus, the next-to-the-last passengers.
Our driver and guide, Nick, was welcoming and had an easy manner. He gave us the itinerary for the day and addressed our immediate concerns; the frequency of bathroom stops and when we’d have lunch. I’d wanted to see the Highlands since watching Outlander and other shows filmed there. After reading about the Clearances, I wondered if our ancestors had been forced from that region. I hoped David would be as interested since he would spend the day in the confined space of the bus.
Two other Rabbie’s tour groups were leaving at the same time. Their drivers wore kilts while Nick had on pants. One of the folks on our bus asked him why he didn’t wear a kilt.
“I ride my bike to work,” he said, and with a slight grin, he continued. “Can’t have that wind up under a kilt. Scottish men just wear the kilt.”
We laughed and enjoyed watching the busy city streets change to the countryside as he drove us out of Edinburgh. After riding for over an hour, we stopped in a village with a restaurant where we could buy food to carry on the boat at Loch Ness.
“You need to try their pies with haggis,” Nick suggested. “That way you’ll get a real taste of Scotland.”
I had spent all my time making reservations and had no clue about haggis. But when in Scotland, I needed to do as the Scottish do. The small pies were about the size of single chicken pot pies in the States. We’d have a carb-rich lunch with our haggis pies, tarts, and a small bag of shortbread cookies.
Nick proved to be a natural storyteller. He shared the tales of Sir William Wallace and others, often inserting a “However” when the story turned and the hero’s lesser known, dark side was revealed. He’d play Scottish music, weaving story, song, and narration throughout the day. The clouds gave way to drizzle as we drove into Glencoe. Fog shrouded that valley of destruction. Nick said that it was more often like this than not in the Highlands, sunny days a rarity.
We walked around with David carefully picking his way on the slippery surfaces and me standing watch close by. I imagined the hills dressed in heather– as they would have been the month before, and in a blanket of snow, as they’d be in a couple of months.
Soon we reached Loch Ness where we took our lunch break. We ate our haggis pies as we listened to the stories of Nessie sitings and the boat ventured out into the deep, seven-hundred-foot waters.
The pies were tasty. It was not until I returned from our trip that I’d learn that haggis was a pudding containing sheep’s pluck which included heart, liver, and lungs that was mixed with fillers and spices. Glad I didn’t know what I was eating!
The rain came down as the sun moved lower in the sky and we headed back toward Edinburgh. I realized that our tour had been the perfect way to spend the day, even with David on a crutch. By arriving almost last to the bus, he’d gotten the best possible seat for stretching out his leg. If we had rushed like I felt inclined to do, we would have been cramped in the back of the bus.
I had realized my dream of visiting those Highlands. My fears of our trip being ruined when David injured his leg had not been the case. My prayers for our trip had been answered.
What about you?
Have you had a time when you chose to allow things to happen rather than to push?
How did the outcome unfold?
What did you glean from that experience?
2 thoughts on “A Day in the Highlands”
Yes, I miss being able to drive to Glencoe in a couple of hours, climb up Buchaille Etive Mhor-The Great Herdsman of the Glen and be home in the early evening. That was nearly 40 years ago!!
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What an amazingly beautiful area that you lived in! My stay was brief and I would have loved experiencing the Highlands, and the rest of Scotland, in the other seasons. Thanks for sharing your memory. Best to you! Connie
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