This month two years ago I had just landed back in the UK after an amazing gap year and was preparing to settle down in Scotland for the next year. I was anxious and worried about settling in one place for so long after the previous year of gap year travel. I should never have worried though, because living in Scotland gives the ability for constant adventure depending on the season. After living there for an entire year I barely scraped the surface of everything there is to see and do.
As the cold starts to draw in and autumn really makes itself known, I’ve been thinking of Scotland a lot again. I guess some of my best adventures in the country were during cold wintery days or maybe it is just because it is always cold there… Couple this with the suffocating feeling of London and the lack of adventures I’m doing and I have the biggest longing for Scotland I’ve had in a long time.
Without boring you of the hows and whys of this post any more…
Here are 10 reasons I miss living in Scotland.
1 Diversity of the landscape
Some places/countries are known for one aspect of their landscape but Scotland has it all. Incredible mountains, stunning beaches, beautiful cities with stylish architecture, islands and mainland, uninhabited and habitited land. The landscape is so diverse that you could have a different adventure every weekend and not get bored. There are tiny villages and big cities to explore as well as hiking and walking and hill climbing. There is something to suit everyone as well as enough choice to fulfil those with wanderlust in their bones.
2 Having space
As I type this I’m sitting in a house in London overlooking half a dozen other houses and gardens and I can hear the hum of the main road beyond that. Space isn’t something you are offered in London, everywhere you go there are other people, buildings, offices etc. but in Scotland you could drive for hours and not see a single person or building. There is space to feel free, to breath and relax in without having to worry about bumping into people. In Scotland I just took this as the norm but in London free space is something I crave.
3 The people
There is a saying in Glasgow that was promoted during the Commonwealth Games but is more than true, ‘people make Glasgow’. I think it isn’t just people make Glasgow but people make Scotland. During my time in the north I met some of the friendliest people, people I’ve worked with, met while travelling or just strangers who have offered me a friendly smile or piece of advice. More than the people is the family traditions, the language, the accent and everything that contributes to making a person Scottish.
4 Road Trips
I know I’ve probably already mentioned road trips and I’m certainly going to mentioned them again but I felt they deserved their own point. I cannot remember the amount of road trips we took while living in Scotland but it was a lot. There was the epic loop we did around the country and countless others but I just loved each one for a different reason. Scotland was built for exploring by car and so many of the roads we drove rank up there with the Great Ocean Road and Pacific Highway in California. It is the sense of feeling abroad that makes Scotland so appealing to me.
5 Adventures you can have
As I mentioned about in point one, Scotland is very diverse and this makes the opportunity for adventure limitless (well nearly). In winter you could go skiing or snowboarding while come summer those same mountains are used for hiking. The beaches are beautiful all over the country whether you are wrapped up on a blue sky winters day or sunbathing on a rare hot summers day, you will feel like you are somewhere exotic. There are islands near and far, inhabited and uninhabited to explore, this includes the mighty islands of Shetland which are a 12 hour ferry ride away. Then you cannot forget the gorgeous cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow (I’ve called both home) great in their own individual way.
6 Quirky accommodation options
I have stayed in some of my favourite accommodations choices while in Scotland. From glamping to boutique guest houses with amazing Scottish breakfast. There is such a wide range of choice all over the country and I can’t think of a bad place I’ve stayed. Prices vary and very much depend on what you are getting for your money but none of them come close to the prices you will pay in London or the surrounding areas. The experience is authentic and the friendly Scottish hosts just add to the experience.
7 Ease of getting to everything
I don’t really mean public transport although this (on the whole) is pretty good for the main stops of the country. What I mean is you can drive for 30 minutes out of Glasgow and be surrounded by mountains and the feeling of freedom. Go an hour and you’ve lost most of the traffic and are surrounding by gorgeous countryside. Edinburgh isn’t quite as fortunate but then you don’t have to escape the city for hills and gorgeous views, you’ve got that in Arthurs Seat. If we compared those drive times to London, well 30 minutes wouldn’t get you out of the city and an hour will only get you out depending on where you live.
The culture of Scotland is full of tradition, love for their country and pride of their nation. The sound of bagpipes will instantly transport me back to the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. But tradition goes deeper than bagpipes, it’s having Burns Supper on Burns Night, it’s adapting the English language with Scottish words and phrases, it’s wearing kilts at any patriotic event and doing it the Scottish way (no undies). True Scots can even tell you the name of the tartan you are wearing. The culture of Scotland goes back for generations and its that rooted history and pride for your country that I love. Here I just need to mention the annual Fringe Festival too which is very much part of Edinburgh’s tradition.
Oh the food, just look at that picture above. That fish was fresh from the Loch that day and tasted divine. This was from one of my favourite restaurants in Fort William the Crannog Seafood Restaurant. It isn’t just the fresh seafood worth mentioning (although that is a highlight) from the typical Scottish breakfast to the famous dish of haggis, neeps and tatties you can expect to find all of this on a Scottish menu. I should probably also mention here just how much the Scots love their whisky (yes without the e, other wise you are talking about Irish or American versions of the drink). It isn’t just the amount of bottles you will see stacked up behind every bar but the ease of being able to visit one of these whisky distilleries that are all around the country.
10 Rent Prices
I just had to put this in because everyone who is anyone will know how crippling the rent prices are in London. For the past year we have lived in an old one bed flat which cost double our new two bedroom flat in Glasgow. I know the rent does become a little more expensive in the city centre but you still wouldn’t be paying any where near as much as you do in the city centre of London. Not that I’m bitter or anything….
Have you been to Scotland, was there anything you loved about the country?