History is being made today as the Scottish people vote in a referendum to decide if they should remain part of the United Kingdom.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that. Part of me is feeling sad that the old order of things might change after three hundred years but part of me is also going “Yay. Long Live Scotland”. If I were a Scot myself and living there I suspect that I might be a Scottish Nationalist but as I’m not and am far away in Australia I can only hope that it works out well for everyone concerned. It’s rather like Australia becoming a republic or Britain abolishing the monarchy. I always find change hard to accept. I would really rather these things happened after I’m safely dead and buried.
I have always loved Scotland. I love the bagpipes, the first music I really enjoyed listening to as a child was a recording of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Family stories claim that we have Scottish heritage on my maternal grandmother’s side; maybe that’s where I get that from. I have only visited Scotland twice in my life, the first time was in 1977 and was just a day trip to Edinburgh so it hardly counts. The second time was in 1990 as part of our trip to the UK. Hubby and I had about a week there. We didn’t have a car, we travelled by train and stopped at Stirling, Glasgow, Fort William and Inverness before making the longest train journey of our UK trip back to London and then on to Bexhill in Sussex.
This afternoon I brought out an old photo album from our trip and started to scan all the Scottish photos. I haven’t finished yet and I have a feeling there are a couple of boxes of slides somewhere but it has been nice to see them again and to have the opportunity to tidy them up a bit with photo editing software. Eventually I hope to make a new album combining both the images from slides and prints.
We used YHA hostels a lot during our UK holiday and we had intended to stay at the one in Edinburgh but were not able to get in on the dates we wanted. The Warden at the Newcastle YHA where we were staying suggested that we try Stirling YHA instead. We did and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of our trip. It was easy to visit both Edinburgh and Glasgow from Stirling and the hostel at that time was in a very old building near Stirling Castle. We did the tour of the castle and decided that although Edinburgh Castle is spectacular we actually liked Stirling better.
Stirling Castle, it turns out, is the home of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum so perhaps it was meant to be.
It was March when we visited Scotland and occasionally the weather was not ideal for being outdoors. One day while we were visiting Edinburgh Castle there was a snowstorm which drove us indoors where as we waited for it to subside we learned far more than we ever expected to about St Margaret of Scotland, most of which I have since forgotten. This is how the approaching storm looked from the castle walls.
We had better luck with the weather another day and were able to walk the Royal Mile past St Giles Cathedral and on to Holyrood Palace at the other end. The palace is of course the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh and a grand place to visit. Next to it is the ruins of Holyrood Abbey.
After a few days we left Stirling and after a night in Glasgow we continued our journey by train to Fort William and the highlands. When I’ve scanned those photos in I’ll post a few of them too.