Hey everyone, so I’ve been a busy fella for the last 5 days.
I’ve been here in Scotland for 3 weeks, and managed to catch up with most of my old friends, and family in the area (apart from a couple of folk who seem to be MIA). Being back in Scotland is great, nothing has changed. The same old crew go into the pub every day, the same people work behind the bar, the shops all have the same stuff in the windows, Aboyne (the town I’m in), has barely changed. The only thing that has changed for me is that my grandfather isn’t here, having passed away 3 months ago. His corner in the lounge room empty, his daily seat at the pub taken by another, it just doesn’t feel right without him. When I worked in the pub 6 years ago (last time I was here), I had to make sure that every day at 11am, I had a nip of whisky and half a pint of beer on the bar ready for him as he walked in, otherwise I would get a barrage of “where’s my drink you ungrateful bastard” with his thick Scottish voice and a chuckle.
Feels like the bad weather is following me, Cambodia it wouldn’t stop raining, and here in Scotland, I’ve managed to get a couple of hours of sunshine, but other than that, drizzle. With the continuous bad weather here on the east coast of Scotland, I decided I wanted to go for a road trip to the west coast. AND had been invited by a friend I met here in Scotland 5 years ago, to her Bucks party.
Yes, “HER bucks party”. Jen, an awesome young lady I met here in Scotland 5 years ago is getting married in 2 months, and rather than having only a hens party with her chick friends, she wanted to have a Bucks party with her group of male friends. So, the 7 of them hired a house boat on loch ness and Jen asked that I go with them. But more about that later
I drove the 4 hours over the hills and around the coast to the Isle of Skye. The weather wasn’t any better, but the mountains and valleys blow your mind, and when the sun did managed to peak out through the clouds for a moment, it was like something out of Lord of the Rings. I headed up through Skye towards a mountain with a stone column called “The Old Man of Storr”, determined no matter what the weather, to climb up.
I’m not fit, and I’m not built of steep hills, but it was totally worth the hike. The view from the top was amazing, though the wind was determined to push me off the cliff, and the rain was coming in sideways trying to embed itself into my hide.
I camped out in Skye for 2 nights and headed back to Loch Ness to meet up with Jen and the bucks party house boat. 3 Days of drinking, and boating, I couldn’t really ask for much more. It was great, it rained, but being out on loch ness with a beer in one hand and the other blocking the blasting rain from my face, it was epic. We were loudly boated our way through the Loch with ACDC blasting out the speakers, a pirate flag flailing in the wind, Jen dressed as our pirate captain, and the horn blasting, when we found a floating pub boat, moored up and took over. Before we arrived, it was quiet and respectable, with people happily drinking their coffee and beer, having a chat. When we arrived, within minutes we found a guitar and broke out with every song we could half remember and turned that quiet pub into a singing, clapping, and laughing ruckus that everyone joined in with. Eventually we got kicked out at 11:30 when the pub decided it was best for them to shut than to continue to supply us with drink. Seeing loch ness from a boat is a completely different experience, but a lot of that could probably be from the constant state of inebriation, which when added to the swaying of the boat made for some close encounters.
So now I’m back in Aboyne, and praying for a couple of good days of sun. I haven’t gotten out with my camera nearly enough but I’m still happy to be back in Scotland.