2022 – An End and a Beginning
Travels with a Kilt
by Neil
7M ago
Where have I been? This is hard. In 2020, I was lucky enough to get married. It was a glorious culmination, a high point of a long, sometimes bumpy, road. We were best friends for twelve years and had shared a world of travels, of adventures and memories. Two loving souls, absolutely what the other needed and hoped for in this life. But, my new wife was soon to be diagnosed with cancer. A new road was before us, a desperate and brutal one. Kirsty showed a shocking bravery, unwavering class and endless love. Over last winter, she passed away. This is not something I have, or will, be discussing ..read more
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The Isles are Calling
Travels with a Kilt
by Neil
1y ago
A Long-Awaited Adventure to the Small Isle of Canna There’s the bright white light of a summer’s early morning, mirroring on the water. Dagger shards pierce through faint, watercolour cloud, searing downwards. The rhythmic glide of the gentle sea, stretching for miles, laps seductively, its rolling consistency for miles interrupted only by the odd raised head of curiosity. The seals have stirred for the day too. Bleary-eyed travellers shuffle around deck, no-one yet awake enough to engage in words. But excitement peers over face masks, like kids over a wall of promise. It’s been a long time co ..read more
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There’s Change in the Air
Travels with a Kilt
by Neil
1y ago
Living in the Scottish Highlands – Is it for you? Three months have passed since I made the big move north. I’ve had the extremes of snow-sprinkled beaches in February and of flip-flopping my way around an increasingly luscious garden in early summer. There’s been desolate whispers during lockdown, and excitable buzz as tourism reopened. And I’ve relished in equal measure the stony silence of a dram across a mountain view and the internal carnival brought out by Atlantic submersion amid ‘wild splashing’. The early days of living in the Scottish Highlands has been a perfect whirlwind. But, is i ..read more
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2021: The Year of Scotland Staycations
Travels with a Kilt
by Neil
1y ago
….and Tourism with a Vengeance I feel I should apologise. What sort of subscription is this that you have to wait months for Scottish fixes during a pandemic? Folk like me should be churning out the inspiration, helping to keep optimism just about breathing in the expectation that better times await, just over the next hill. I have missed chatting about Scotland, and it does feel good to be behind the keyboard again. But the plain concession is I have simply not been on it and a combination of COVID limitations, the uneasy focus on Scotland staycations and significant life change have kept me ..read more
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A Quick Hello From Scotland
Travels with a Kilt
by Neil
2y ago
Right 2020, That’s Enough Out of You Ahhhh……where to begin? ‘Season’s Greetings from Scotland!’ is inappropriately cheery. ‘I hope you’re all well’ appears almost sarcastic. ‘It’ll be better next year’ sounds recklessly optimistic. Aye, turns out summarising this unforgettable year is no easy task. What a time to be alive as we survey the destruction wrought by the wrecking ball of COVID-19 on our health, our economies, our cultures and our very way of life. I’ll take an unavoidable peek (as much as I can bear) at the damage to the tourism industry alongside a more upbeat look at some hopes fo ..read more
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An Autumnal Highland Explosion at Loch Ness
Travels with a Kilt
by Neil
2y ago
A Loch Ness Blog and some Inverness Day Trip Inspiration That sweet spot – so painfully short – when autumn is at its peak and winter’s bony finger is crooked in its foreboding call, is upon me. And so I headed north once more for a rare Loch Ness blog and a final Highland adventure of the year. Dotting around Inverness and its surrounds, there is arguably no finer place to find yourself than here, especially given the stresses thrust upon us this week in the form of sensational elections, pivotal trade deals and the prospect of returning lockdowns. For when the vibrancy of the seasonal turn i ..read more
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Back on the Road in Castle Country
Travels with a Kilt
by Neil
2y ago
Aberdeenshire Castles and the Historic Giants of the North East With autumn in full flow and a gentle sting in the crisp air, I look once more to the north. The feel of history-influenced rural terrain under my feet is home turf indeed as the long list of Aberdeenshire castles drifts once more into my crosshairs. Castle country, the north east is littered with ruins spanning every chapter of our long story. Are you sitting comfortably?   Corgarff Castle Adrift in a lonely sky, isolated in the chilly heights of the Cairngorms, sits Scotland’s star. Corgarff is the remote, star-shaped keep ..read more
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History Hunting in Southern Scotland
Travels with a Kilt
by Neil
2y ago
In the Footsteps of Giants – on the Hunt for Castles in the Scottish Borders and Midlothian Following my reacquaintance with the road last week in West Lothian, my path promptly continued east and south as I went chasing memories. We all have an interesting relationship with time this year – it’s been both irrelevant and cherished. Irrelevant in that so many days have been largely the same, cherished in that we have placed an enhanced value on those memories and on our future plans, and on the freedoms we’ve recently enjoyed post-lockdown. I’ve personally longed for rural days behind the wheel ..read more
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Outlander Filming Locations Near Edinburgh
Travels with a Kilt
by Neil
2y ago
A Self-Guided Outlander Scotland Tour In this strangest of tourism seasons, I am finally now very much out of the starting blocks. I suspect some new travel hurdles are soon to be heaved into our path but, for now, those that promote Scotland as a visitor destination – either for the present or the hopefully not-too-distant future – can start to make some tentative steps towards returning to work. And it is with caution that I re-visit a few old favourites, and some of the best historic sites in Central Scotland, that have gathered renewed enthusiasm in recent years thanks to the magic wand of ..read more
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An Update from Scotland as I Prepare to Hit the Road Once More
Travels with a Kilt
by Neil
2y ago
Scotland is Calling The gentle swish of the wind worrying the leaves, the flight of some beastie underfoot, the rush of hidden water and the creak and groan of the trees that have seen it all. It’s amazing what you notice when your senses have the inclination. Taking a simple walk in nature in these pandemic-dominated times is suddenly a very different kind of experience. I’ve become estranged with the outdoors for the entirety of the year and have had to wait patiently to begin the shy reacquaintance. But with a busy autumnal season of travel ahead, the time has come. It’s been several mon ..read more
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