Melissa Moffet and I spent a whirlwind four nights in Scotland. Here are some notes and thoughts and itinerary about our trip. I was a little concerned about traveling with a vegan (since I am not) because I thought all she’d have to eat were potatoes. But Scotland has ample options for vegans, and I actually wound up eating more vegetables because I was with a vegan! Unexpected bonus!
Friday Sept 28/Saturday Sept 29: We flew out on a direct red eye from Stewart, which is this tiny airport in upstate NY. We couldn't find a (reasonably priced) direct flight from JFK, so we took a chance on this flight from an airport I’d never heard of before haha. We had to take a 2 hour shuttle ride from Penn, but it turned out to be worth it. We arrived at 8pm, boarded 830pm as "last call" and left the gate at 910pm for a 925pm flight. Landed in EDI 1.25 hrs early at 745am. Our airbnb wasn't ready yet so we settled in for some breakfast and coffee at Brew Lab coffee. This turned out to be my favorite breakfast place in EDI.
There was a key issue with our airbnb, so we couldn't leave our bags as we thought we could be able to. That was a bit annoying, and a downside to airbnb vs hotel. However, walking around town, I remembered that museums always have a bag check. And sure enough, EDI was no exception. We checked our suitcases at the National Museum, which was a huge help, and set out with only backpacks. We walked down Candlemaker Row, Victoria Street (inspiration for Diagon Alley), Boy Wonder (v helpful staff in everything Harry Potter), Greyfriars Kirkyard (the cemetery that allegedly provided JK Rowling with HP character names, though we didn't see the named tombstones mcgonagall, tom riddell, etc). We came across a farmers market where I had amazing paella and Melissa had a vegan pita thing. Afterwards we walked up Calton Hill and then crashed for a couple hours at the airbnb. We had dinner at Maki & Ramen (yum), did some road trip snack shopping at Tesco, grabbed some night time shots and then *finally* called it a day.
Sunday Sept 30: This was a very long road trip day. We did a 6 hour stretch of driving the first day which I would not recommend unless you start super early. We got to Enterprise at 11am but didn't actually leave until noon. Driving on the opposite of the road is weird AF. Your proprioception of where the car is in its lane is completely foreign. Not to mention doing tight left turns instead of left turns across traffic, and let’s not forget about going counter clockwise in roundabouts. It threw my brain off.
So getting used to driving on the opposite side, plus stopping for photos in Glencoe/Fort Williams and to eat/bathroom breaks - we didn't arrive in our destination of Staffin (Isle of Skye) until 9:30pm and it had been pitch black for a couple hours at that point. I still give Melissa major props for driving all that.
Monday, Oct 1: The next morning we hit Staffin Slipway beach for sunrise, had breakfast, and then headed to Old Man Storr, this craggy rock formation high on the mountain.
Honestly, I'm not a hiker and I have random knee issues. There are 4 gates you have to pass through to make it to the top, and I made it to 3 of the 4 gates. But after a point after huffing and puffing in the rain and wind, me and my knees were like, UGH NO MORE.
Melissa made it to the top and then ran down like a mountain goat as I ate beef jerky in the car. We grabbed chai and sandwiches in Portree, then drove to the fairy pools in Glenbrittle. It was beautiful, but honestly, I'd love to revisit when it's warmer with sunshine and rainbows. It was a little miserable in the cold and wind, and the only place our photos didn't turn out due to weather, squishy mud, and cold. We finished the drive in Inverness, where we had a tasty Indian food dinner.
Tuesday, Oct 2: This was our favorite airbnb. The host was lovely, and her house was from the 1880s and looked like a castle. We explored Inverness in the morning and then headed out to Pattack Falls and nature trail.
We stopped in Pitlochry for lunch, and just as I was saying Melissa wouldn't be able to find vegan dessert, we walked into Hettie's Tea Rooms and found...vegan dessert. Our end city for the day was Stirling. Dinner that night was at Brea, this restaurant known for its locally sourced food and vegan options. Melissa had this risotto and it was so tasty. She also found vegan fudge at Mint Patisserie.
Wednesday, Oct 3: Drove back to EDI to return rental car, hitting up this vegan place on the way called Fork and Mustard in Falkirk that Melissa found in her Happy Cow app. She was super happy with her grand, 11 item vegan brekkie that included homemade vegan sausage, bacon and haggis. I had avo toast on tomato pesto that was also tasty.
We had no issues getting our flight to London, except all my bags got pulled over for not putting my toiletries in a single baggy, not pulling my laptop out, and forgetting I had some water in my water bottle. Ooops.
Melissa and I had a great time, and I’d like to go back because I think Scotland has so much to offer that we just didn’t have time to see!
Moving with nature!