Thursday, 9 October 2014

Highlands Trip - aka I got to see puppies and Highland cows trip

This past weekend, October 4th and 5th, I went a weekend trip to the Highlands with my program provider, Arcadia (yes, it's actually called Arcadia...can't escape it!). Despite it being very cold, I survived, and saw some pretty amazing landscape and some seriously cute animals.

Our first actual stop was the Blair Athol Distillery.

So at 11am in the morning, we took a whisky (no 'e' in Scottish whisky) distillery tour, and sampled single malt whisky. Kinda early for that, but I enjoyed it. Since everyone experiences smell differently, all of us smelled different things in the whisky. I smelled the spiciness and enjoyed the very smoky aftertaste. No pictures of the inside of the distillery because there's such a high alcohol content they can't allow cameras with flash that could create fires instantly!!!

Next stop was my absolute favorite: a sheepdog demonstration. We saw probably around 12 sheepdogs listen to their personalized commands from a shepherd; one dog was actually blind and still herding them! 
There were 35 dogs total on the farm 

Once you position a sheep right, it almost goes limp and doesn't try to escape at all

We also got a chance to shear the sheep with hand shears. But the best part was the puppies. Too cute for words.
Using hand shears to shear the sheep

Last actual event of the day was going to the site of the last battle fought in Great Britain. I learned a lot about the Jacobite Rebellion, which was actually a very big deal, and got to take some black and white photos with my manual camera. We'll see next week if they actually turn out. And then my second favorite thing of the day happened, which was seeing HIGHLAND COWS. Basically my Scotland dream come true. 

"Wee Highland coo"

You're so cute ugh

We settled in a hostel in Inverness for the night, and as a first hostel experience it was pretty good! The only thing was that there was only two outlets for 6 people. I fell asleep so early; we were all exhausted. 

The next morning we drove down to Loch Ness! I wish we had more time in the gift shop- there were so many cool Nessie souvenirs that I didn't see anywhere else! 

Got to see Nessie!

We got on a boat to cross Loch Ness to go to Urquhart Castle, which was very picturesque despite being in ruins. 

Menu on the ship

Do you see Nessie Mom?

Took a gondola ride up the mountain next to Ben Nevis for lunch- it was windy and cold. 

Our last quick stop was the Glencoe Visitors Center. I only thought it was important because of the massacre that happened there. Glencoe is actually a protected area- it is absolutely gorgeous. The hills, valleys and mountain are all so mysterious looking but breathtaking. Kinda hard to describe, and pictures just don't capture their majesty.
It wasn't only this, but you were surrounded by these green hills

Tried to get all the cool rock formations as we drove past

And that was my weekend! Very busy but very worth it. :)

P.S. I did take my manual camera from the black and white photography class on the trip, and it was one of the first times I've used it, so hopefully next week when we develop them they turn out well. The negatives look like they're in focus and have the proper lighting, so maybe I'll share them on this blog when I get them!

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