Time to clear some things up...

Edinburgh Travel Blog

 › entry 25 of 151 › view all entries
The Highlands!

I feel like I didn't give Edinburgh a fair shake. I basically got there and booked a day trip away from the city and then did some walking.  Mostly I was busy stressing about the next location of my trip.  Anyway, I should've hung around longer, but I did really enjoy the Highland tour.

Our bus driver was clad in your standard kilt but not so standard Harley jacket.  At first he seemed real fun and cool, cracking good jokes, but he was quickly into "pissed off tour guide..." mode when folks weren't returning to the bus at the prescribed hour or talking too loudly during his commentary.  I did learn a lot however during the 12 hour tour.

Well, my aunt Deb from Indiana popped in my hostel during her layover here in London.

Hamish, the Highland cow
  Yay!  A familiar face...more later.

OK, back...

Regarding the movie Braveheart, well, that term has nothing to do with William Wallace.  It is, in fact, a reference to Robert the Bruce's spirit.  On his deathbed, shortly after the Pope finally recognized him as King of Scotland, he told his closest friend that his only regret was not having fought in the Crusades, so he asked him to take his embalmed heart to battle in the Crusades, which his friend did.  He made it to Spain, and upon encountering an army that had them sorely outnumbered, and facing certain death, his friend cast the lead box containing his heart out and said go forth you braveheart, and then I assume, went off to his death.

Wallace never wore a kilt either.  Instead he wore green pants.

View from bus during trip
   This was because he was a lowlander,  not a highlander, and his girlfriend was actually named Marion and he traveled with a friar.  Sound familiar?  It should because Robin Hood was apparently based on him.  The blue paint?  That was actually Pictish, the natives of Scotland, and they didn't wear it into battle.  They wore it to deal with annoying bugs.

Enough of Wallace.  So Rob Roy was a famous figure - but did not have an Irish accent as in the movie.  He was an expert at stealing cattle.  At some point he decided to approach some cattle-owners about a proposition.  They would pay him to "protect" their cattle (i.e. not steal it).  Now at the time highland cows were actually black, not the color of Hamish, whom I had the chance to feed on the way up.

Urquart Castle on Loch Ness
  Gaelic for money is "mail," so basically the term blackmail came from Rob Roy's way of earning a living back then.

If your last name is Campbell, forget about staying in the area of Scotland known as Glencoe.  The MacDonalds were betrayed in a real bad way by the Campbell Clan, and to this day, no hotel/restaurant/business will host a Campbell.  Just ask Glenn Campbell who tried to check into a hotel in the area and was refused.  He lost his court battle over the issue as well.

The iconic song "Stairway to Heaven" was written on the shores of Loch Ness by Plant and Page.  And the term Commando was based on the Scottish commandos who trained with live rounds, and the constant close calls caused many an accident, so they often shed their drawers, thus the term going Commando.

Now all the above could be complete BS, but it sure made the time go by.  And no, I wasn't the only geek taking notes!  It was a great, but long day, up and through the Highlands.  Definitely worth it if you are in Scotland, but give Edinburgh more than a day and a half!

bretaye says:
What? No pics of Nessie?
Posted on: Jul 02, 2007
bretaye says:
What? No pics of Nessie?
Posted on: Jul 02, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The Highlands!
The Highlands!
Hamish, the Highland cow
Hamish, the Highland cow
View from bus during trip
View from bus during trip
Urquart Castle on Loch Ness
Urquart Castle on Loch Ness
View of Loch Ness and National Fla…
View of Loch Ness and National Fl…
Edinburgh
photo by: vances