My Favorite Scottish Moments
When I traveled to Scotland in the winter of 2007, I didn’t have the best time. It rained most of the time I was there, and the days were cold and dreary. Still, even in the winter gloom, a number of beautiful places captivated me on this trip, and I want to share my highlights of the Highlands with you.
This famous lake is exactly as dark and mysterious as you might expect, despite the bustling tourist stop and gift shop that sit beside it. The water is inky, the air feels heavy, and it’s easy to believe in the unbelievable while you’re standing on the shores of Loch Ness. Plus, due to the tourist trade, it’s easier than ever to find Nessie now!
When my husband traveled to Scotland years ago, he remembered meeting a big, hairy, Highland Coo (cow) who had been quarantined after the mad cow outbreaks of the last century. While he doubted that Hamish would still be there when we made it to Scotland together, he didn’t bank on the exceptionally long lives of Highland Coos. Hamish was still there, all right, in his large pen beside a charming gift shop, and his sweet furry face still makes me smile. Since I was there, I’ve heard that Hamish is still kicking, and what’s better, he’s got a family now.
The Isle of Skye
By far, the favorite memories from my trip come from the beautiful Isle of Skye. It’s rugged, rural, and beautiful (and the sun actually came out for most of the day I traipsed around the island, so that probably helped!) and drenched in magic. There are stones on Skye that are said to be sleeping giants, a fairy-blessed stream that will bestow everlasting beauty on anyone who sticks their face in the cold water for a count of ten, and rocky coastlines trimmed with waterfalls and wild plants.
Part of what made my trip through the Highlands so enjoyable was the tour company we went with. Known for their big yellow buses, adventurous itineraries, and fun-loving atmosphere, everything about Haggis Tours was wonderful. Just like in THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY, having a wonderful tour guide can make or break your adventure, and our guide was a wonderful lady with a bright smile, boundless knowledge and lore, and a strong sense of adventure. And while I didn’t fall in love with a handsome red-headed tour guide on my trip, I could totally picture Brian working for Haggis.
Have you been to Scotland? Do you want to go there? Tell me about your dream trip!
About Jen McConnel
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Her debut NA novel, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY, is coming December 2013 from Bloomsbury Spark . Visit http://www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.
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THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY
Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she’s unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together they embark on a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.
They set out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but Lou isn’t prepared for the knowledge that awaits her. She must face her own demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.
Flashing between seventeenth century Scotland and a contemporary romance, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY is a mystery that will please readers of all ages.