Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 1

Well. Today we embarked on our journey to the Highlands.

Except for a possible fuel incident in Baltimore, which didn't actually happen, the flights went very well and we arrived safely in Scotland at around 7 am local time. We met our guide, James, and our driver, Graham, outside, and thus began the real adventure.

After driving through Glasgow, we visited Stirling Castle, which is perched on one hundred feet of sheer rock and only has one land based entry point. Stirling Castle was an important military base during the Wars for Independence, and was also used to keep the Scottish clans in check during the eighteenth century. It includes a wonderfully restored great hall, with a oak beam ceiling that cost 20 million pounds, a children's area where we convinced some of the boys to dress up in Renaissance wear, and a military museum about the highland troops that were stationed at Stirling. We ended the visit with lunch at the Unicorn Cafe, and then headed off again.

With a few pit stops in between, we took a two and a half hour bus ride through the highlands to Argyll, the territory of the Campbell clan. The Scottish highlands are like nothing else: everywhere you look are beautiful rolling mountains covered in heather and sheep. Almost no houses whatsoever, and you can see exactly where the clouds' shadows fall on the land.

We arrived in the town of Oban, which is on the west coast of Scotland on the Atlantic, and checked into our hotel, then hiked up to the Colosseum, which is a smaller version of the one in Rome. The view over the harbor was amazing, and we stopped to write in our journals and reflect on the day. Tomorrow we're heading to Iona by ferry.   It's been awesome so far.

The group feels tighter than before, more closely knit. It's hard to keep track of the kids in your Sunday school class when you go to all different schools and do all sorts of different after school stuff. It's nice to be able to catch up with people you've known since you were six, even if you haven't been able to spend much time with them.

So! Onwards!


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