Many of us are guilty of never properly exploring the country we live in. We might know the area around us, but how many of us have headed off for a holiday to the opposite side of the country, to see the beaches, castles and beautiful scenery that Scotland has to offer?
Anna Lisa Stone was living in America, and kept hearing how beautiful others thought Scotland was – but she hadn’t really explored it herself.
So, when she returned to Scotland after three years, an opportunity arose and she decided to spend five days discovering what she had been missing. And what did she find?
Well, luckily for everyone, Anna Lisa made a video of her five days in Scotland, and has shared it with us. Enjoy.
My Doorstep Vacation by Anna Lisa Stone
It was a whim, really. A split-second decision that turned out to be the best I’ve made all year. A filmmaker friend invited me to a premiere at Freswick Castle in the furthest north-eastern reaches of the Scottish mainland, a pebble’s toss from John O’Groats. It’s a six hour schlep across country to get up there so I figured, why not keep going – turn left, then left again – and return to Glasgow via a route that hugs the very outline of Scotland? My younger brother and cousin, who’d just finished their university exams, didn’t take much convincing to join me. We knew we were off on an adventure, but we had no idea quite what an adventure it would be.
After three years living in the States – sheepishly accepting congratulations for hailing from such a beautiful country, knowing fine well that I hadn’t actually seen all that much of it – I wanted to discover Scotland. I mean, really see it; explore the creases and corners of my famously stunning homeland. A videographer by trade, I packed my camera in the hope I’d catch the occasional really good bit. I barely switched it off.
I think the variety floored us most. The way the land bursts out of dense Highland forest into the ancient jagged cliffs of the east coastline, then smoothes into lochs, lolling mountains and pristine bays in the north west, only to erupt again in steep slopes and corries of the Cuillin of Skye. And then there were the places that you just couldn’t believe were really Scotland.
Luskentyre beach, for instance, on the island of Harris – an infinity of fluffy white sand, with pools of aquamarine water that swell into sea of purest turquoise. This had to be the Caribbean, surely? Or the summit of Ben Nevis, so thick with snow and cloud (even in May) that we may as well have been on an expedition to the Arctic! I lost count of the number of times the three of us whooped with laughter as the car rounded a corner to reveal another side of Scotland that we never knew about.
We had no schedule. No deadline. We stopped to explore anywhere that looked inviting, which meant we stopped often. Very quickly conversation turned to dreaming aloud about what we’ll do and see at each place next time we’re back, which we plan to do before summer’s end. I suppose my only regret is that it took me three years of living abroad to discover the riches that start at my own back garden. They are treasures you will not find the world-over. And they’re waiting for you.
Inspired? Check out the VisitScotland website for everything you need to plan your own holiday in Scotland – see what you can discover in just five days.