Off to Hogwarts…

Published on 31 May 2023 at 17:08

   Tuesday was an amazing day. We hopped on the Jacobite Train (aka Hogwarts Express) and rode to Mailag, which is a coastal town that looks over to the Isle of Skye. The train ride was just the best. We had tea, went over the Glenfinnian Viaduct (shown in Harry Potter movies) - and waved at all of the people waiting to see us pass by like we were royalty. The scenery was beyond beautiful - passing many fields with sheep, various Lochs, hills, common gorse bushes (yellow flowering bushes) that literally make the land glow in the most glorious yellow that it’s like sunshine. The clacking of the train tracks lulled Greg into some cat naps, and I took a million photos out the window. We had the most lovely couple sitting next to us who were from Edinburgh, and had a wonderful time visiting with them. They have traveled to the states many times, and were big ‘Breaking Bad’ fans…. So had gone to New Mexico to tour all of the filming spots. I quickly told my boys this is not a strange phenomenon… us Americans travel here to visit ‘Outlander’ or other sites, and Europeans come to America to see our hot filming locations. 

     Once we arrived in Mailag - we had about an hour and 1/2 to wander around a bit. We picked up some very fresh Fish & Chips and sat on a bench to enjoy them. As we sat there, we could sense many little bird eyes watching over us, as a line of seagulls sat perched above waiting for an opportunity to snatch a French fry. Well, my husband, “innocently” threw one a fry and I am sure you can imagine what happened next. Fifty seagulls joined their buddy to partake in the French fry feast. We immediately scolded Greg and threatened him to keep his fries to himself - as we guarded our lunches closely to prevent any of them from helping themselves. OY Vey!!!

    The town had a couple of cute little shops, which of course I visited. After that, we hopped back on the train for the journey back. Just as enjoyable going in the other direction. So fun to see all of the people waiting alongside the route to watch the train and/or take pictures as we traveled by. As a bonus, on the way back, we also got to see my first Highland Cow lounging in a field - I was so excited as I have been waiting to see one. Unfortunately, it was on the wrong side of the train and went by too fast for me to capture a photo. 

     Once we got back to Fort William, we headed out for our next AirBNB which was about an hour and 1/2 north, near the Loch Ness. This night was spent in a log cabin up on a hill in the country. It was so incredibly cozy. This would be a place, similar to the stone cottage, that would have been amazing to spend more time at. After getting into the cabin I drug the boys back down the road to see if we could find Nessie. Oh yes, I was sure we would spot her. See attached photos to see if we were successful. A quick visit to take photos of a castle along the Loch Ness, which I can share that according to a tour guide who was talking to a group of tourists, is apparently where the last siting of Nessie was a year ago - apparently she swirled around in the water just out from the castle location.  

     Finding a place to eat last night was a challenge… as we came into town late and were only there for a short stay - and apparently all of the pubs/restaurants required reservations. So, we ended up at a local ‘fast food’ type spot to grab something simple. On the way back to the cabin, we FINALLY FOUND SOME HIGHLAND COWS!  I immediately pulled over and took about 9 million pictures. They are FABULOUS!!!  I loved them more in person. I was truly the happiest girl in Scotland last night. All in all - it was a PERFECT DAY!!!! 


     Wednesday ~ the start of Outlander days… 

Today we started out at Culloden Battlefield… where we paid our respects to the Jacobite rebellion soldiers who fought alongside the Bonny Prince Charlie - only to be quickly gunned down and eliminated by the British within an hours time. It was very moving and fascinating, and obviously as a big Outlander fan, added an additional fascination for me (as well as many others, I might add). After the battlefield, we hopped over to Clava Cairns, where I tried to time travel through the stones back to the 1700’s to find my own Jamie. No such luck, as I am still in 2023. I guess that means I will be coming back to the Quad Cities on Saturday. A girl can dream, right?

     Another Outlander filming location was on our continued journey, as we dropped into Falkland to take in the quaint village that acted as 1945 Inverness in the series. It was beautiful and well worth the stop. Tonight’s AirBNB is in Sterling, another quaint and beautiful town just about 4 miles down the road from Doune Castle, which we will be visiting first thing in the morning. Tonights resting spot is beyond beautiful. The cottage-like house is decorated to the nines with many mid-century modern touches that I adore. Another place I could easily spend a lot more time at. It’s gorgeous. Outside of the unpleasant stay at the Titanic hotel, we have been very lucky. We only have one more spot, as we will head to Edinburgh tomorrow night to drop off the rental car and make our way to an apartment in the Old town area at the foot of the Edinburgh Castle. 

     Our days here are coming to an end, but I am happy to say that we really feel like we have taken in each day to its fullest and it has not flown by too fast. We are very excited about our activities scheduled for the next two days, but are all looking forward to being back home, snuggled in with our sweet puppy. Not to mention, a two day’s rest will be much needed… at a minimum. Cody will definitely have to drive home from Chicago, as I am getting pretty used to driving on the left side of the road, from the right side of the car.  I think I will need a day or two to re-acclimate to US driving habits before I hit the streets again. I am happy to say, however, that should I ever find myself living here, I can adapt! 

     I will try to post at least one more time before we head home, dependent upon internet access, of course. 

     Until then, hope everyone back home is well and we will see you all soon….

     Love, The ‘MacReitan’s’      (When in Scotland - you have to be a clan) 


**More pictures later as its taking too long to download them from my camera… and I’m pooped out and time to hit the pillows!



Add comment


There are no comments yet.