I made my triumphant return to Edinburgh for 6 days a few weeks back, managing in that time to see a different region of Scotland which I had not previously been to.
Fortunately, Dennis & Mark are friends with one of the PhD students working in the same building at the University. Doug, who is in the water research group, by some miracle is actually from Scotland, as opposed to the rest of the fire group, who are from pretty much everywhere else.
Doug invited Dennis, Mark, Nets and I, along with 6 or so others, for a hike near his hometown, and following that for a meal at his parents house just outside the city of Dumfries.
The drive from Edinburgh took a few hours, through the typical windy Scottish roads. Dennis, Nets & I rode with an Australian couple. It was a bit difficult not get a little car sick on those two lane Scottish roads. Narrow, up, down, left right, and always changing. Halfway there my stomach was feeling a bit uneasy. The scenery, however, was truly Scottish. Green, hilly, large valleys, sheep, stone walls, and plenty of small towns.
The hike was quick but impressive. We walked up the side of a large hill through a bit of a valley.
Doug took all 10-12 of us back to his parents place to watch the Ireland v Scotland rugby match. It was about a 20 minute ride from the hiking spot, and his parents live what I would say is approaching the middle of nowhere. i.e there are no houses in sight and their 'driveway' is a bumpy and long turn-off from the main road. They have tons of land and a few herds of cows which they took us out to see.
Doug's family was seriously welcoming (and the house was damn cozy with that ancient stove, home made everything, and country feel to it). They served all of us multiple servings of coffee, tea, and home made desserts while the game was on. After which, they took us on a walk to show us the property and the cows, while dinner was being cooked inside.
Unfortunately, there was not enough space in the cars driving back for a few of us to stay for dinner, so Doug had to drive Dennis, Nets, & I back to Dumfries to catch the last bus back to Edinburgh. We looked at the clock and had 15 minutes to drive what usually takes 20. So Doug stepped on it and flew around those blind country road curves and ups and downs like a mad-man. When we got to the main street of the town, seconds before the bus arrived, we had to hop out of the car, walked into the middle of the street, and flagged the guy down, as we had no clue where the actual bus stop was. We hopped in as soon as the bus approached.
The Scottish Borders is a municipality of Scotland, and Dumfries and Galloway another, along the English border. While not technically considered 'highlands' (the mountainous 'high' lands north of Edinburgh), some of the region is hilly if not even mountainous. Dumfries has a booming population of about 40,000.
|Lovely Scottish hills|
|That's right, they're that good (where else in the world do they serve scotch pies outside of scotland?)|
|A butcher in Dumfries|
|Some of Doug's land.|
|Fascinated by cows. I successfully know how to approach a cow now.|