January – is there a more boring month? There’s no special occasions to think about, the weather is usually something rainy and cold, and you’ve got no money left after Christmas. Probably the last thing you’re thinking about is traveling.
I’ll be honest here, I’m not writing this for anyone in particular, but more for myself. This blog is currently my diary until my dissertation starts and I have some genuine content to bring you guys! But for now, documenting my months is a great way for me to look back at my achievements and be able to easily reference anything that comes up!
If you’re new to hiking but fancy something a bit more substantial this is a surprisingly good, albeit challenging hike. It doesn’t take long, there are several route choices and the views are so worth the effort once you reach the top. My boyfriend insisted we park at the Visitor Centre and walk the Timeline Trail, and then mentioned halfway up it was probably the hardest route… Thanks! I had to stop maybe thirty times… But I went with no reservations about how hard the uphill climb would be, and made it despite my lack of fitness!
It’s been almost a year since I last set foot on one of the Scottish Isles. I have a goal of visiting every single one, and our next home-based trip is planned to be Mallaig, so we can visit Skye and the small isles (Rum, Muck and Eig). I’ve only ticked 4 off of my list, but by far my favourite has been the beautiful Isle of Islay…
This week I’ve let a lot of things fall by the wayside, mostly because my parents were up visiting me so my time commitments went purely to them. Usually when they are here, we go shopping, perhaps drive out of Aberdeen and go and see a castle nearby, and just have a relaxing time catching up. But this time my parents stayed for longer, so I suggested a trip to the Scottish Capital to mix things up a bit!
When I told my ex-flatmate I’d spent my summers as a child in various French towns, and had only been to Paris once, for less than a day, she shook her head and said “But that’s not really the same, is it?”. Her implication? Traveling only counts if your go a far enough distance, do only touristy things, and post filtered shots on Instagram as you do it, leaving others exclaiming their jealousy and scrambling to get enough money to copy your trip. This is however, the same girl who got angry when I went to Edinburgh a few weeks after her and did do touristy things, rather than do as she did and eat in expensive restaurants and get drunk at expensive cocktail bars. Is it really about gaining culture? Or more about one-upping the next person who dares to travel elsewhere?
Although this post will be mostly centered on my diving experiences, I have to recommend Oban as a travel destination. If you want to visit Scotland but don’t fancy a city break, Oban is the perfect spot. It’s really close to Glasgow and Stirling, and has excellent travel links. It’s small enough to feel quaint, but big enough to have decent shops within walking distance of the central hotels. It’s surrounded by loads of things to do and see, including the castles Dunstaffnage and Dunollie, and the harbour has regular sailings to the Isles of Mull, Colonsay, Coll and Tiree. It’s also the watersports capital of Scotland, and if you’re a qualified cold water diver who’s never dived here, I can’t recommend it enough!