East Coast of Scotland
There had been a lot less travel for the first part of October but still plenty of yoga. We were settled into Troon teaching yoga every week day and attending yoga class every Saturday morning for a couple of hours of postures, pranayama and meditation. We also practice Transcendental Meditation everyday. I highly recommend this as a practice and it has added to my daily life.
Over the last week or so we have been travelling around the East Coast of Scotland and a wee bit in the Highlands of Scotland too of course while teaching yoga.
The Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel
Our first visit was to the Kelpies, the 30 metre tall metallic horse sculptures Baron and Duke created by Andy Scott. They sit alongside the Forth and Clyde canal. We were lucky with the weather here and had a bit of a wander around before driving across town to the Falkirk Wheel.
The Falkirk Wheel is a magical feat of engineering that allows boats to move between the Union and Forth and Clyde canals which are at 2 very differing heights. This also towers at around 35 metres. It was a beautiful trip for an hour up and along the canal and back down to closer to sea level. It was easy to organise online and there was plenty of space on board for social distancing. They have a captain on the boat trip and give some useful info about the wheel while on board.
We drove on to Edinburgh which is only about an hour way from Falkirk.
As I lived in Edinburgh for a while and we have visited over the last few years a couple of times we wanted to do something a wee bit different so a visit the Surgeons' Hall Museums was in order. A fascinating museum which is an absolute must for medical professionals and those that are interested in anatomy and things in jars. I am a fan of different body parts in jars but also as a yoga teacher interested in anatomy.
The other lovely part about visiting Edinburgh is getting to catch up with different friends which we did in parks, one visit was a wee hike up Arthurs Seat was also on the cards in Edinburgh and we had the Scottish 4 seasons in one day with sunshine, wind, rain and rainbows. We did it quicker than I was expecting and the drove north to Dundee and the V & A Museum.
The V & A seems to be a marmite museum, you either love it or hate it. Personally I loved it, the exhibitions were great and it seemed quite a nice amount of time for a museum visit. We didn't do the special exhibition but the rest took us an hour. Well worth a visit. From here it was a straight drive to Aberdeen.
A few days in Aberdeen
Aberdeen was another pleasant surprise, we were based close to the city centre so we could walk everywhere. On our visit day we decided to take out couch to 5k to Footdee which is a lovely old fishing village at the River Dee with views over the sea. We did keep an eye out for dolphins but we were not lucky this time. We then continued our run along the promenade and back to the house. The rest of the day we spent dotting about the centre to the newly renovated Aberdeen Art Gallery which was fantastic and then to Old Aberdeen and St Machar's Cathedral, it was named as a cathedral in 1130 and has a fabulous graveyard if you are into that kind of thing. We walked for miles and Aberdeen is really good for walking. Yoga class was great and really helped to stretch out those leg muscles.
Another day in Aberdeen brought a different type of tour, we did a walking tour of the Nuart of Aberdeen. Nuart originally comes from Norway and has been part of Aberdeen's art scene since 2017. They bring art to the streets and you can walk around the city with a map checking out some of the different art on display. They bring a new exhibition every year and it's a really great way to get to know the city. We visited about 30 of the 38 pieces that are in the centre of Aberdeen.
Seemed hard to beat Aberdeen but we did our best driving to Inverness via a few different spots.
Seals and prisoners
First stop was the beach at Newburgh looking for grey and harbour seals, we got pretty lucky as there were a few seals bobbing about in the sea. Peterhead Prison was a real surprise, how interesting. They have earphones and a walking tour where they tell you about life in the prison and the prison riots and a tearoom at the end of the tour. We then took a beautiful drive along part of the North East 250 which had us passing through places like Pennan where Local Hero was filmed, what a beautiful village and through MacDuff and Banff where we hoped to see my Great Grandfather's bakery, but it was no longer there.
The final leg of our trip was from Inverness to Fort William via Loch Ness and although the weather had been excellent for all our trip this particular day it was a tad wet so we had a quick run around Inverness and then got in the car and headed to Loch Ness. Instead of going to the visitor centre we decided a visit to Urquhart Castle would be a better use of our time. Urquhart Castle was governed by Robert The Bruce in the 1300's but seems to have some Pictish remains dating back as far as 700AD. Although it was a very wet day the visit was great, it's a beautiful castle and its view over Loch Ness is absolutely stunning.
Fort William and a bit of hiking
It was still chucking it down when we arrived to Fort William so we headed into the hotel and sorted the room for our yoga class. It was quite a small room so there was a bit of manoeuvring of furniture and luggage was all stacked up in the bathroom, fortunately class the following day was cancelled so we could put it all back together to sleep at night.
Although I have spent a lot of time close to Fort William throughout my life I have never done any of the hikes around Fort William. We decided against Ben Nevis as winter days mean a lot less light and we still had to visit people and get to Glencoe so we found a pleasant hike around Cow Hill. We hiked straight up out of the Ben Nevis visitor centre carpark and to the Peat path which takes you to a junction which you either head to Cow Hill Summit or right to the Cow Hill circuit. We went to the summit which gives great views of Fort William and also Loch Linnhe. We then got a bit lost as I thought we could head over the top of the summit, instead we ended up walking through some quite deep mud and water going down the steep side of the hill, a bit of off road for a wee change. Deciding to head back we went back to the summit and down and did a tiny bit of the circuit, all in all about a 4 hour hike and getting on to about 14 kms (9 miles).
A short drive from Fort William is the lovely village of Kinlochleven where we visited a few people, and then headed for a Scottish staple of some lentil soup before heading to the Kings House hotel in Glencoe. We had booked a bunkhouse here pre covid as we had planned to do the West Highland Way and were just getting round to using the reservation. It’s a beautiful place within a wonderful remote location. As we had quite a big day there were early nights all round.
I am a massive fan of a hotel breakfast and Kings House does a good one. Not only do you have a massive selection of items on the breakfast menu you can also look at the window at the local wildlife and scenery. We were gifted with a number of deer and driving rain before heading home along Loch Lomond. It was mighty wet and pretty flooded but the roads were reasonably quiet.
Back to reality and the West Coast
We have been back a few days now and are working on our normal classes and a few other projects that we have going on. If anyone would be interested in our classes let us know or check out our availability here. https://blukiteyoga.com/yoga-classes/
You can also sign up for private classes here https://blukiteyoga.com/contact-us/ this is where you can also ask us questions about yoga classes or anything else really.