I guess because I did an okay job as coach leader last week the International Society asked me to lead a coach again this weekend. This time it was a weekend trip to Loch Ness. Yes. That means two whole days with a bus full of amazing International students on a great search to find Nessie: the Loch Ness Monster.
Friday, I spent the whole day in the library finishing an essay due on Monday so that I wouldn’t have a care in the world come the weekend. Now that it’s the future I can tell you that I successfully turned in the paper. So now and I can easily and comfortably tell you about my amazing weekend.
I woke up early Saturday morning to go meet the coaches. There were only two coaches for this trip since it required more preparation, needing a hostel and such for the overnight aspect. So, I was one of two coach leaders heading the weekend! I met up with Stewart – the coach driver I met last week – and he was really excited that we got to work together again. With his knowledge of Scotland and my enthusiasm and love of people, we made a perfect team.
I think throughout the whole weekend we saw a total of 3 rainbows. That just shows how great my life is. I LOVE RAINBOWS.
The first stop we made was in the small town of Pitlochry. We walked over the dam where there were some beautiful views:
And we visited the whiskey distillery. For some reason there was a kiddie table there which I thought was funny simply because we were at a whiskey distillery soooo I did a photo shoot with a friend.
We made a couple other stops including Blair Castle where we tried in vain to find some Highland cows and ended up just exploring the grounds and taking a big group photo:
All the castles in Scotland have a ton of history and are absolutely beautiful.
Next, we stopped in Aviemore for lunch. I enjoyed a delicious meal with friends but didn’t take any photos. Everywhere we go there are so many sights to see. I try not to spend too much time behind my camera but I still end up with tons and tons of photos from everywhere I go.
Our final stop for the day was in the northernmost city (not town) in the UK: the absolutely beautiful Inverness. We all got the keys to our hostel bedrooms, locked away our things, and then left to explore the city. The River Ness, which is the River which exits Loch Ness, flows through the city. We went on a walk alongside it, the “Ness Walk” and saw some pretty beautiful things. Here are my Inverness in daylight photos!
The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland!
Another Scottish whiskey quote…they never get old!
Featuring the beautiful River Ness!
And finally some pictures with the Log Ness Monster (i’m punny):
After we returned to the city centre we bought some wine and beer and spent the evening hours in the kitchen socializing with the entire group. It got a little crazy, but was also crazy fun!
Finally, he headed out into Inverness to check out the nightlife! At the first pub there was a live band playing popular and well-known tunes. I had so much fun dancing. One of my friends, the other group leader, told the live band that it was my birthday. They went on to play happy birthday to me as a lot of the pub sang along…my birthday is in 3 months but I didn’t tell anyone.
The second pub we went to also had a live band but they were playing more folksy music. He tried to tell them it was my birthday too but it didn’t work. I still got on stage to take pictures with the band and didn’t get in trouble which was a success.
By the time we got back to the hostel it was 1:30a.m. and I had to wake up around 7a.m. to help get breakfast on the table for another full day of adventuring to come!
Luckily when I woke up my adrenaline and energy was still pumping from the night before. I helped with breakfast, packed up my things, and got all of the people on the buses. When I asked the bus if they had had a fun night some people starting singing happy birthday to me – they had been in the pub the night before. I told the entire bus that they were invited to my birthday party 3 months in advance. I wasn’t kidding.
Then we set off to Loch Ness! On the first stop I took my goldfish with me out of the bus and tried to use them to coax Nessie out of the water. Then I took a photoshoot with my goldfish. I don’t understand myself.
Then we went to the Nessie Exhibition Center and Nessie shop so we could try to fake photos with the Nessie they had set up there and buy all the Nessie related souvenirs. I got a cute mug but I almost left with the whole shop. They know what they’re doing.
Our next stop was Urquhart Castle. This is a huge and amazing castle that overlooks the Loch. It was a spectacular site but this is also the part of the day when I crashed. All the lack of sleep hit me and I struggled to keep my energy as I explored the castle – even vowing off stairs for the rest of my life only to realize I’d only see this castle once and should probably climb more stairs. It was a bit of a struggle but in the end I’m glad that I got to see such a cool castle and that I forced myself through it!
Our final stop along Loch Ness was Fort Augustus for lunch. I tried to give myself a boost of energy by eating a huge burger and side order of chips(fries) which definitely helped with the final Nessie photoshoot and the goodbye to the Loch.
I can’t say for certain if I spotted Nessie. However, I do understand why the legend of Nessie exists for this particular Loch. There were lots of ripples, bumps, and shadows constantly on the Loch. Every little blurp in the Loch made my head turn – could that be the monster? Could that? Also, Loch Ness is the deepest loch in Scotland, containing more water than all the lakes in England and Wales. Also, it never freezes. I think it’s the perfect hiding place/home for a cryptozoological animal.
The trip home had a couple more stops in the Highlands of Scotland including the Spean Bridge, Commando Memorial, and Glencoe (which I visited last week). These were all beautiful but at this point I was dead to the world and spent most of the coach ride dead asleep.
I met lots and lots of people this weekend – one of the many perks of getting to lead a coach. I also saw some beautiful Scottish scenery.
This was possibly maybe my last trip with the International Society (depending on my schedule the next few weekends) but I’m forever indebted to them for the amazing trips I’ve been on in this first two months of my Scottish adventure.
It’s flying by so quickly but I’m also doing so much and meeting so many people. Study abroad is so worth it, guys. It’s so so worth it.