With a week off between the end of exams and the beginning of my final year research project, I was keen to use the time off to explore a bit more of Scotland.
Jules and I spent the first half of our week exploring the small winding streets of Edinburgh. One of the things that I really loved about this great city was its various levels. On arriving to a crossroads, instead of choosing whether to continue on, turn left, right or simply turn around, you instead have the choice to go on, turn left, right, back, up and down. Edinburgh truly is a city that lives and thrives in all three dimensions.
Another highlight of Edinburgh is the Waters of Leith pathway which offers up a chance to escape the bustle of the cobbled streets. This section between Dean Village and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is particularly picturesque.
Unfortunately, after making our way there... we discovered that the gallery was in fact rehanging all of their galleries. Oh. Luckily, we did have a chance to walk through the grounds though, which were not being rehung!
Check out this cheeky sculpture by Gormley.
Next up: the Royal Botanic Gardens, which even in Winter was a pleasure to walk through. Although not run, running is banned - something Jules and I learnt firsthand the day after our visit.
The gardens feature some interesting architecture and also plant graves, lots of plant graves.
After spending the first half of our time off in Edinburgh, we picked up a hire car and drove over to the Isle of Skye to visit Jules' mum and family.
Naturally, the highlands provided some excellent scenery to keep us entertained.
After getting settled in, we set out with Jules family (including the dogs) and went for a "short" walk in the forestry commission in Glen Eynort.
Our last full day was spent walking up the Quiraing on the north side of the island.
The island seemed to be proving point and luckily the weather cleared up. Even from about a quarter of the way up, the views were incredible.
And they only got better...
Once we got back down to the cars, we raced over the hill to Uig to try and catch the sun setting over the bay. Although we didn't quite make it, the view was still spectacular.
And the drive back to the house was incredible as the rolling landscape of the island was bathed in colour.
The next morning (after bacon and eggs), we were heading back to Edinburgh. This time driving via Glencoe and Loch Lomond. The beautiful landscapes really do make travelling in Scotland really enjoyable - definitely beats the M6!
The Isle of Skye and with it, the rest of Scotland, is fast becoming one of my favourite places to visit. As a city boy, born and bred in London, Scotland couldn't be anymore of a polar opposite But, maybe that's why my love for it actually makes a lot of sense.