Scotland Day #11: Exeunt Barefooted Girl and Red-Jacketed Man
September 30, 2014 § Leave a comment
Day Eleven: AKA The Last Day.
It was bittersweet, and already from dawn did we feel the diminuendo of the trip, of the thrill, of the timelapse that we experienced on this great island. But we did our best to stretch it out.
After a very long morning of breakfasts (yes, multiple) and lounging in the conservatory (I have always wanted to say that), reading travel books and listening to the rain pounding on the metal roof above us, we packed up our things into the car and continued through the Lothians, south. After a few minutes, we entered the Lammermuir Hills, which was kind of almost exactly like I have always imagined them to be in Lucia di Lammermoor.
For our midday hike, we stopped by St. Abbs, a tiny harbor just a couple of miles north of the Scotland-England border.
There wasn’t much to it other than a cafe’ and a few boats- which was exactly as it should have been:
This one was my favorite:
Although I much preferred stalking the sea gulls in the harbor and watching them scream at each other like an old married couple:
From the harbor was a walking path that continued along the coast for a long, long time.
There is a nature reserve stretching up from St. Abb’s, complete with a loch and the usual herds of sheep:
… and the last lighthouse for us on this trip:
It was a quirky little structure, not any bigger than a shed, and without the tower. Just a light booth perched upon the hill, with a foghorn (apparently, Scotland’s first audible fog signal) a few feet below it. Not exactly what I was expecting, especially considering that it was designed by the Stevenson brothers (whose daddy was the genius of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, which is practically the opposite of this cute, compact structure)… but, somehow, it was the perfect surprise to the end of our Grand Coastal Lighthouse Adventure.
After that, it was time to hike back against impressive winds:
Then we drove through some army-style pig farms:
, and crossed over into England. The next few hours consisted of rain, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and bags of potato chips in every possible imaginable flavour (and more). At the end of the day, we arrived in Nottingham and its invisible castle, staying with a couple of Couchsurfers who greeted us with homemade falafel and oatmeal cookies and life lessons and language lessons that lasted late into the night.
As we collapsed onto our squeaky air mattress and set the alarm for four hours later, we thought about just how big and impressive our Scottish loop was. In the eleven days that passed since we landed in the East Midlands and drove west, and then north, we were nothing but flabbergasted and on a perpetual high of life and beauty and love and digestive cookies and everything great. And then we drove, in considerably less days, east, and then south, and our high lowered with our latitude. And, now we were back where we started from- but had so much inbetween. So many adventures and landscapes and laughs and lifetimes, that it seemed almost crude to separate them back into days. So many different night accommodations and so many different breakfasts and so many different sunsets and so many different accents, that tracing our frenzied route on a map on the airplane back to Italy felt impossibly detached.
This was a short, compact trips, and not my usual type of travel. And yet… even this little bite of Scotland was enough to make me fall in love with it and try plotting a way to return- for much, much longer.