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My Trip to Scotland

Updated on August 22, 2016
My Grandpa Anderson in his Scottish kilt as a child. The original picture hangs in my father's home.
My Grandpa Anderson in his Scottish kilt as a child. The original picture hangs in my father's home.

Bagpipes, men in skirts, and haggis, myths and legends from centuries ago; clan competitions and visiting the Scottish highlands where Harry Potter and Brave Heart were filmed, what's not to love about Scotland?

A land with a strong national identity, a Scottish culture that you can still experience all over the place when you visit even today.

We traveled from Hawaii to Utah to pick up Dad, then from Salt Lake City to Boston, Boston to Paris, and Paris to Edinburgh, Scotland. After about 20 hours of flying, we made it!

Just as a side note, my father went sky diving for his 80th birthday, so for him it was like a walk in the park (he did better than I did with my bum knee).

In 2009, I had the chance to travel to Scotland with my father and my husband. It had been a life-long dream for my father, who was in his eighties.

The Clan Anderson, from which we descend, is otherwise known as the MacAndrew family meaning the 'son of Andrew'. My great-great grandfather was born in Baillieston, which is a suburb of Glasgow, Scotland We were blessed to be able to visit the area where he was raised.

My ancestors left Scotland, and followed the Mormon pioneers across the plains to Utah in the 1800s. My grandparents settled in Sanpete County, and raised sheep. Both of my Anderson grandparents went to university. My grandpa taught school for many years, but still raised his sheep on the farm, along with chickens and a lovely flower and vegetable garden. I have happy memories of visiting with them.

baillieston scotland:
Baillieston, Glasgow, Glasgow City, UK

get directions

The Castles

My favorite thing we did in Scotland was to visit the castles. I think we might have visited ten, and I was up for more, but my father and husband had seen enough.

With over 15,000 buildings listed as "historic" and a huge castle dominating the skyline, Edinburgh is capital of Scotland. The Royal Mile is a street downtown Edinburgh which leads up to the Edinburgh Castle. The road is made of cobblestones and is quite a steep climb. It is full of museums and quaint shops and restaurants. We stopped at one fish and chips place and was surprised at the size of the fish they served with long fries. An their tartar sauce was amazing.

James VI was born at the Edinburgh Castle. He later became James I of England and united England and Scotland under one crown. There are still life statues in the castle depicting the many royal affairs that occurred there. There is also a dungeon, royal crowns and scepters, and even the royal jewels. Outside in the yard, there are cannons with real cannon balls, and you can get a great view of the city below. There are buildings dating in the 1500s that have been preserved and restored. The architecture includes intricately carved stones.

One of the many castles we visited - Stirling Castle
One of the many castles we visited - Stirling Castle | Source

The Highlands

Second to the castles, I would have to say I loved the Scottish highlands. From Edinburgh to the highlands is a drive of about two hours. We traded our timeshare in Las Vegas, Nevada for a timeshare up in the highlands. It was an older building set up against a mountain and overlooking an incredibly beautiful lake. As we drove on the winding road to our accomodations, there were plenty of rolling hills with flocks of sheep and beautiful wild flowers everywhere. There are forests with moss growing on the trees and even ferns, which we see in Hawaii, but didn't expect in Scotland.

We loved listening to the local radio stations as we drove, and trying to make sense of it all. The Scottish dialect is a wee bit different than American English, and they have their own terms for many things, so we had to listen intently to get the drift of things. Scottish Gaelic is similar to Irish. We found that the language changed depending on where you were from in Scotland. We used Sterling pounds as coinage, but visa was also accepted at most places.

The view from our timeshare in the highlands of Scotland
The view from our timeshare in the highlands of Scotland | Source
Beautiful rolling hills of Scotland
Beautiful rolling hills of Scotland | Source
Pretty Bells
Pretty Bells | Source
Entrance to the Butterfly Garden
Entrance to the Butterfly Garden | Source

The Flowers

Because I am a flower lover, I totally enjoyed visiting several of the gardens of Scotland. One particular one, called the Butterfly Garden stands out to me. I was in heaven with all the varieties of trees, plants and flowers.

A graveyard next to the Garden
A graveyard next to the Garden | Source

Have you been to Scotland?

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Double-decker Buses

Probably next on my list of favorite things to do in Scotland would be to ride in the double deck buses. You could see so much better from that high up, and we didn't have to worry about driving on the opposite side of the road than we were used to, or maneuvering our car around the roundabouts at many intersections.

You could see the amazing cathedrals, lush parks and interesting people from top of the high buses.

Double Decker Buses
Double Decker Buses | Source

After being in Scotland, I thought of the sacrifice my ancestors made as they left their beautiful land and ended up in the desert land of Utah. I'm so glad I got to visit this incredible place, and hope to be able to return again some day.

Surprise, surprise! We thought we were going to visit the land of our forefathers, the Clan Anderson, but we also found that some of my husband's clan hails from Scotland too. His mother's father's name is Brown, (Scottish Brun) and we found that his great-great grandfather lived in Scotland!

It is good to have at least one thing checked off from my bucket list, but it has made we want to visit several other countries, including Ireland, England, and many others.

We purchased some plaid scarfs and hats. There were many people walking around in their kilts and some sharing their talents on the bagpipes. What a fun magical place Scotland is!

Who is your favorite movie star from Scotland

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Submit a Comment
  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thank you alancaster149 for the enlightenment. You are quite the history buff. I would love to spend more time traveling, especially Denmark, England and Ireland. Hopefully some day. My son currently lives in Egypt and that is next on our radar. Aloha!

  • alancaster149 profile image

    Alan R Lancaster 

    6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

    Interesting and amusing Hub, Elayne. A bit of a culture shock for you I believe. I've never been to Edinburgh, just Glasgow (for a Status Quo concert), but I think the Royal Mile is pretty much UP-town Edinburgh. It's the des res area of Edinburgh.

    Scots' English was learned from Northumbrian refugees fleeing William I's 'harrying of the North' in 1069, which is where you get similarities like 'burn', 'lasses', 'lads', 'bairns' etc (words in common usage down as far south as Doncaster, Sheffield and Barnsley).

    It was the Highland Clearances that brought about migration across the 'Pond', where clan chiefs decided to use their land for grazing sheep (cheap to keep) and the crofters were moved to the coast or cleared off out of the Highlands altogether, which probably explains why your ancestor ended up in Glasgow before emigrating.

    Scotland's history can be confusing, as the Scots themselves aren't native to the mainland (the first Scots king north of the border was Kenneth MacAlpin who wrested the throne from the Picts in AD843). Before that the place was anybody's with a big enough army, including the Norsemen who took Caithness and Sutherland as well as Orkney, Shetland, Lewis and Man.

  • Silva Hayes profile image

    Silva Hayes 

    7 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

    I too need to return to Scotland, Elayne. Also meant to describe our accommodations on the train. We had a sleeping compartment, two single beds made up with crisp white sheets and plaid blankets. It was like being in a movie.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Sounds like you had a fun trip - seems to me like a dream too. That's why I need to return to Scotland again. Thanks for sharing your experience, Silva.

  • Silva Hayes profile image

    Silva Hayes 

    7 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

    Lovely hub. I visited Scotland once and it was like a dream. I didn't get to stop off anywhere; we took the bullet train from England to Inverness and then a bus to Loch Ness, which I have always wanted to see. We stayed at a B&B in Inverness. The people all over the town were wonderful to us. Oddly enough, American rock music was playing everywhere we went. We were too poor to travel all around the land ... the only reason we were able to go was that I won a trip for two from American Airlines but we had to pay for food and lodging; only the airline tickets were included. I was too excited to sleep on that train and I watched the land fly by in the moonlight. Magic.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Just got back from the big town, Honolulu, and was surprised to see so many comments. Than you all for your great comments and votes. I really appreciate it and hope you all will get to visit Scotland soon.

  • anndavis25 profile image


    7 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

    Oh the greens. Your photos are wonderful. So happy you got to visit such a spectacular place. A wonderful thing for grandpa too.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I don't know what it is about the British Isles that attracts me so much, particularly Ireland and Scotland. I loved watching the British production of Robin Hood which aired in the 80s. I could have descendants who hail from that part of the world, but for many African Americans, who are on average 25% European, you hit "the wall" at some point in a genealogy search and can only go back so far.

    So I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip. Your photos are wonderful (I'm heading over to Smilebox to see the rest). The one taken from your accommodations overlooking the lake reminds me of the Ko'olaus on a cloudy day.

    Voted up and interesting.

  • KimberlyLake profile image

    Kimberly Lake 

    7 years ago from California

    Wonderful hub. Scotland is on my list of places to visit. I love the history and castles. Voted up.

  • LianaK profile image


    7 years ago

    Wonderful hub! I hope to someday soon visit these beautiful places that you photographed! Wonderful hub.

  • Lady_E profile image


    7 years ago from London, UK

    I am glad you enjoyed. It's a beautiful place to visit, particularly in the Spring/Summer. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos too.

    Sean Connery is my favourite Scottish movie star.

    Great Hub.

  • Cassie Ann profile image

    Cassie Ann 

    7 years ago

    How wonderful for you. I love castles too and would love to visit Scotland. Your photos show that it is an absolutely beautiful place that I hope to explore one day. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Your trip sounds like a dream come true. I would love to take that trip and some of my ancestors are from Scotland also. I loved each one of your pictures. The castles look fabulous. Thank you for sharing this wonderful adventure.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I am glad you got one thing checked off on your bucket list that was so imortant to you! Great story and pictures! Voted up!

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I agree with you about the valleys and lochs. So peaceful. Good luck with your plans, diogenes. Aloha!

  • diogenes profile image


    7 years ago from UK and Mexico

    Hi. One man's meat and all that.

    I can understand you'all liking Scotland with the ancesteral links and all Americans should probably visit the Auld Country once.

    You'd soon get sick of it if you lived there, espacially after Oahu.

    I was stationed there in the navy (Rosythe, near Edinburgh) just long enough to hate the place.

    I would go and live in one of the mini-climate oasis' in the valleys between the mountains and own a boat on one of the fact am thinking of it among about 20 other unlikely to occur plans.

    Lovely pictures.



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