A trip up north – munro’s, midges, and festival madness

Driving north for my annual pilgrimage to Scotland is something I look forward to. This year especially, as the Edinburgh Fringe was back in full swing. What was particularly good was combining an array of shows with time in nature. In my mind, the perfect combination!

I’m fortunate to have friends with a lovely house (and driveway) on which to park my ‘van, a 15 minute train ride to the centre of Edinburgh. They’re busy with children and business responsibilities (aka real life…) but they were coaxed out for an evening or two. Thanks for having me guys.

Show wise, there is a staggering variety to choose from. Too much in some respect. From stand-up comedy to Burlesque ballet, there’s something for everyone. I was blown away by Freedom Ballet, entertained by the ‘on the spot’ genius of Abandoman, disappointed by a hip-hop-street-dancing-magician, and laughed / grimaced in equal measure at an Aussie comedian that had a raw take on life in suburbia.

On the flip side, there was a bin strike taking place during the last 2 weeks of the festival. The strikes came about because of the cost-of-living-crisis in Britain. Perhaps beyond the scope of this humble post, but it is a reflection of what is happening in the UK right now. Attempts were made by people to supply occasional bins bags but it was an eye opener to see streets streaming with rubbish. Does anyone else feel like we are going backwards….?

On a positive note, another highlight was time spent in nature. A 90-minute drive from the city takes you deep into the Trossachs – an area of wooded glens, braes (hillsides), and lochs lying to the east of Ben Lomond. A far cry from the city. Ben Lomand was my first Munro to hike (a mountain above 3000 feet). This was followed by a standup paddle board session on Loch Lomand – truly stunning scenery.

From here was a drive to another part of the national park and a hike to take on a double Munro – Ben Vorlich and Stùc a’ Chròin. I met another solo hiker on-route, and we shared the 6 hour loop round, only getting lost once during the 15km jaunt. Again, the scenery was breathtaking. And this is Scotland ‘in miniature…..’

So that’s it. Another adventure in the bag. A quick trip back to the city for a look at Edinburgh (post festival) was the final item on the agenda before returning south to the Midlands. In summary, Edinburgh (and Scotland) is an epic place to spend time. Festival or not, it’s another recommendation if you chance…just watch out for the midges….

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