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  • Writer's picturePamela Lawton

Travels around the UK

The Edinburgh area has some amazing historical, artistic and naturalistic sites to explore. On two occasions I was able to travel with my sponsor Professor/Dean Rowena Arshad and her husband to Portobello Beach (which I later visited with Eric) and Roslyn Chapel of the "Davinci Code" fame.

In addition to making several trips to London in preparation for my Tate Exchange project and exploring Edinburgh, there were some iconic sites I wanted to see while in the UK. Stonehenge and Bath--two mystical places I'd read about, the isle of Skye, unspoiled highland beauty and the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. During our Fulbright endcap meeting in Glasgow at the end of June, I was able to take 3 days to travel to Skye on a Rabbie's bus tour. Eric and I took a Rabbie's tour to Stirling, the Kelpies and Loch Lomond in March and I really liked their intimate tours. I really lucked out because the weather was the warmest and sunniest they'd had there, so the landscape was even more stunning. 16 people took the tour and stayed in a variety of small hotels in the town of Portree, capital city of Skye. It was a long drive, but on the way there we were able to take the only remaining small ferry boat over to the island from the mainland (Eric and I had seen a special about this ferry on TV!) The water was crystal clear and filled with jellyfish and small minnow-like fish that the ferry border collies tried to catch. The 3-day trip included up close views of Ben Nevis--the UK's highest mountain, the 5 Sisters of Kintail mountain range, the Quiraing Mountain Pass, The Old Man of Storr rock formation, Kilt rock and waterfall, and the dinosaur prints on the beach there, Eilean Donan Castle, the fairy glen and fairy pools--it was so warm I put my feet in and a young couple stripped to their civvies and swam; the valley of Glencoe where the MacDonald clan was virtually wiped out by the Campbells and of course Loch Ness.

After a very fulfilling but exhausting end to my Tate Exchange project, Eric and I took a one-day bus tour to Bath (popular in Jane Austin and Georgette Heyer novels) and Stonehenge before heading back to Edinburgh via London City airport. It was a long day, a bit cloudy, but warm and well worth it.

My last major commitment was presenting at an international learning conference on some of the concepts from our book on CBAE at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Considering over quarter of my heritage is Irish and I strongly suspect Scots-Irish (Ulster, NI) I was eager to go. The conference was very enlightening and I took an extra day to take a one-day tour of the Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. I also spent some time in the Scots-Irish heritage center. Definitely have to get back to Northern Ireland and see the Republic of Ireland as well.

The Giant's Causeway, built by the mythical Finn McCool

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