Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Things to do in Scotland

Scotland, the land of fabled battlefields, Loch Ness Monster, and blaring bagpipes is one country that hides its charms beyond its wildly romantic mountains. It’s a great destination – one that filled with history, Highland cattle, amazing landscapes, and ghostly castles. Scotland has a lot of charming evergreen lush forests and secluded pristine beaches which makes make Scotland unique.

What so special about Scotland? A typical tour in Scotland includes epic battlefields where clans fought fiercely against the English and literary trails where Sir Walter Scot and Robbie Burns once trotted. There are spectacular remote purple colored moors and untouched forests all waiting to be explored. If these don’t entice you to visit the country of famous skirted knights, then nothing will. Here are some of the best places in Scotland.

Isle of Skye

To start the Scotland adventure, Isle of Skye ranks at the very top of the list among nature lovers. This place boasts of very beautiful mountain scenery, evergreen forests, and mysterious caves. Known as the “Cloud Island”, it’s the largest inner isles in Scotland. The Isle of Skye, by its Viking name “Sküyo” is famous for its heavy mists that often hide the isle, where majestic waterfalls and pristine beaches are all located in this magnificent isle.

The series of clear emerald pools is what makes the Isle of Skye even more attractive to adventure seeker tourists. With just a few miles hike, tourists can continue their adventure into Coire na Creiche which takes them into the majestic Cuillin Mountains without any difficulty. Follow the sign at the forestry car park from Sligachan into Glenbrittle.

The Northern Highlands

Located in the city of Inverness all the way to Thurso, the Northern Highlands rests at the northern peak of the Scottish Mainland. This place has the most scenic view; one can be fully enjoyed through riding a bike or by walking on its many trails. There are many picturesque villages and small towns along its skirts which serve as a quick getaway and resting place for the big hike ahead. The most rewarding view one can get is from the coastal town of Dornoch with its cathedral and castle ruins. Extending from Inverness on the east and crossing over to the Corpach near the western coast of Fort William, tourists can find the ancient fault line which gives birth to the Caledonian Canal.

Edinburgh Castle

Tourists may encounter several castles while in Scotland, but the Edinburgh Castle is not something they should ignore. It’s most popular fortress in the country and played a very vital role during the reign of King David I during the 12th Century. The castle stands as the most prominent national monument in Scotland. Sitting atop of the extinct volcano, Edinburgh Castle has one of the most spectacular views overlooking Princes Street, Holyroodhouse, Royal Mile, and other notable city landmarks.

Its entrance is well guarded by two bronze statues of their national heroes, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. Both fought viciously and defeated English invaders during the later 13th century until the early 14th century. Tourists are greeted with a grand entrance through a drawbridge which crosses an old moat. The best time to visit the palace is during the month of August when they held the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Ride the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig

There’s not a single Harry Potter fan in the world that doesn’t recognize this famous Jacobite Steam Train. Aside from its worldwide famous role, the train pass has a lot of very scenic views. The six-hour return journey which starts at Ben Nevis in Fort William, Glenfinnan Viaduct which was featured in the Harry Potter films, to the Morar before arriving in the fishing port of Mallaig, commuters are well treated with beautiful landscapes and majestic sceneries.

Visit Inverness to see Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle

For centuries, the Loch Ness monster sparked controversies and many curious urban legend seekers. Many think of Loch Ness as a mythical monster hiding in deep cold waters of secluded lakes. But there’s no place on earth that does better in telling its story, and something proof of the urban legend than Drumnadrochit Hotel’s Loch Ness Exhibition. Another favorite tourist destination is the ruins of Urquhart Castle. This much-photographed castle sits on top of land overlooking the loch. With its history and mysterious ambiance makes the Inverness a unique attraction in Scotland.

Trossachs National Park

Trossachs National Park is the every anglers dream; plentiful harvests of whitefish, trout, and salmon. Located about 14 miles north of Glasgow, Loch Lomond is considered as Britain’s largest lake. It has the most scenic view for a fisherman, its beautiful mountain slopes and streams will never bore anglers. Many would brave some water activities and hikers love its luscious greeneries.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Things to do in Wales

Everyone that’s been to Wales tells the same exact thing, it’s a beautiful country full of luscious greeneries, fairytales like castles and natural drama. There are a lot of fun outdoor activities – from its sandy beaches to its majestic mountain ranges; Wales is one country that literally goes down in the history of humankind. Its stories had been told in many ancient monuments and museums. The bold and the brave, travel to Wales to find its romantic charm captivating. Castles and different monuments are its biggest attractions, while some go in for a more adventurous journey. Wales is a country full of wonderful natural sceneries. Here are some of the most notable castles and grounds to visit in Wales.

Caernarfon Castle

Built as a military stronghold between 1283 and 1330 and designed by Master James of St. George from Savoy, Caernarfon Castle functions, the Caernarfon Castle was the center of the government and a royal palace. Its ancient walls and tower were extraordinary and remain as one of the most complete and impressive castles in Britain. The charm of the 5th-century architecture of Constantinople in Istanbul still echoes of its color bonded masonry. Its polygonal towers are reminiscent of the ancient tales of the influence of early civilizations.

If only walls can talk, the castle can tell much of its many murder plots of the nobles and known heroes of the ancient times. In 1404, it repelled the army of Owain Glyndŵr's with only 28 men. The castle had endured and resisted three sieges during the English Civil War before succumbing to Cromwell’s army in 1646. With such great history and architecture design, Wales had well preserved its beauty, however, empty it may seem.

The Eagle Tower remains as the best place to start your journey. Its entrance marked with one flagpole to the right and turrets where you can spot the weathered eagle, where it gets its namesake. Inside there are exhibits about Eleanor of Castile and the Welsh version ‘Game of Thrones’. On the other side the castle known as the Queen’s Tower, you will find Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers with different exhibits showcasing many uniforms, medals, weapons, and other historical displays.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & Canal World Heritage Site

Thomas Telford, a Georgian engineer built the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in 1805 to carry the canal over the River Dee. Measuring about 307 meters long, 3.6m wide, 1.7 meters deep and standing at 38 meters high, this engineering marvel of that time is the highest canal aqueduct ever built on the entire UK. Because of its feat, considering the resources and machinery available at that time, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During 18th-century horse-drawn canal barge was the main mode of transporting goods but it was soon replaced with the introduction of the railway systems. Telford designed the canal to connect haulage routes between River Dee, Severn and Mersey. With these, he even built Horseshoe Falls to gather water for the canal from the River Dee. It used to carry drinking water from River Dee to the Hurleston Reservoir located in Cheshire. Today, its riverbank is a great place to have a picnic and to rest tired feet from all those walking.

Visiting this vertigo-inducing canal needs a head for heights, as you can walk in its paths for miles free of charge. There are blue-badge guides that offer guided tours near the aqueduct. You can also find canal boat rides which feature trips along the ‘stream in the sky’.

Great Orme Mines

The Great Orme Mines is the largest prehistoric mine ever discovered to date. Located near the top of Great Orme, it has a paved car park for visitors. The place is one of the most recommended places in Wales, wherein the 4,000 years old mine serves as a great important discovery in history. The mines run about 5 miles and were dug for over centuries using only stones and bones in search of copper. There’s a self-guided tour explaining about how rocks turned into copper at the smelting site which can last for about 45 minutes. You can also head further 200 meters down in its 3500-year-old tunnels to learn more about the ancient miners.

St David's Cathedral

Hidden behind high walls, St David's Cathedral is virtually invisible to all. Built within a 6th-century chapel, the cathedral dates from 12th to 14th century and emits an air of antiquity and deep historical importance. The unconventional site was chosen to protect the cathedral from Viking raiders, but it was ransacked more than five times. Weathered and in poor condition, Sir George Gilbert Scott made extensive works to stabilize the building.

Once you entered the wall, the stone walls of the cathedral come into view. Its beauty and atmosphere emit reminiscent of the ancient times. The cathedral has four pointed ethereal purple stone and a rich carving in its 16-century oak ceiling adorned with pendants.