Meet the Parent

Scotland is small. If you tore it off from England and dumped it in outback Australia, it would take the Federal Police, Interpol and a hoarde of alsatians ten years to ever track it down again. But this tiny country is crammed with mind-blowing beauty and contrast. We only had a week with The Mothership so we wanted to force-feed her as much of it as possible.

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It's ridiculous after just one year how protective you feel about a place. Mum would make an innocent comment like, "It's raining" or "Why are all the buildings so grey" or "HOW much for a cup of coffee?" and we would snap and splutter defensively, like she was a playground bully picking on our baby brother. Even though we'd whinged about the very same things when we arrived last year.

It also felt like Scotland was our new boyfriend and parental approval was pending. We desperately wanted her to be impressed. The first Saturday we stopped briefly in South Queensferry beneath the Forth Bridges. Rhi and I loathe how every tourist bus stops at the stupid bridges, but now we wanted Mum to love them.

"The orange one is the rail bridge. It's the greatest feat of Victorian engineering. Built in 1890. Look at it. LOOK AT IT!"

"I'm looking!"

"Aren't you going to take another photo?"

This continued as we trundled around the gentle greenness of Perthshire. Look at the cows. Look at the castle. Are you looking? And again as we wound our way through the Highlands. Look at that Loch. Get a load of that Glen.

We were exhausted as we headed for the Isle of Skye and let the scenery speak for itself. The peaks of Glen Shiel loomed over and made me feel deliciously small and insignificant. Our rented car had felt quite big and fancy back on the streets of Edinburgh, but now it was just a silly little box of metal sitting on top of a silly little road that made barely made a scratch on the landscape.

Skye itself was shrouded with thunderclouds which made for a brilliant contrast against the aqua water. We passed the Cuillins, all black and menacing and streaked with snow.

"It's the Cuillins, Ma," I announced, with such ridiculous pride you'd think I'd given birth to them myself. "Don't you think they're beautiful? Huh huh?"

A few days later we wound up on the Isle of Mull, as scenic as Skye but more raw and rugged. The weather got progressively worse as we drove across to Fionnphort, the car wobbling over the single track road. But all I could do was gawk out the window and feel that incredible buzz that comes from seeing something so new, coupled with a slight panic that you won't get to see it all before you get deported.

The wind ripped the car doors open as we pulled up at the ferry port. My arm sprang out like a Hitler salute as I pointed across the water to the Isle of Iona.

"Look at the view!" I barked at The Mothership. "LOOK AT IT!"

(To be continued. I'm sleepy.)

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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14 thoughts on “Meet the Parent

  1. I’d love to visit Scotland too. I mean I know I live there but I don’t ‘see’ Scotland as often as I should.

  2. Damn. So have to get out from among the smarmy smart-arse southerners and get up there and amongst it.

    Soon as exams are over, dammit …

  3. excellent post! i feel exactly the same way when my swedish family visit me in france, and for some reason swedes feel they should’nt be impressed by anything french…

    i so recognize myself in the barking!

  4. Shauny brings a new style and panache to the job of Scottish tourist guide. I have this image of you standing leading 20 American tourists standing in front of Edinburgh Castle going “Look at it… LOOK AT IT!!!!!”

  5. Lovely descriptions, Shauny. It’s a lovely thought that you can become attached to something as a second home, I think. Shows us we have the capacity to be comfy anywhere, and makes the world a less lonely place. Or something.

  6. Shauny, I need your help. You would know. How does one pronounce, “Kirkcaldy”? I’m reading the works of Ian Rankin and in one of the books Inspector Rebus laughed to himself as a Londoner mispronounced Kirkcaldy. You must spell it phonetically for me so that I get some idea. I’m going crazy. Kirk-cay-dee? Kirk-caddy? Cockadoodledo? Aurgh!

  7. I grew up thinking all spectacular scenery was made to be enjoyed through a veil of mist (read, driving rain). In fact, I have never seen Oban dry and am adept at eating picnics in the back seat of my dad’s cortina.

  8. I was so impressed with Edinburgh and Scotland – a beautiful, beautiful country with some of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. No amount of reading or words prepare you for the real thing: the reality that is Scotland. (the Highlands are high, for God’s sake!)Awesome!
    I want to do it all again soon
    Love to you Shauny! (and Rhi)

  9. I grew up in Scotia and never really thought about it the way you and Rhi did.

    But when my sis and herhusband came over to mine in St.Kilda I drove them up and down the gret ocean road almost shouting “Appreciate it ya wee shites”
    I was insufferable.

    the shame

    pol x

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