The Plan For Our Upcoming 10th Anniversary Trip

Avery and Ian in Scotland, 2007

Our 10th Anniversary Trip is now less than a month away, and I’m getting so excited. We’ve been planning our adventure since January, when I saw this cabin rental in remote Scotland and booked it on a whim. Here’s hour our plans are shaping up:

A *daytime* transatlantic flight
Most overseas flights departing from Toronto are at night. You get on the plane at 8 or 9pm, and fly for 7 hours. When you land, it’s morning in your arrival city, but only 3am in your gut. You’re tired, and you have to force yourself to stay awake. If you can sleep on the plane, this isn’t so bad… but Ian can never sleep on planes (even with the help of a mild sedative). So when he arrives, he’s not just jet-lagged, he’s also sleep deprived. Not a great way to start a holiday.

So for this trip, we’re flying on points and had the option of doing a daytime flight (normally more expensive, but points made it possible). We leave Toronto at 9am, and get to London at 9pm local time. It will feel like 4pm in our guts, so we’ll stay up a bit and then sleep in the next morning. Jet lag, yes. But sleep deprivation… here’s hoping not.

Four nights in London
We’ve travelled a fair bit and seen a lot of wonderful places, but never been to London (a layover at Heathrow doesn’t count). We booked an Airbnb in hip Shoreditch to use as our home base while we walk our feet off exploring the city. I learned a long time ago to pace myself while travelling, and not try to see too much – that results in exhaustion, overwhelm and frustration. Instead I’m looking forward to checking out a few sights (Westminster Abbey, the Churchill War Rooms, the British Museum and the Tate Modern are high on our list), doing some shopping, maybe seeing some theatre, and eating and drinking well.

A cheap-o flight to Edinburgh
We booked a ridiculously cheap flight from London to Edinburgh on Ryanair. Ian and I toured Scotland on our honeymoon, and spent two nights in Edinburgh then. It’s a gorgeous city and we’re looking forward to being back for a night. I’ve booked us in at the design-y Tigerlily Hotel for something fun and different.

(Hopefully scenic) train ride from Edinburgh to Inverness
We need to get to Inverness to rent a car and stock up on supplies before heading to our cabin, and figured it would be cool to take the train from Edinburgh to Inverness. The trip a little less than 4 hours, and goes right through the Cairngorns. I’m hoping for some gorgeous scenery.

The main event: a week in the remote Scottish Highlands
After we pick up our car rental in Inverness, we head a few hours west to the Applecross Peninsula and the tiny town of Ardheslaig to stay at this jaw-droppingly beautiful cabin for a week. We’re looking forward to relaxing, hiking, driving the Bealach na Bà and other insane mountain roads, visiting white sand beaches, eating well on the Isle of Skye, taking a boat tour of the lochs, and drinking all the single malts I can handle.

There’s a reason why filmmakers, artists, photographers, writers, and poets are captivated by the Highlands. It sounds beyond cornball, but there really is something mystic and magical about the ruggedness of the landscape, the fog hanging in the mountain valleys, the weather that blows in with no notice, the spectacular cliffs and deep lakes, and the wonderful people of Scotland. It’s one of my favourite places on the planet and I cannot wait to go back and soak it all in.

And then home again
After a week in Scotland, and almost two weeks since we will have left Canada, we’ll be returning to Inverness to drop off our car rental and fly from Inverness to London, and then London to Toronto. I’m sure I’ll be sad to head home, but happy to see Clara and Isabel the dog.

Photo above of us on our first visit to Scotland, almost 10 years ago. We look like babies! See the rest of the photos here.

3 thoughts on “The Plan For Our Upcoming 10th Anniversary Trip”

  1. Hi Avery,

    We did the trip you describe when Jan and Mal were wee (possibly 4 & 2) with Pat
    s brother. We took the overnight train from Kings Cross to Inverness. We then rented a toyota van and hit the road. It was fabulous and you are going to love it. We did not, however, stay in this fantastic looking “cottage” (jealous!). How wonderful and romantic. Have a wonderful time. Love to you both, Marg and Pat

  2. How fun! We looked at doing the overnight train but opted for the night in Edinburgh instead (also the $20 plane ticket on Ryanair helped sway us). We’re so looking forward to it and will definitely share photos later!

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