Where Romance and History Meet - www.heartsthroughhistory.com/

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Off to Scotland

(View from Skye Bridge)

I'll be heading to Scotland in a couple of days for research and fun. Fortunately for me, when I go to Scotland, research and fun happen simultaneously. Nothing is better! Although I love to read certain historical research tomes, especially those written a hundred or so years ago, others can be somewhat dry and snoozeworthy. I'd much rather roll up my sleeves and dig in, so to speak. I can more easily learn what the peat smoke drifting on cold ocean mist smells like if I'm actually on Isle of Skye, instead of reading a secondhand account. A side benefit is that I am so immersed in the setting I can bring it to life more vividly, realistically and also draw the reader in more easily. Not only that, I'm in a dream come true location for me. (Photos: above, Old Man of Storr, trying to hide in the drifting mist on Isle of Skye. Below, croft cottages at the Skye Museum of Island Life.)

If I want to accurately describe the smell, feel and atmosphere of a dungeon, then I want to actually be in a dungeon, at least for a few minutes. (Below, Urquhart Castle)

This trip I hope to visit several castles in the east of Scotland, in Aberdeenshire, a place I haven't been before, along what is known as the Castle Trail. At mid-point we plan to cross over, and drive along Loch Ness (below), to the Western Highlands and the Isle of Skye to take in the very different scenery, topography, etc. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures to share when I return. Where is your favorite place to do hands on research?


Pat McDermott said...

The clouds, the mist, the ocean! You are going to have such a wonderful time, Nicole! I've just returned from western Ireland, one of my favorite places to do hands-on research. I wish you a safe and inspiring trip!

Cathie Dunn said...

You'll have a fabulous time in Scotland. If you're heading to Aberdeenshire (I had the pleasure to live there for a while), go see Kildrummy Castle which is my favourite. Tucked away in the middle of nowhere, it played an important part during the Scottish Wars of Independence.
Also make sure you visit Dunottar Castle in Stonehaven - a wonderfully wild coastal setting.
Typical Aberdeenshire-style castles are Drum, Craigievar, Braemar and Crathes castles (the 'castle trail'). Entrance fees for some are pretty steep, though.

I love losing myself in the atmosphere of those places. It helps so much when you describe your settings.

Have a wonderful trip! :-)

Carly Carson said...

Can I go with you? Pleeeeeease? I'll do research anywhere. I'm not picky when it comes to Scotland! If you can visit Glencoe, it's very evocative.

Nicole North said...

Thanks Pat! Western Ireland looks amazing. I'm enjoying your pictures!

Cathie, thanks! Wow I'd love to live in Scotland for a while! How awesome that must have been. We're planning to visit Dunottar, Crathes, Fraser, Fyvie, Brodie and a few more. Some of them aren't open in October which is disappointing. But we still found enough open to keep us busy. We plan to get a pass which should end up making 4 of them about half price.

Carly, I wish you could go with us! We need to plan a romance writer tour of Scotland. LOL Lots of research to be done there! :) Glencoe is amazing. I visited once and loved it. I hope the sun is out when we pass through there this time. Although I know the mountains may not be as bright green in Oct. as they were in June. Still a lovely and haunting place.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I suppose we must be 'clean' about where we want to be hands on??? Okay! Eilean Donan is going to be it - I've had the privilege to visit there twice and fell in love with the place. I know, I fall in love with all things Scot but this castle, which has to be one of the most photographed, has something quite special about it (besides the Million Dollar bars). :)

If I have to choose a second spot it would be Dunnotar because it is big, interesting and you can almost feel the souls there, and then of course, there is Culloden...see, I can go on and on. I am so glad I get to ride along in your pocket, Nicole. I cannot wait to see all the photos. HAVE A GREAT TIME! (AS IF I have to tell you that.) Safe journey!!!

Jody said...

Because you will be in the Aberdeen area get a copy of elizabeth grant's Memories of a Highland Lady and read it while you are there. She lived-in the area and you will find places to visit off the beaten path. Also if you have the time visit the National library and archives in Edinburgh.

Cathie Dunn said...

I still live in Scotland - I'm now in Edinburgh. Can't seem to get away from the country. lol

I guess you get the National Trust tickets? You'll enjoy their castles. They're very well maintained and nicely furnished. The gardens at Crathes are lovely, but I guess the recent rains got rid of the blooms.

Try squeeze in a drive through Glencoe, like Carly suggests - the atmosphere is amazing, especially in the autumn.

Have a fabulous trip!

Nicole North said...

Hi Paisley, LOL that kind of hands on research is great too! Yes, I plan to visit Eilean Donan again! Loved it last time but didn't get to spend enough time there. I can't wait to visit Dunnottar. Have always thought it looked amazing. Culloden is very beautiful and haunting. Thanks so much!!

Jody, thanks for the recommendation! I'll look for that book.

Cathie, OMG I'm so jealous! I'd love to live in Edinburgh for a while. Yes, the National Trust tickets. And definitely about Glen Coe too. I'm imagining things will look different but just as beautiful in autumn.

Peter Hunter said...

Hullo Nicole,
Some pictures and information of what is around that area. Hope the weather holds up for you.



Eliza Knight said...

Have fun Nicole! Take lots of pics! I totally agree about hands on experiences. My last trip overseas was to Ireland and France in the same year, about 7 years ago. Those memories lasted me for quite awhile, but its about time I took a trip again. I'd like to visit Scotland and England, hopefully within the next couple of years. But like you for writing, my favorite places are the places I write about, steeped in history, nature, peace, where my characters actually walked, or skimmed their hands in the water--where my stories come to life.

Brenda said...

Sounds like a fun trip. As near as I get to historical anything is a book :-)

Lexi said...

{{sigh}} Have a GREAT time!

My favorite place is Glenfinnan, which inspired my fictional Scottish village in my short contemporaries.

Nicole North said...

Peter, thanks so much!

Nicole North said...

Eliza, thanks!! I had a blast and took lots of pics. I'd love to visit Ireland and France also.

Nicole North said...

Brenda, thanks! It was fun and I was surrounded by lots of history!

Nicole North said...

Lexi, thanks! I haven't visited Glenfinnan yet but would love to! It's amazing to find a place that is so inspiring.