Sunday, January 23, 2011

An American Girlfriend In London, Pt 9: My Heart's In The Highlands

I'm sorry I've been so bad about posting anything new... but I've been away from the 'puter and off doin' some things to help make my 2011 the best year yet.........

My time in Scotland was AMAZING. It always is. This time however I got to do some things that many people don't normally do when they go to the Highlands....

(This is where I was staying in Kincraig. The Suie is a BEAUTIFUL b&b that you just MUST stay at if you're up there, it's just so cozy and comfy... plus my friends Mike & Wendy own the place and they are very sweet people... and the price is so good you just can't NOT stay there! - plus the pub attached is pretty great.)

Example: Most people expect to hear about sightings of beautiful deer & stags while wandering the hills...

yup... I did see those.... & took their picture....

But then what about snow monkeys? (dear god they were cute!) Not typically Scottish you say?

(this is by far my favorite picture I took that day)

BUT...when was the last time you heard someone went to the Highlands of Scotland and stood less than 2 feet away from Amur Tigers? (formerly known as Siberian tigers)... 'cause I did that too....

(you better believe I was willing to have my picture taken that day!)

How the hell did I do that? I'll tell you... Last Friday night a bunch of my friends that live in Kincraig got together to celebrate my birthday with me and at one point I noticed this one guy that I didn't recognize, so I walked right up to him and said "hi, I don't know you" and he smiled, put out his hand, and introduced himself: Mark.

Over the course of the evening I started to feel like I had known him for more than half my life, didn't really matter that he is like 14 years younger than me. At the end of the night he asked me "what are you doing on Monday?" and I told him I had no plans, and that's when he told me it was his day off and he wanted to take me to the Highland Wildlife Park... which is where he works (as do a few of my friends.) I had been there before back when I used to live in Scotland, but never with an employee that knew the ginormous place like the back of his hand... nor have I been there with someone that was able to let me come with at feeding time in the tiger enclosure.

Trust me, I was never closer to the tigers than 1 1/2 feet (plus the fence you see in the above picture), as cute and kitty like as they may be... they'd rip my head off in a heartbeat just for giggles... and I don't mind my head where it is, you know, attached and all.

There were polar bears too! So beautiful... but über stinky!

......and Red Pandas... which I will eternally refer to as "ginger raccoons":

Yes, my time in Scotland was phenomenal, and everything I wanted & needed it to be... and so much more. I got to see old friends, loved friends, make new friends... and laugh harder and longer than I have in ages. I had delicious meals cooked by cherished friends, icy cold beers in seemingly endless glasses, long overdue chats with those I had been missing with all my being... and ... y'all I stood less than 2 feet from wild tigers! Incredible.

 This would be my "Holy $#¡T!! You got that picture, right?!" face.... no idea what my hair is doing, but at least I know what the face says :)

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer-
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North
The birth place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
Farewell to the mountains high cover'd with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forrests and wild-hanging woods;
Farwell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;
My heart's in the Highlands, whereever I go.
-Robert Burns


  1. The "ginger raccoon" is a fantastic animal! Looks like a great trip was had...

  2. Hey, I'm glad you're back I missed you. I don't have to ask how was your birthday because you already told us that it was wonderful. I'm really happy for you!
    And congrats for your birthday again!

  3. Bea- yeah, it really is. I had never seen one in person, not that I recall ... and it was, like most wild furry creatures, almost impossible to not want to climb into the enclosure and cuddle with it. Risk of serious maiming or death stopped that thought :)

    Starlight- Thank you, it was an incredible time ♥

  4. That B&B looks amazingly gorgeous from the outside, and the monkey picture is pretty bad ass, but I think I like the ginger raccoon the best :-)

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