If you saw my Facebook and Instagram posts from last week, then you have a pretty good idea of what this post will be about. Two years ago, my then-boyfriend Ethan and I left for the trip of a lifetime – 2 weeks backpacking around Ireland, UK (England and Scotland), France and the Netherlands. In addition to being an amazing trip in and of itself, something even more memorable happened on this trip!
If you read my Europe Backpacking Trip : Our 2 Week Itinerary post, then you know the story of me saying “yes” was actually much funnier than that. More on that in a bit! For now though, instead of a typical lovey-dovey post all about our engagement, I wanted to share a portion of our backpacking trip – the Scottish Highlands.
After frolicking around in Dublin the first few days of our trip, we caught a RyanAir flight at the crack of dawn to Edinburgh and hopped on a train to Tain from the Waverly station. The ride itself was pretty lengthy – 5.5 hours – but we ended up sitting across from a wonderful couple who offered us some of their smuggled-on alcohol and chatted us up the whole time. It certainly made the trip fly by!
We finally made it to Tain right after lunch, and started walking to Ethan’s favorite scotch distillery – Glenmorangie. Being only a few miles from the station, we decided to just walk it. Unfortunately when we finally arrived, tours were sold out for the day. This was a mistake on my part – I wasn’t able to pre-book tickets so I didn’t have a spot reserved and the time we arrived they were already full! Thankfully they were really nice about it and set up a tasting for us, which was where Ethan found his new favorite variety!
After the tasting, we walked back to the station and hung around for a few more hours before the next train arrived. We weren’t the only ones waiting for a train it seemed – your stereotypical Scottish guy was also hanging around. Drunk, chatty, and very, very confused. It certainly made our time waiting interesting. We helped him work out which direction Inverness was in (he thought it was in the opposite direction we were telling him – we were right), and observed him chugging beers he opened with his teeth. And he managed to find time to pick fun of my name and how it was a clan name. It was great.
The time the train finally arrived, we were more than ready to head to Inverness. While being the cultural capital of the highlands, it’s also the closest major city to Loch Ness! After the 2.5 hours train ride from Tain, we finally arrived in Inverness that evening and decided to hail a cab to the Glasdair B&B. Turns out, there are two B&Bs in Inverness with very similar names, and we ended up at the wrong one! I was pretty pissed – both because I was starving/hangry and because we now had to call and get another cab. But when we finally arrived at our actual B&B around 8pm, the owners were amazing and had some snacks on hand for my grumpy self!
We were pretty exhausted from traveling all day and walking around, so we quickly showered and hit the hay. I wish we would have stayed longer in Inverness and at this B&B though – we ended up in the only bedroom downstairs and had our own bathroom, and the huge window overlooked the beautiful little garden and the River Ness (the river that feeds into Loch Ness). It was absolutely beautiful and so quiet and relaxing!
We woke up early the next morning and had an amazing breakfast at the B&B, packed up and took the scenic walk about a mile and a half to the pickup point for our Loch Ness tour. If you’re planning to ever head to Loch Ness I would highly recommend the tour company we used. My roommate from grad school ended up going to Loch Ness and doing everything by public transport and had such a terrible time – the bus was several hours late and she was essentially stranded in the middle of nowhere for several hours! The tour company had a shuttle bus that picked us up and brought us right to the ferry dock on Loch Ness. We hopped on the ferry and took a 45 min ride on Loch Ness on our way to Uruqhart Castle.
The day we went it was cold and raining, I was tired and just in an overall terrible mood. Ethan on the other hand was super excited. He kept trying to get me to walk down this muddy path to get to the banks of the loch once we arrived at the castle, but being in Toms and it being muddy – I told him to go ahead without me. While we were walking around after, we stopped on this little hill overlooking the castle and Ethan offered to set up our little tri-pod and get a few pictures of us. With the rain and being on a hill, the set-up took a little while, and the camera just would not stay up. So I’m passive-aggressively loud sighing to voice my displeasure. But he finally set it up and came over, gave me a little peck on the cheek, and we turned to smile at the camera. Except he nudged me with his elbow and started to kneel.
I was immediately thinking that he was playing a joke or something because I’ve been in such a sour mood all day, so a confused “Noooo…???” automatically comes out. He looks at me, confused, “No…? You mean yes…?” and opens a little box with the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen.
You guys. I snatched that ring so quick you would have thought I was part cheetah or something. I had to have it in my hands before my brain came to it’s senses and realized it was all fake. But it wasn’t. It was real. And I tackled him. And proceeded to ugly cry as other tourists were coming up to us and saying congratulations.
It was the cutest, most embarrassing proposal story ever. Damn my grumpy self! Remember that path he wanted me to go down with him? Yeah – perfect picture spot at the end of it. But our story is definitely unique, but damn I wish I had been less of a grump. And it’s all on video! You can literally see all of this unfold on the video – passive aggressive sighs and all. Forever embarrassed.
So after I finally manage to finish ugly crying, we made a quick pass through the gift shop and hopped back on our shuttle bus. We then were brought to a Loch Ness Centre, where all of my hopes and dreams of the Loch Ness Monster being real were crushed. But I bought a cute Loch Ness monster keychain, so that was a plus! After we were done there, the shuttle brought us back to the city center, right in front of the train station.
We had previously booked train tickets to Dundee for later that afternoon, so while we waited for our train we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a nearby pub. I could hardly eat I was so happy, but I managed! We arrived in Dundee later that evening, and settled down for the night. We grabbed the fanciest of things to celebrate our engagement – a bottle of cheap champagne and Pringles (the finest thing the convenience store at the corner had to offer at that time) to celebrate in our hotel room and called it an early night!
While there’s plenty more to our trip, you’ll have to stay tuned for details about the rest! If you want the quick version and to see our itinerary, check out the post: Europe Backpacking Trip : Our 2 Week Itinerary
Have any questions about our trip? Or any other questions/comments?
Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!