– Or Things You Learn on the Top Level of a Double-Decker Bus 

We embarked on our 9 hour and 15 minute bus ride this morning at 9:30. It was early, windy, and the bus was, mercifully, mostly empty. Our intrepid group of six sat in the very front of the top deck. Let me tell you, the top deck of a double decker in London traffic is absolutely terrifying.

There is a surprising amount to see on the M1 north to Edinburgh. The towns are all large and small at the same time. Like, you can see the entire town from far off, but you know that, were you in town, it would feel large. At least for a little while. There are wind farms every few miles or so…at least it fells that way. Giant white windmills in rolling fields of farmland, each plot growing the same hay or wheat…it’s long stalked and green and it’s absolutely everywhere.

We drove through towns, but the only one I really remember is New Castle. The city is more eclectic than London is, if you can believe it. There is this old, old bridge over the river as you drive in, and an ancient church among more modern buildings. The roads are windy and narrow, though that’s not much different than the rest of the UK, really. The roofs are uneven and the clay chimneys look as if they might fall off at any moment. Everything is built out of red brick, except for the older bridge, which is some sort of grey stone, and the pedestrian bridge to the right of the main traffic bridge, which is a painted white metal arch.

Scotland, at first, looked like more of the same English-y country side. But, as we passed the North Sea, the ground rose up. there were a ton more sheep, and the trees became evergreens. Each farm field was ringed round with trees. To our right, the land dropped off into the sea – a brown-green cliff bordering the ever narrowing highway. Motorway, excuse me. Looking out of the window, watching the country speed by, I could see why this was a country Author’s glorified so much in Pastoral literature. Brown watered streams cut harshly through sheep grazing fields, and I was falling in love with the scenery. I know it’s not as glamorous as it looks, and that staying somewhere for two days doesn’t allow you the time to get to know the trials and tribulations of the day to day, but I could get used to Scotland.

Staying about twenty yards from Castle Rock, and an ancient castle in Edinburgh helps the situation, of course, but I’m not biased. Not really.