Friday, July 27, 2012

Travel Destinations: British Isles

This will be my third trip to the British Isles. I spent about four days there in 2003 with Friar Dave, then most of the Summer of 2004 there in my gig as a pallbearer. On the first trip, I got some brief exposure to London, Portsmouth, and Cambridge. I saw a lot more of England on my second trip - lots of West Sussex, some of Hampshire, London, and bits of the Isle of Wight. At the end of the Summer, I took two weeks, and saw as much as I possibly could. After flying from Gatwick to Inverness, my route took me from:

Leg #1: Inverness to Aberdeen
Leg #2: Aberdeen to Orkney
Leg #3: Orkney to Thurso
Leg #4: Thurso to Inverness
Leg #5: Inverness to Glasgow
Leg #6: Glasgow to Edinburgh (with a dip into Cumbria)
Leg #7: Edinburgh to Glasgow
Leg #8: Glasgow to Stranraer
Leg #9: Stranraer to Belfast
Leg #10: Belfast to Dublin

Given that I'll have a year to work with, and better resources than I had in 2004, I expect to revisit some of my previous destinations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and see a few more as well. I've spent the last couple of years working out a list of cities and sites I want to hit, and I'm pretty stoked for the chance to knock some of them off of that list.

I'd like to revisit all of my old haunts in England, and add a few others that I didn't get around to before. I've always enjoyed travelling, but I hadn't done much of it between 2004 and earlier this year. I'm looking forward to getting back into the habit of taking off for a weekend and seeing a few things, then getting back to work, resetting, and then doing it again a few weeks later. In 2004, most of that took place in south central England; this time, it will take place primarily in Scotland, but hitting some of the high points of England is a must.

I'm also excited about the prospect of hitting a few more spots in Ireland than I did before. Belfast and Dublin are fantastic, and I'm looking forward to seeing both of them again. I'd also like to visit some of the former hot spots of The Troubles, as well as Skellig Michael, the history of which is discussed in one of my favorite books, How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill.

I figure I may as well hit a couple of spots in Wales this time around, but I imagine that will be pretty minor. If I can get myself into good enough shape, I'd like to climb Pen y Fan, centerpiece of Special Air Service Selection; and Ben Nevis, but that's another story.

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