Scotland: Land of Monsters and Kelpies

And bagpipes, Tartan, clans, Hielan Coos, Scotch Whisky… the list goes on! When I started getting into Whisk(e)y, I knew I wanted to visit Scotland. But that wasn’t the only reason, not by far. Knowing my love of Ireland, I was swept away by all the lush and rugged beauty of Scotland. Gaelic music stirs my soul, and I was keen to experience all that bonny Scotland offered in abundance. (Not gunna lie…Outlander might’ve had a wee bit to do with this burning desire, too… But hey – not only do the arts provide an escape from reality, they inspire world travels, culture, self expansion…!)


I’m not sure who’s more excited to be here – Me or Nessie!

I flew from Munich to Edinburgh, arriving about 3.30pm Wednesday, Dec 11th, 2019. I picked up my Enterprise rental car (thankfully I’d lived a year in NZ and also done a rental car in Ireland, all driving opposite side of things from USA) and quickly fell back into it. The one thing that did take a moment to come to terms with were the roundabouts – crikey! They’re all quite large, lanes merge into one another, stop lights are involved, and it took a hot second to be able to figure out what was what! But I managed and was happy to have my own set of wheels. There was so much I wanted to explore, and as daylight hours were limited at this time of year (8am-3pm was the far edges of light) I needed as much flexibility as possible to see everything.


I got a head-start by seeing the Forth Bridge as I flew in – but dinnae fash, I did see it close up, too!

Once I got acquainted with the rental, I made a stop at the Gyle shopping center to pick up a 3 Mobile sim card (£15 for 10 gigs, in and out ready to go in 3 min!) and then swung through Morrisons and found out they have a pretty awesome meal deal – side, main, and a drink for £3.50, with plenty of vegan options. Score! Turns out, most groceries in Scotland offer something along these lines, which I found most accommodating 🙂

It was already dark so I headed for my accom for the night – The Grange Manor in Falkirk. The room was basic and the place a bit dated, but the staff were terrific and the shower had great pressure with lots of hot water. The main reason I chose this place is because it’s within walking distance to the Kelpies – the largest equine statues in the world, standing 30metres (98ft) tall.


If you’re not familiar with mythology, Kelpies are shape-shifting water spirits that haunt Scotland’s lochs and rivers. Most often taking the shape of a black horse, they can also transform into human form, but are betrayed by river weeds in their hair and leaving wet hoof-prints where they tread. Children are often lured to their death in lochs by following or riding the horse. Unwitting humans can be entranced by the form of a beautiful woman or attacked by a wild, rugged man by the water.


It was drizzly when I ventured out, but totally worth it! There was no one else around, and I spent 30min admiring and photographing these beauties. But my hands were starting to fair freeze, so I went back for a nice hot shower and some dinner before turning in. Tomorrow was going to kick off my whirlwind Scottish adventure!


About juliamenn

Performer. Artist. Author. Lover of food and travel. Animal enthusiast. Avid reader. Globe-trotter.
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