In recent years, discovering your ancestry has become a popular trend. It is interesting to know where you came from because, in my opinion, it allows where you're going to mean a little bit more. I, myself, am a mix of different heritages. I have ancestors from several different Native American tribes and ancestors from several countries in Europe. Growing up in Oklahoma, I lived in the homeland of my Native American predecessors for most of my life, but my first experience visiting the land of my ancestors abroad was when I went to Scotland.
Like England, Scotland is known for its perpetually damp climate. However, while England is very crowded with tourists and business persons, Scotland is quite peaceful and serene. The green, rolling hills are as comforting of a sight as any in the world, and the country has plenty of interesting history to enjoy as well.
My particular relation to Scotland is rather interesting. Sir William Wallace, the person Mel Gibson's character is based on in Braveheart, is my great uncle (with several extra greats of course). For those of you who haven't seen the movie, William Wallace was a Scottish revolutionary who fought for Scotland's independence from Britain during the Scottish Wars of Independence in the late 1200s. He was eventually captured by the British before being tortured and brutally killed as punishment for standing against British rule. In Scotland, he has become almost a mythical figure that is regarded as a national hero.
Although I was too young to see the movie Braveheart at the time, I knew about my heritage and my relation to this important figure before I visited Scotland. However, physically being in the place where so much history and so much of my ancestry took place was a life-changing experience. I was very young at the time, but knowing the importance of my ancestry to history in this beautiful place known as Scotland was still incredibly moving.
The Wallace Monument
The Wallace Monument was, for obvious reasons, one of my favorite sights to see in Scotland. It is not a place for those who fear heights, though. The monument is a tower with a spiraling staircase of 246 steps that lead to a room at the top that holds some of Scotland's treasures believed to have belonged to Wallace himself. However, this is not the only sight to see in Scotland; the region has many other places to visit.
Although I didn't travel there myself, Lock Ness is a great place for anyone who loves a good mystery. For years this lake has been the center of the Lock Ness Monster mystery that has resulted in thousands of supposed sightings as well as photographs, movies, and books on the topic. The lake and the area around it are also very beautiful and a great place to rest for a few days during a long trip.
For lovers of culture or spectacle, Edinburgh is definitely the place to go. Every year, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place in Edinburgh Castle for several weeks in August. This festival is a nightly series of performances by both military and non-military groups from all over the world. Even as a young child, I remember being fascinated throughout the entire performance. There were highly skilled dancers and musicians that showed off the traditional styles of every different country there, including Scottish drum and bagpipe ensembles that left me in awe. If you do one thing while in Scotland, this has to be it. It's been over a decade since I witnessed the Military Tattoo, but the images and memories of it still leave me with renewed amazement every time I return to them.
August will be here soon, so don't miss another chance to visit Scotland and see the Edinburg Military Tattoo. I promise, it will be an experience you'll never forget. Call Bayless Travel at 405-842-4464 to book a trip today! Happy travels, readers.