A few Tuesdays ago, my youngest sister and I took a ride to IAH to board the first of three flights that would take us to our parents in Aberdeen, Scotland. In the interest of not missing our flight, we arrived several hours early. Security was easy enough since we were flying out of Terminal E. No need to wait in the mammoth line typical of Terminal C. This proved to be a good thing. With more than thirty rolls of film to hand check someone would have surely been irritated had I been at a different terminal. The TSA folks were happy to scan the film. I suspect that’s because doing something unusual breaks up the monotony of their job.

Our first flight was uneventful. IAH to EWR. When we landed someone else was still parked at the gate, but we made the connection still so it wasn’t a huge problem. At EWR we boarded a demon aircraft. Some pump/compressor/generator used during taxiing was not mechanically sound and made the most terrible cyclic noise I’ve had the displeasure of hearing in quite a while. Of course with a busy airport we spent a long time sitting on the jetway waiting, and that damned noise was with us the entire time. It was loud, and clearly caused several of the people on the plane physical pain. When we finally landed in the UK we got to deal with the same racket again. Continental/United ought to get out of the practice of flying aircraft with an obviously failing system on board. The only part of the trip that was a real nightmare was our short hop from Heathrow to Aberdeen. There was an infant, a cute baby even, seated directly behind me. What a set of lungs – for the entire flight.

The first thing I noticed about Scotland was how green everything was. The buildings? All grey and dreary. The surroundings? As green as green gets. For a moment, I almost wished I’d gone heavy on the color film instead of bringing a ton of B&W film.

My Mom did a good job getting us to our parents’ flat in one piece. She’s never paid much attention to lanes so driving on the wrong side of the road didn’t phase her. I’m sure our time in Malaysia helped. Where my folks live is awesome. There’s a view of rolling hills right out the front windows, maybe 20 yards from their front door is a trail that goes for more miles than I could have run even at my most fit, and maybe a 1000 yards or so beyond that is a river. Excellent.

Jetlag wasn’t as much of a problem as the fact that Aberdeen is way further north than I’ve ever been before. As such, during the summer the sun never really goes down. Dark like we know dark here just does not happen. 1am? Still looks like twilight. 4am? Full on sunrise. Either way, the trip was great. I’m not going to go into great detail about everywhere we went, but we saw several castles and drove all over the island. A few notable bits below:

  • The grounds at Crathes Castle are gorgeous, and the large red squirrels everywhere would have entertained Abbey for years.
  • The castle in Edinburgh is hugely impressive, as is the giant rock outcropping under it.
  • One day I must camp in the Scottish highlands.
  • Our tour guide at the Glen Ord distillery was pretty funny. He says he gave up on whisky snobs the moment he read a review calling out flavors of “butter fried spices” and that if you pay your good money for a bottle of Scotch drink it any damn way you please. I’ll still drink it straight.
  • There is livestock everywhere, and the food is great.

Coming home was fairly trouble free aside from the cab driver that took us to the wrong hotel in London. The plane was unusually hot inside so instead of sleeping the entire flight I just stayed up the majority of the time. On the return jetlag still wasn’t a problem. I’ve kept myself busy developing film and running errands.

Since I’ve finished scanning and uploading all of my 35mm film from the trip, I’ll go ahead and post my favorites as well as a slideshow to the set of everything on Flickr. I’ve also finished developing all of my B&W medium format film, but I haven’t scanned any of it yet – check back in a week or so for new favorites from that camera. Two weeks from now I should have the color medium format film back as well, so check back again then too.

North Sea

Shingles

Crathes Castle

Castle Drum

Door

Statue, close

Balmoral roads

Canyon

Victoria

St. Giles

Street Musician

Shore

Green

Royal Mile

Edinburgh

From gun position

Stone and castle

Lighthouse

Loch Ness

Mom

Seagulls

From Dunnottar

Shore

Dunnottar Castle

North Sea

North Sea rocks

Balmoral

Balmoral Castle

Hillside fog

Highlands

Mom and Dad

Road

Stone

Street, in Edinburgh

Dunnottar Castle

Shore

Castle Wall

Drawing Room

Castle Fraser

Castle Craigievar

Colorful walkway

Stump

Edinburgh church

Bench @ sea

Telephone

St. Giles

Dad on bench

Man feeding gulls

Photographers