The rest of the story- Scotland

What happened? It’s August!
So last we heard from our heroine, we had just spent a day outside London visiting the ancient sites in Bath, Avebury and Stonehenge in June. Then what happened?

You see unlike my 2013 semester abroad in Rome, the UK Metals Workshop was a non-stop immersion into my discipline. No time to blog, no time to breath. I felt lucky to fall asleep before midnight most nights and many of my photos didn’t get posted until I made it home at the end of June. The last couple of days in London were spent at museums and galleries. Our final night was a treat at the Globe Theatre for Anthony and Cleopatra.

We boarded the train for the ride to Glasgow and the real work began. It was time to start working on the project. Yes, sadly it may look like this trip is just an informative jaunt through England and Scotland, but actually we were being graded. The project was to talk about place and our travels. We were to use a photo etching process along with designing a laser cut and engraved stand for the piece.

The Glasgow School of Art was one of the first places to see in Scotland. Sadly, a major fire devastated much of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building and we could only gaze sadly from the newer building across the street. I vow to return one day to see it restored. But fortunately the degree shows were still up and much discussion ensued, both about the work of the Glasgow graduates and the work we hope to make.

A highlight of being in Glasgow was spending the day driving out to Hill House, a Mackintosh designed home and then the rest of the day with artist blacksmith, John Creed. It was a blast to work in his studio barn. I also enjoyed spending some time taking photos of my classmates working.

We also spent an afternoon and evening with Roger Millar at his home studio learning how to spin metal on a lathe. It’s a different kind of technique than how we usually form metal, but with Roger’s help, we all came away with a small aluminum bowl.

But the time in Glasgow went by quickly. Just as we were getting settled in, it was time to pack again and head to Plockton in the Highlands. Packed into two vans, we drove the scenic highways along Loch Lomond, across the Great Glen fault and up towards the Isle of Skye. Plockton’s location on the coast was planned as a relocation point for many of the crofters who were put off their homes and livelihood by the clearances in the 18th and 19th centuries in an effort to stem the tide of emigration.

Plockton is built around its harbor and I enjoyed seeing the boats on their sides waiting for the 6 meter tide to come in. We were in Plockton over the Summer equinox and were able to enjoy the long days were the sky remained light until midnight. It was, however, a tough situation to try to go to sleep with the bright sky.

The Plockton Inn where we stayed is a highly rated hotel, but most especially notable is the restaurant and pub. The seafood was unbelievable and my mouth waters at the memory of the sweet fresh scallops in a creamy sauce. The pub was a perfect opportunity to try single malt Scotch whiskey as they kept about 25 of them handy. The bartender was very helpful in explaining the difference in each. I only tried about three of them, so I’ll have to return sometime to check out more of the rest.

Plockton itself is a notable destination, but it was only our entrance to the Highlands. The rest of the Highlands deserve a post all its own.

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