Can anyone even understand Scottish accents?

Jane Swingle
March 1, 2016
Glen Coe

No.  Scottish accents are impossibly challenging to understand.  Unless you’re quite acquired to hearing Scottish english, it essentially sounds like “arghhh larhghg grealallhhhh loch ness.”  But this is not to say it isn’t entertaining to hang out with the Scots, who were friendly and welcoming during my weekend trip to Edinburgh and the highlands!  


I spent a long weekend on a field trip with about fifty other IES students and a few supervisors.  We started in Edinburgh on Thursday, where we did a walking tour, stayed overnight, and enjoyed free time to explore on Friday.  I decided to climb to the summit of Arthur’s Seat (excellent decision) for the best views of the city nestled between mountains and sea.  Despite my expectations for rain, sleet, hail, and/or snow during the trip, we miraculously never felt a drop.  It was definitely bundle-up-weather, but I’ll take sun and chill over soggy rain any day, especially when climbing around Scottish hills.


On Friday evening, we took a coach bus through Trossachs National Park (complete with postcard-perfect views) to the sleepy coastal town of Oban.  The entire town consists of about two roads and a boat port, but it sure was pretty.  We didn’t have any planned activities in Oban, but I did sneak in an early hike on Saturday morning and caught dawn on the harbor before the group departed for our next stop—the Glen Coe mountain range en route to Inverness.  


The mountains were absolutely beautiful.  Despite my best efforts, my photos still don’t quite do the highlands justice.  We drove up into the mountains to the Caringorms Reindeer Center (or Centre, if you’re feeling British) in the afternoon for a truly unique experience.  Our group was led by guides across the mountainside in search of a herd of reindeer.  The herd isn’t enclosed; they’re free to roam, but the centre employees feed them daily and lead them in general directions.  We walked over the (slightly treacherous) icy mountain for about twenty minutes until the field was suddenly dotted with reindeer.  Clearly accustomed to people, they approached us comfortably, and we got to feed them, pet them, and attempt to take selfies with them.  I don’t think many people can say they got to hang out with reindeer in the Scottish mountains.  


We spent Saturday night in Inverness before departing on Sunday morning for a boat tour of the nearby Loch Ness.  Side note: loch means lake.  Maybe I was the only person who didn’t know that before my trip.  No shame.  Our boat took us across the lake to the ruins of Urquhart Castle.  We explored the castle under a (miraculously) cloudless sky.  Not your average Sunday.


Sadly, the castle was our last stop before heading to the airport to return to London.  I could have spent longer in Scotland, and perhaps one day I’ll return to do the hiking trip that I was dreaming up while riding through the mountains… Would anyone care to join me?


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Jane Swingle

<p>I am Jane from Janesville, Wisconsin. &nbsp;I study communications and French at the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, but I like to spend as much time as possible studying abroad. &nbsp;One day, you&#39;ll probably find me living in Paris. &nbsp;If you can&#39;t find me there, you must not have searched all the boulangeries.</p>

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