The second part of my Scotland adventure also happened to be the debut of a brand new cosplay for me. Merida was a costume I had bought fabric for back in 2012 but I never got around to actually completing it. So I asked my parents to bring my Elsa costume and my Anna Sackville-Bagg costume when they visited for Christmas, and I asked them to bring the large plastic bag with a sign on it that read ‘Merida’ stapled to it. I am so happy I decided to label my costume things before I left, it made it easy for my parents to find them. And, of course, I am thankful they brought it to me.
Not having a sewing machine, Merida is all hand sewn and it took me about a month to do. Luckily I worked on it right as the new school term was beginning so I didn’t have lots of studying to do…like I do now… I also spent around six hours styling the wig to Merida perfection, while marathoning the show ‘Dead Like Me’.
I had booked my train ticket to Stonehaven earlier in the week and I had no problem making the 9:10 am train. This dress was more of a summer dress, and it was cold and there was a stinging wind in Scotland so I wore trousers and sort of rolled the dress up and held it up with the belt on the coat that was over it. To make my hair seem less wig like, I wore my hat, so at least I didn’t look as strange as I did the day before. Stonehaven is almost a 3 hour train ride away from Edinburgh, so it was an all day trip and I would like to not be stared at too much.
Of course, the moment I step out of the hostel and am waiting at the crosswalk across the street from the train station, an older Scottish fellow taps me on the elbow and says he loves my hair. I can’t tell if he was joking or actually liked the bright orange, curly mess, but okay then.
The train ride was long, but nobody was sitting in the seat next to the window so I moved over to look out at the coast as we headed north. Finally in Stonehaven, I had to decide whether to walk or take a bus. Either way I had to walk to the bus stop, but it would have been fifteen minutes until the bus arrived. Why is it always a fifteen minute wait for a bus in Scotland for me?
My return train was at 2:05 pm, and I was nervous about getting back on time, so I decided to just walk. It was a 30 minute walk according to Google Maps, and I walk fast so it was no problem.
Problem. The footpath that was the quickest way to the castle was closed for construction work. So I took another way that went along the shore and I came to another entrance for the same footpath! But there were other people walking up it, so I followed them and while there were fences and construction work set up, none of it was going on, as it was Sunday, and the fences were low that everyone else just hopped over it. I did the same and continued on my way.
I walked down an empty road in the countryside, it was along the coast and I could see the ocean, but it was also farmland. It was a nice walk.
I finally made it to the castle, which was suppose to be open, but due to bad weather it was closed. This castle is on the coast of Scotland, which is in the north and the only weather happening this day was somewhat strong winds and a bit of fog. I’ve lived in San Francisco long enough to know that this is a common occurrence for coastal, northern places, so I don’t know what this ‘bad weather’ was, but regardless the castle was closed. That doesn’t mean there were any less people wandering about.
A lot of locals came out with their dogs to walk them along the beach, and a few tourists had come to see the castle, and one person came dressed as Merida to play tourist the geeky way (aka, me). I walked over to the castle entrance way first just to see all the angles, and I came all this way, I might as well get as close to the castle as I can. I then climbed back up the hill and walked over to the cliff side sticking out just in front of the castle, aka the perfect photo spot.
I managed to get to the end of the cliff right as a group of people left, so I took my hat and coat off, propped my iPad up and began the photo taking. The wind not only liked to blow my wig all over the place, but it also knocked my iPad over once, so what could have been an awesome photo wasn’t as awesome.
Then a lady seeing my iPad timer plight, took pity and asked if I wanted her to take photos for me. Such a nice lady; she even waited for other tourists to move to take the photos and we talked about how cold and windy it was. Believe me, I knew.
I finished up and was putting my coat on when a mother, father, and two little twin girls walked over. The mum asked is I was Merida and I, of course, responded ‘yes, I am’. Some unofficial Disney character meet-and-greet practice here just like when I was Elsa in Norway. I waved to the little girls and they shyly waved back before walking over to their father to look at the castle.
|That is the family behind me.|
I just put my coat on and had packed up when the mum and the girls approached me again and asked to take a photo with me. I was more than happy too, as they were pretty adorable in their matching outfits holding pink turtle stuffed animals.
After that adventure was over, I walked back to the train station. Halfway back down the deserted farm road, I re-rolled my dress back up and looked a little more normal than a crazy girl in heeled boots and a floor-length dress hiking through the country and down cliff sides. I could do it, and I did, but I didn’t need more stares, because foggy weather makes an orange wig appear even brighter and stick out even more, if you didn’t know.
The train ride back I pretty much slept the entire way and I walked around Edinburgh that evening, after changing of course. I even went back to Lebowski’s, which was interesting as it was rugby night so it was packed with crazy fans. I even saw a green man, though not exactly Charlie Day from ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’.
The next morning I packed and walked around town before heading back to London. This time I found a seat that wasn’t reserved and was quite comfortable.
Scotland didn’t leave as much of a lasting impression that London and Norway does, but I certainly loved seeing the land and all the historic buildings. I would have liked to have gone inside at least one castle, but I had to be reasonable and think about what I could afford, and what I could get to in the time that I had. I would like to go back some time and see some of the things I didn’t get to see, like Loch Ness.
That concludes my Scotland adventure. Not sure what other adventures might come up in the future, right now I don’t really have any planned, but you never know.
First, a wind outtake: