Post image for Finding My Roots

Finding My Roots

by Lauren | Celiac Teen on January 13, 2011

I’ve been writing about my trip to Europe for a little while – this is part three (here is part one and part two!).  I love reliving it as well as hearing about your trips and where your heart is dying to go.  If you come here just for the recipes, no sweat!  I’ve been sick so I haven’t been in the kitchen as much as I would like to over the last four months, but come back soon for more recipes, I’m still baking as much as I can muster.  Anyways, I left off after the day we spent in Glasgow with my Nana’s cousin.

We headed out for Fort William one morning. My first train. Or at least my first train that would actually get me somewhere far (the odd transit ride or ride in an old train which takes you in a circle weren’t counting in my mind). It was smooth and quick. I have no problem with hours and hours in a car, but this was just so much more fun. Everyone was relaxed. We could get up and stretch our legs at any time. There was a table to write our postcards, spread out our lunches and chat as we enjoyed the scenery.

Looking out the window from the Train

Waterfalls gushing as the rain fell, sheep grazing on their grass, trees in every direction you look, lakes filled with the most perfectly placed water, rivers gathering the rain, trees bending and twisting in the way that only a tree can, mountains holding the land up on both sides, valleys with winded trees. It was all there. It was all beautiful. It was all magic.

By the time our train arrived in Fort William, it was pouring. The rain was falling sideways. We headed out from the train station, walking to the B&B with our suitcases. The rain didn’t stop, if anything it got harder. I was thankful for a good raincoat. By the time we saw the road for the B&B and started going up the hill, it was starting to become funny. Sideways rain, going uphill with suitcases in tow, to our B&B. It felt like the start to a fairytale. In a way, it was. Just not one that involved a wolf, an inability to sleep over silly things, or a glass slipper. It did involve a tree, a little house, and ruins though. After we had been there for about 10 minutes, the sun came out and we started to see the charm of this adorable town.

By the Witches Pool - One place we stopped for a moment.

Once we woke up the next morning, we had to go get the car. Dad was going to drive. We walked over and silently hoped that the other side of the road would be kind to him. The truth is, he didn’t do so bad on the windy little roads of the Scottish Highlands. He loved every moment of it, which made the high speeds and windy roads not so bad (though, after two days of near-solid driving, I got carsick for the first time in my life. Nothing to do with dad, just the way they drive over there. Considering how much driving we do on a regular basis, that’s saying something.) The roads, they were so tiny and obviously the birthplace of many rally drivers (according to Dad, and boy do I believe him.) We don’t have roads like that, even way up in the mountains. Regardless, they were the roads taking us to see important things.

Endless Greenery

We stopped at a monument, the one with the circle of memorials. Then, to Murlagan it was. After a little bit of two-lane road, we were on the single track road, which came down by the lake. It must have been where the idea for rollercoasters came into being. Dips and turns and ups and downs and repeat. The spots though, on the way there, where campers and trailers hid amongst the trees, were quiet and serene in the forrest by the lake. We might have ran into one car on the whole trip there and back. It was most definitely out of the way, but exactly where I wanted to be.

The lake of my ancestors.

As the car started to climb hills (still a winding road – that road never stopped winding), I saw stories in the hills. Hope in the ruins. Battles in the wind. There is a kinship with that land that I will never be able to adequately describe. Knowing that my ancestors lived just over that hill is something that will never leave me. Once Murlagan came into view, the one remaining house felt like a place that part of my heart will always live even though I’ve never stepped foot in it.


That tiny, precious little house looked out over the lake and the mountains. Most importantly, it looked out over a few trees. One tree, which looked more like a family tree than any one I have ever seen, stood over the ancient graveyard. It felt like it was protecting all of those who lived in the ancient clan as well as bringing hope to those of us who have returned. That tree is my roots. At least a part of it. As we walked over on the rain soaked grass, we felt the wind and a moment of light sun. Standing on their graves, it all felt surreal. I saw what they saw, in this untouched land. I saw their lake, I felt their wind, I watched their clouds move, in just the same way it would have when they lived. Soaking it in, I wondered what their lives were like. How they lived, what they ate, what they fought for, how they laughed, what they looked like. Hoping I was doing them proud.

The Family Tree

We spent a moment taking family photos until a droplet warned of rain and we went back to the car before it started to pour. Something about that place, the way it was and the way it felt, will always be home. Even now, months later, I feel my skin remembering its wind, its air. I could have spent hours looking at those rocks, trees, mountains and the lake. I have a feeling that wasn’t my last time there. It also made me long to see the other places where other parts of my family lived hundreds of years ago. One day.


As we drove back down the winding road, the rain pounded. Ferns in full bloom covered every spare patch of ground. Fields and fields of them. Driving back, I was on the side looking up towards the hills and ferns and the fabric of the land. But as we approached one spot – where the road came right to the lake, I made them stop. There was a tiny little boat that caught my eye while we were driving out. Why? It was called Lauren. I love fun little coincidences like that. Snap, snap, shoot it’s starting to rain again and run back to the car. That was how a lot of those photographing adventures went in Scotland, but I loved it. It makes me cherish the growth and the sun became all the more valuable.

Roller Coaster Roads

Our day wasn’t over there. Once we’d finished unwinding from the single-track road to Murlagan, we drove. I know dad knew exactly where we were going, but there was some freedom there. No pressure. It meant we arrived at Urqheart Castle 15 minutes after closing. I was disappointed but excited that another day would hold my first castle. I’m thankful that day didn’t get packed too tightly. Castles deserve their own day, and so did Murlagan.


Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Dee D. January 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Wow, Murlagan is beautiful! I love the green of it all…I loved reading about it :) And don’t worry, you are doing your ancestors proud Lauren :) Your blog is awesome!

Hannah January 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Oh, Lauren. I’m so glad you you are continuing to write about your trip. I felt like I was there with you. All that green is just so beautiful, it sounds and looks like a place I’d like to go. (take me there sometime? I’d love to see it with you!)

The photo of the little house, surrounded by the green hills? That needs to be a postcard.

Diane@Peaceful Acres Farm January 14, 2011 at 10:46 am

Lauren, that was beautiful. And since Scotland is also the home of my ancestors The Hamilton Clan, I felt as if I was there with you the entire time. Thank you for such beautiful writing. You have a gift!

Barb January 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Your photos are beautiful, Lauren. Thanks for sharing your trip and your past with us.

Dia January 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Ah, Lauren! Thank you for sharing the photos & stories from your trip!
My friend Ellie wrote “One Handful of Earth” after visiting Scotland for the first time – she intended to write about a contemporary midwife (something she did for awhile) but after visiting the land of her Ancestors, decided to set the story farther back in time, during the “Highland Removals”
It’s a good book – women’s way of telling history, down to the food prepared!
Blessings & happy new year!

Amy at TheSceneFromMe January 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Wow, that place looks so lush! Sounds like a wonderful trip!

kelly January 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm

I have to read in reverse now, since this is the first I’ve read of your trip. You tell it so well with your words and photos. I’m so much older than you, but can say that I understand that connection you have to the place you’ve described. I’ve been to the UK twice, and each time, I’ve struggled to return feeling like it’s where I belong. Ironically, I’ve not visited the specific region where my great-grandfather was from — I’m saving it for my next visit. A lovely telling, Lauren.

Rosanna April 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm

In truth, one can’t possibly know what green is unless s/he goes to Scotland/Ireland! I still remember when I went there… those colors are amazing. There is no deep blue quite as blue as the blue of a Scottish lake water. And, there is no yellow like the one of the Scottish moss. I just love the wild serene beauty of Highs.

Leave a Comment

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.

Previous post:

Next post: