A COUNTRY-HOPPING American tourist has shared her guide for what not to do when visiting Scotland.
Michelle Weigold has visited over 50 countries so far, but has fallen in love with Scotland after her first visit last summer, and her return last month.
The 34-year-old was met with a series of knockbacks though, including the temperament of Scottish weather and cancelled ferries to the islands.
Michelle, from Kentucky, USA, opted to share her travel tips for other budding tourists with a video that opens with on-screen text reading: “Things I wish I knew before I went to Scotland”.
Michelle begins with: “I’m Michelle and I post about budget travel, travel itineraries and family travel, and lately I’ve been posting a lot about the UK.
“Particularly Scotland, as I went there last summer for a few weeks and then returned this summer for even more time there.”
She adds: “I’m a very meticulous traveller. I do tons of research before I travel and visit these places but there’s still mistakes that I made, so learn from them.”
The clip cuts to the Cold Town House bar in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket as Edinburgh Castle looms overhead, and Scottish music plays in the background.
Michelle says: “Mistake number one was not pre-booking our tickets to attractions like Edinburgh Castle or Mary King’s Close.”
“We just figured we could get them that day and – no.”
The clip then cuts to Michelle and her husband looking sad at the camera as they stand outside the ruins of Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, which is fenced off and undergoing conservation work.
She says: “Mistake two was assuming all the sites we wanted to visit would be open and not under construction with fencing everywhere. Please always check in advance.”
The footage then shows a cold Michelle, clad in many layers including a winter hat, holding tightly onto her green parka as she stands on top of a hill.
She then explains: “Mistake three was underestimating how cold and windy it could get, even in the summer.”
Michelle can then be seen walking along a wet path towards a castle as her overlaid commentary says: “Mistake four was underestimating how often it would rain.
“Make sure to have a little umbrella in your bag at all times.”
In contrast to this, the clip then cuts to show the sun beaming down on Edinburgh’s Old Town as she adds: “Mistake five was underestimating how hot and sunny it could actually be…just always check the weather.”
Michelle then adds to her list in an update explaining she was mistakenly “booking ferries and not realising how often they’ve been cancelled lately.”
She adds: “It’s been all over the news but our ferry was cancelled and we were stranded on the Isle of Mull.”
She then moves onto the next mistake – miscalculating how many Highland Cows there are in Scotland, adding: “Last year, we drove nearly 1,300 miles all over Scotland and we didn’t actually see any.”
The video then shows Michelle’s husband and son adorably feeding a Highland Cow a carrot.
She then goes on to explain how there are many “winding and narrow” roads in Scotland – which appears to confuse many visiting tourists.
She then advises tourists to be mindful of the roundabouts and opposite-side driving.
Michelle then explains how her next mistake was “not bringing enough coins or cash”, adding: “When it came to public parking, that was an issue sometimes.”
Finally, Michelle concludes the video with her final mistake – loving Scotland too much – as she walks across a white sandy beach by a shimmering blue sea.
She concludes: “Our biggest mistake was coming to Scotland at all in the first place because it’s a wonderful county and now we’re obsessed and we’re going to spend a lot of money trying to come back here over the years.”
Michelle took to social media yesterday, to share the video, writing: “Useful tips before you get there.”
The video received over 4.800 likes and hundreds of comments from Scots and fellow travellers alike sharing their own advice.
One person wrote: “As long as you check the weather forecast, totally ignore it and prepare for any eventuality, you’ll be completely fine.”
Another said: “Scottish weather is a beast. When it’s sunny, it’s hot. That sun hits different and I live in Houston, so that’s saying something.”
A third commented: “Mistake one: Not realising you would fall in completely in love with Scotland and now you want to move.”
A fourth added: “I can attest to the cows, the driving and the parking, for sure. I went for the first time a year ago but learned quick.”
Speaking to Michelle today, she said: “I’ve been traveling internationally for years and have been to over 50 countries, but after my husband and I did a two-week road trip all through Scotland last year we became hooked.
“We haven’t visited a country back-to-back years before but there was something so special about it, and we just felt drawn to it.
“Last year, we went as a couple but this year we decided to return and bring along our three-year-old son.
“I was also six months pregnant during this second trip, so that was an added challenge, but we are so glad we made the journey.
“Being able to drive all over, experience all the different landscapes and see so many castles – it is just truly special.
“We just truly fell in love with Scotland, and for so many reasons.”