Only I could launch a travel blog all about Scotland the month before Covid19 seemed to officially hit the country! In my bleakest of moments during this pandemic, I always like to remind myself of this fact in order to give myself a wee chuckle. Of course, trying to launch a wee hobby blog all about travel in Scotland is way down on the list of importance when it comes to what has been most impacting for myself, my family and the people of Scotland or around the world.
Losing loved ones during the pandemic
From a personal perspective, my family and I lost my uncle just recently during the pandemic. Whilst it was not for Covid-related reasons that he passed, seeing my mother trying to plan and organise a funeral during these crazy times and the restrictions that are in place during the pandemic for such meetings has been both sad and frustrating as well as a real eye-opener. For the most part though, I’m just disappointed I did not get to spend as much time with my uncle this year as what I had planned. He’d only recently moved back up to Scotland after years spent living down south and was enjoying coastal life after years spent living in a city. Every time we’d scheduled to meet up this year though something seemed to get in the way. In all but one case it was Covid restrictions that stopped the meet ups between my uncle and I happening this year. Then he passed and I’m just left with the feelings of both sadness and frustration at the fact this pandemic has ultimately got in the way of me seeing him in the months before he died. I also know this is a feeling many people have been left with during the pandemic, i.e. a feeling like Covid has taken something from them. There is not much we can do about that I suppose, however, what Covid has reminded me to do though is appreciate the simple moments in life and to take opportunities when they come to you – even if it’s just the simple opportunity of meeting up with a family member or friend for a coffee once Covid19 has been eradicated.
Like many people this year, I had plans to travel around Scotland during the summer in particular, but I was also hoping for some wee trips beyond that too. Many trips were scheduled and booked, but most got cancelled completely due to local lockdowns and later tier restrictions. Even those earlier on in the year that didn’t get cancelled completely were not perhaps as successful as was originally planned. For example, my trip to Glasgow during the summer equated to all the museums, galleries and attractions I had wanted to visit being shut due to Covid. Initial thoughts were to just experience what we could outdoors instead, but when you coupled that with particularly heavy rain almost constantly for the time we were there, we ended up doing a spot of shopping and touring coffee shops and restaurants instead! This was during the beginning of the “Eat out to help out” scheme that was going on in the UK at the time I should add. At this current time I would probably not eat out even if there was the ability to do so where I live due to the new variant of Covid19 that has been discovered recently.
New variant of faster-spreading Covid19
Very recently there has been news of a new variant of Covid19 in the UK. This has seen the previously scheduled relaxation of rules across the UK be scrapped and now we only have this lessening of rules on Christmas Day. It is planned for the whole of mainland Scotland to go into the highest tier of restrictions again on Boxing Day, i.e. tier 4. There is a lot still unknown about the variant so I will not comment on it given that I’m not a scientist nor am I party to any up-to-date data on it like the government is, but I’d be lying if I said it’s not worrying or frustrating. On the one hand I can understand why we need to have stricter rules in place in order to stop the spread of the virus, but on the other hand I must admit to finding the constant time stuck indoors to be more and more difficult.
Covid19 Vaccines Approved and being Distributed!
On a more positive note, in the UK vaccines have been approved to immunise everyone against Covid19! It will take probably most of 2021 to roll this out to almost everyone, but at least there is now light at the end of the tunnel! In addition to this, there may also be some logistical issues at the moment in getting vaccines to Scottish island communities, but hopefully that can all be worked out soon and we’ll all be on our way to total vaccination of the population next year! Hurrah!
Some positive notes from a personal perspective…
For myself personally, whilst 2020 has undoubtedly had some real down moments, there has also been some real highs! The best was the birth of my wee nephew! Being an Auntie is always something I’ve loved since becoming one for the first time some years ago. Having another wee addition to our family therefore has definitely been a big high of the year. Ordinarily I would have seen my nephew more since he’s been born, and that’s not always been possible due to local tier restrictions on travelling, but nevertheless, it has still been wonderful to be an Auntie once again!
Another high was graduating from university this year and going on to start my master’s degree in marketing. Given how little I attended school as a kid and the fact that I didn’t actually go to university until I was in my late 20s, I’m sure many people probably didn’t expect me to go on to university at all! It’s therefore been nice to have that academic experience and at a stage in my life where I actually appreciate it! I’m also in the process of having a few job interviews for when I graduate with my master’s in 2021 – and things are looking quite promising at the moment in that regard. Hopefully, therefore, 2021 can lead onto greater things!
Is there a chance of some travel in Scotland in 2021?
I’m also hopeful that if vaccines are given out fairly quickly in Scotland in early 2021, that there may be a chance for some domestic travel around Scotland for Scottish-based people perhaps during summer or autumn in 2021. Of course, we don’t know how things will work out, but I remain optimistic and hopeful. As for international tourists being able to come to Scotland, I reckon it will be early 2022 before that’s possible, although who knows… If vaccines are rolled out quickly around the world then I hope we’ll all be able to see each other again sooner! Until such time as travel becomes a part of our lives again though, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Edit: Almost forgot to add – Scotland qualified for the Euros this year which will be our first qualification for a major football tournament in 22 years! If things are able to open up next year in terms of people going to stadiums, it will be a fantastic year for Scotland in 2021 to experience this and is yet another thing to look forward to!