The Seals have Ears

When the seals are listening

Student Tours Scotland reflects on a time when the sea life in Scotland could hear everything you said!

The Isle of Bute off the west coast of Scotland holds many awesome treasures. There was a time when Student Tours Scotland used to tour there on a regular basis. Instead we have resigned the tour to the dustbin of history. History, however, is destined to repeat itself and so we have decided to bring the tour back. Albeit a new, exciting and awesome version.

In 2013, I ventured over to the Isle of Bute with my Brazilian friend Pedro and my good French friend, Aurelien. We travelled all over the island but the highlight was Scalpsie Bay. I had never been here before so it was exciting to put my feet into the warm, welcoming sand as it sunk around me, letting me leave my mark on the beach.

With each step we reached the edge of a rocky beach, surrounded by boulders that stretched out to sea. In front of us, perched carelessly on two large stones were two seals. A third was swimming around them in the water. It was a wonderful site and they were incredibly playful. Each click of the camera button would see the closest seal act more like a diva. The flippers would reach up in the air as if waving at us. They would plop around heavily on their thrones allowing us to catch their best side. God-forbid we took a snap worthy of Heat magazine’s ‘Circle of Shame’.

They have legends in Scotland of the Selkie, a creature that can mask itself as a seal and a human depending on the situation. After almost an hour of photos at the seals I was beginning to tire and needed food so I exclaimed rather loudly that I would happily eat the seals if we didn’t leave soon. No sooner than the words left my mouth, the seals rushed the water and vanished beneath the lapping waves.

They had heard me. They knew I was coming for them. And now they are plotting their seal-like revenge. Join us this Saturday to the Island itself and maybe you can see this ginger guy getting his butt kicked by some seals:

Whisky, St. Andrews and the Wind in your Face

St. Andrews with a Hangover

When Whisky Isn't Always the Answer

Students always ask if it’s okay to go out drinking or partying the night before one of our tours. Student Tours Scotland has no issue with this - just don’t get sick on the coach. That’s the only rule.

And it comes from experience guys. It really does. In 2010 I was snared, trapped by the wiles and ways of a Dutch and a French guy. They claimed to be my, ‘friends’ and said that it would, ‘just be one drink’. Oh how young and naive I was in 2010.

We headed off to the fantastic Pot Still whisky bar on Hope Street in Glasgow (which I highly recommend you check out if you have not already). In fact. Don’t even read any more, go and get a whisky there and then come back.

....*time for you to get a whisky in the Pot Still.*

OK, so now that you’ve done that you will know my pain. One does not simply go to the Pot Still. One, experiences the Pot Still in all it’s glory. Whisky hits the tongue like a tsunami of unconditional surrender, as your tastes explode across your palette. Essentially, just having one, is not an option. So you get tipsy. Or in my case, drunk.

It’s not fun having to lead a tour group when your head is pounding. The good thing about St. Andrews of course is that it’s never a calm day. Even in the glorious sunshine, as the rays criss cross the sky and lap gently against your pale, ginger skin, there is always the cold, hard reminder of the wind. It lashes across your face giving you an epic, free facial scrub. There is no Lush in St. Andrews, one simply walks along the beach to cleanse ones pores.

So after a morning spent, lying in the grass at East Sands beach, face covered by my wannabe (smelly) Oasis bucket hat from 1995, I finally felt refreshed. I still thank Gillian for all the help she gave by just being there when I needed her to guide the group.

And to Rindert and Maxime, thank you to for letting me experience what it’s like for a student to come on my tour drunk or hungover. It’s not that fun guys. You can always party the next day.

Tickets are on sale now for our last Student Tours Scotland St. Andrews tour of the semester (you can even squeeze in Dundee on the way home as well).