The UK is a multicultural place which has long attracted people from all over the world, who enrich UK life by bringing their own influences with them to these shores. It is not uncommon to walk around a city and hear multiple languages being spoken around you, or to go somewhere remote in the countryside and still find a […]
Ten UK landscapes that took my breath away
Whether it’s the glens and lochs in Scotland, the rolling hills in Yorkshire, or the gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) waves in Cornwall, the UK is filled with landscapes to take away the breaths of even the most difficult to please. Our scholars have been living in and exploring the UK for many months now but what were the specific landscapes that took their breaths away and etched themselves as lifelong memories? Let’s find out together.
1. CONQUERING SCOTLAND
Legend has it, Arthur’s Seat is one of the possible locations of Camelot – King Arthur’s legendary castle. Whilst we have no facts to substantiate this legend, we do know that Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the group of hills in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park. Formed by an extinct volcano, samples from the peak were taken and dated to 341-335 million years ago.
Phuong Anh Nguyen, Vietnam
‘The first time I came to visit Scotland, I came to Edinburgh in the middle of winter and I was very impressed by the spectacular natural beauty of the city. We got up early one morning to hike up to Arthur’s Seat which is one of the best things I did in Scotland during this trip. Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the group of hills in Edinburgh and the remains of an extinct volcano that erupted 350 million years ago.
It was surprisingly cold and windy in the early morning and I saw small patches of ice on the road to the top of the hill. However, it was worth the cold, fatigue, and strenuous hike to see Edinburgh from this beautiful vantage point and to feel the fresh air. I looked out at the sun which looked like a giant fireball slowly ascending from the east. The ancient city twinkled under the sunrise and when the sun eventually peaked, the light reached further out dying the sky with the mighty colours of pink and orange before becoming mesmerizingly blue to signify a new day.’
Standing 1,345 metres tall, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK and is located in the Scottish Highlands. With an estimated 100,000 ascents each year, it’s a popular climbing location however, still one that requires a lot of preparation and physical ability. We recommend always taking special care when taking part in physical activities and not doing more than your body will comfortably allow.
Phuong Anh Nguyen
‘During my second trip to Scotland, Chevening helped me achieve my dream. I was born in a tropical country where snow is strange and I have harboured a longstanding dream of seeing the snow, holding the snow in my hand, and feeling the cold air that comes with snow.
I visited Forth William to climb the 1,345 metres to the top of Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in the UK. Luckily, it was a beautiful day with sunshine and endless blue skies.
The landscapes here took my breath away for many reasons. Firstly, I was on my way to the top of the UK, secondly, the hike was highly strenuous and fatiguing, and the biggest reason of all, for the first time in my life, I stood in front of a snowy mountain!
It was so majestic, spectacular, and mesmerising and the closer I got to the peak, the more I was surrounded by the pure white; under my feet, in the sky, in front of me, behind me, on the right, and on the left. It looked like scenes I’d seen in National Geographic – unbelievable! I was tired and I was cold but I was also content – my dream had come true.’
2. DRAMATIC SHEFFIELD VIEWS
The Peak District is an upland area in the southern end of the Pennines in England. Spanning more than 1,440 km2, the area covers much of northern Derbyshire as well as parts of Cheshire, Manchester, Staffordshire, and West and South Yorkshire. We haven’t visited the entire area but feel it’s probably safe to say there are beautiful landscapes all over the Peak District.
Loshana K Shagar, Malaysia
‘I’m lucky to be studying in Sheffield, a great city that also has beautiful greenery right on its doorstep. This was taken from one of the most dramatic viewpoints of the Peak District – Mam Tor in Castleton. A few Cheveners in and around Sheffield decided on this day to take a break from our studies and go on a road trip to explore the Peak District. We had a good time walking through many farms, stopping at the local villages, and sampling their delicacies.’
3. HIDDEN GEMS IN THE UK
The UK has many hidden (and many not-so-hidden) gems dotted throughout the country. Two of these not-so-hidden gems are Ben Nevis in Scotland and Snowdon in Wales. Both over views that stretch as far as the eyes can see and they are both popular with experienced climbers. Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, is also a popular choice to climb. The National Three Peaks Challenge is an event which combines the three peaks and challenges participants to climb all three peaks within a 24 hour period.
Jonibek Rakhmonov, Uzbekistan
‘There have been a lot of landscapes in the UK that have taken my breath away. Each time I travel within this country, I discover something unique.
Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Scotland but also the UK at 1,345 metres and Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), the highest peak in Wales at 1,085 metres are good examples of my trips where I discovered unique views and elements.
With a history dating back many years, every single city, town, and village I have visited are exclusive and are unique. I like being in the UK and I love discovering these hidden gems across the UK.’
4. GROWING INTO A BRIGHTON FRIENDSHIP
Since we started the scholar blogs series almost one year ago, Brighton and especially Brighton seafront/Pier has featured in nearly every blog. This alone shows how captivating a place it is to scholars and how breath-taking it is.
Emerson Zotti, Brazil
‘I have been to quite a few places in the UK over the past 6 months. I could have chosen the lovely UNESCO heritage city of Canterbury, the Sussex countryside, Lewes, or the astonishing Seven Sisters for UK landscape that took my breath away. However, it is the marvellous sunset at Brighton Beach that does so. Every time.
I’m still unsure what it is exactly that moves me so much about the sunset here, but the truth is that since I arrived in Brighton, it is the moment when I feel most connected to the city and feel happiest. It’s also the moment where I can organise my thoughts and chill.
I’m usually accompanied during this time by friends, Cheveners, or others and it is in these moments that I believe we get to know one another better – this is what my picture is about. It is one of my favourites from the dozens I have taken and a very special one. It was my first sunset at Brighton Beach. The picture features Maria from Colombia, Junaid from Pakistan, and Clelia from France. We were sitting in front of the West Pier – now just a poetic background for pictures. We were waiting for the sunset, growing into our friendship, and sharing good laughs.
These are the special moments I will remember from my time in the UK. How breathless I am with every sunset and the moments I share with the amazing people I have met here.’
5. NOT BEING BLOWN OFF THE EDGE
Great Cumbrae, the larger of two islands known as The Cumbraes in Scotland and is roughly 2.5 miles long by 1.2 miles wide. It has a population of under 1,400 – smaller than our 2018 cohort of scholars! On a clear day, views from Great Cumbrae can extend as far as Ailsa Craig which is roughly the halfway point to Northern Ireland and even to the edges of Northern Ireland itself!
Damian Ohienmhen, Nigeria
‘These pictures are from my trips to the island of Great Cumbrae and from a hike at Conic Hill by Loch Lomond – both in Scotland.
Great Cumbrae is a small island on the west coast of Scotland, just off the coast of Largs; the nearest township. The island has just under 1,400 inhabitants and the landscape is dotted with stretches of snowy patches and bright green vegetation. In the distance, you’re able to see the snowy hills of Arran with wind turbines overlooking the white mountains.
With a breathtaking landscape littered with small islands that fill the nearby bay, the view from Conic Hill is one to see. From the highest point, you are given a panoramic view of the highland plains and water bodies around the surrounding area. Reaching this point however, means having to withstand the 40 m/s wind which can blow you over the edge.’
6. A PLEATED KILT IN THE INNER HEBRIDES
The largest and northernmost of the major islands making up the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye is not always the easiest location in the Scottish Highlands to reach, with access from the mainland limited to either a ferry from Malaig or via the Skye Bridge between the island and Kyle of Lochalsh – both of which may not be operational during high winds.
Once you arrive however, you will be glad you made the journey. Popular attractions include The Storr, Quiraing, Dunvegan Castle, the Fairy Pools, Sligachan, and Kilt Rock amongst many others.
Flaka Siqeca, Kosovo
‘The Scottish Highlands are widely known for being stunning and people from all over the world come to admire the scenery and hike the mountains here. But me, I’m simply lucky enough to live only hours away from the magic!
In mid-March, my friends and I decided to go on an adventure road trip to the Isle of Skye – the largest island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago. There are beautiful landscapes to be explored in literally every corner of the island. For me, this picture I took on top of the Kilt Rock is simply mesmerising.
The ancient cliff, named for its resemblance to a pleated kilt, emits grace and mystery.
If you are wondering where to go next and explore the UK, Isle of Skye is the place to see. From vivid-coloured mountains and medieval castles to funny-looking cattle (also known as moo floofs and Heilan coos), you will come across panoramas that will take your breath away. Of that, you can be sure!’
7. HIKING TO THE YORKSHIRE DALES
North of the Peak District is the Yorkshire Dales which is made up of attractive hiking trails, waterfalls, and picturesque villages. The area is still known as being a rural area where agriculture is strong. The dales have something to appease everyone and this contributes to their beauty.
Anxhela Bruci, Albania
‘The spring term was coming to an end, assignment deadlines were starting to approach, and the stress from this was reaching high levels. So, what better way to deal with it than to happily escape to nature for the day!
Hiking the Yorkshire Dales and enjoying the stunning landscapes were a fantastic way to keep myself motivated and energised. The impressive landscape of lush dales and windswept hills such as those of the Three Peaks have left permanent memories within me.
Despite the windy day and the fear that it would rain from moment to moment, nothing could stop me walking alongside the river and enjoying the unique viewpoint of the breath-taking waterfall.’
8. WINDSWEPT IN SWANSEA
Three Cliffs Bay is on the south coast of the Gower Peninsula in Wales near the city of Swansea. The name comes from the three sea cliffs that extend out into the bay. Close to the beach here, is Pennard Castle which was built in the early 12th century.
D’Andra Johnson, Bahamas
‘I went to visit the only other Bahamian Chevening Scholar, Therell Smith, in Swansea for a weekend during a time when the weather was exceptional. We planned a weekend of adventures to take advantage of the nice weather… but the weather had other plans. Luckily, that didn’t stop us!
We started the journey to Three Cliffs Bay through heavy rain and wind gusts that made the rain sting as it hit our faces. But we didn’t care – it made the adventure more adventurous. We approached our destination, and after realising the gravity of the hike down to the bay… well, that stopped us! We decided to take the safe choice of viewing the bay from a distance and captured this photo of almost-Three-Cliffs-Bay. Amazingly, the rain and the fact that I am fighting to stand straight against the wind isn’t evident at all in this photo. The view and the landscape here was one of many breathtaking views throughout Swansea.’
9. WEATHER CYCLES IN THE UK
If there is anything our scholars learn within weeks of arriving in the UK, it’s that the weather is not always what they expected. Whether they expect the sun, non-stop rain, or even snow, they are typically both right and wrong. In the UK, the weather can be any of these at any given moment. We can have blaring hot sunshine in October/November, and a month of cold rain in June. Sometimes even on the same day. No matter how much you prepare, you eventually realise you cannot prepare too far in advance.
Kelsey Cambridge, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
‘This photo was taken at the peak of Dun Na Cuaiche, Inveraray, Scotland. Despite the distance only being 2.5 km, I took 2.5 hours to climb up.
During my ascent, I experienced a range of different weather elements; I was soaked by the rain, slightly frozen by snow, stoned with hail, beaten by the wind, glided by the fog, and soothed with the sun. It’s safe to say, Mother Nature had a field day with me.
The view from the top was incredibly amazing and it reminded me of the picturesque views seen in my Caribbean Island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I felt like I was on top of the world. However, I appreciated it even more after the struggle I experienced before getting to the top. I wanted to turn back so many times (the struggle was real folks) but I didn’t!
This walk up made me smile as it reminded me of how tough, but totally worth it, my Chevening application was and the joy I felt at the end!’
10. BEACHES, MOUNTAINS, AND CITYSCAPES
Part of the popular North Norfolk Coast, Sheringham Beach is sandy when the tide is out and covered in pubbles at high tide – one thing remains the same however, it is always beautiful. Nearby, there are independent cafes and tea rooms, a steam railway, a museum, and a golf course to keep you entertained after your visit to the beach.
Maven Ten, Malaysia
‘Making the most of my year in the UK, I travelled to Sheringham Beach near Norwich from London. It was cloudy when we arrived, but the sun came out as we were strolling along. It’s the same with my experience here in UK – pleasant surprises and the sun springing out here and there as we progress through our Chevening journey, making it a beautiful picture at the end of the journey.
On another trip, having left the buzzing London for the Peak District, the sight of sheep everywhere amidst the rolling green hills with no humans in sight was such a welcome break from London which I desperately needed.
But, despite its hectic nature, this photo captured at dusk represents what London is to me – always busy and buzzing, but with a certain beauty, grandiose, and old world charm to it.’
Thank you to our scholars who submitted pictures and stories to this theme.
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