an amazing country Scotland is! We both loved its incredible scenery
and crisp fresh air and hundreds of shades of green and sheep everywhere
and the people!!! Everyone was so nice and friendly! We stayed
in B&B's the whole time and we really got to know the people that way
- as well as meeting other travelors from Australia and Germany and
England. Great to talk to everyone. We had a combination of
rain - really just mist and some sun and cool temperatures which was just
We started in London which was
fine for the short 2 days we were there - too big a city for our liking,
but we did see some of the sights - especially St. Paul's Cathedral
which we spent a couple of hours in. Really amazing architecture and
structure, especially when you consider they had only brain power to
design it with. We saw "Noises Off" which was hilarious
and had Lynn Redgrave in it. Then we took a 4 hour train ride to
Edinburgh which had great scenery to gawk at plus food and bevvies to
We immediately fell in love with
Edinburgh!!!! A small city of about 1/2 million people built
around the elevated Edinburgh castle (which started being built in
620!!!!!!!!!) We loved all the old buildings and just walking
through all that history! Gorgeous. We will definitely go back
some day and spend more time there. Dave played golf one day on a
beautiful course right near our B&B (which he said was a combination
of golfing and mountain climbing due to all the hills!) and I shopped in
town and hung
out in the gardens looking up at the castle.
day 4 we got our rent a car and a whole new adventure began - driving on
the left! YIKES! Dave pulled out in the the city traffic and
promptly went to the right side of the road. Luckily we made it over
the the left in time and got out into the country. The roads are
very narrow and once away from the cities turn into one lane each
direction (and even further out are only one VERY narrow lane with passing
places here and there)
So we shakily made our way to St.
Andrews which was very cool being the birth place of golf and all.
We walked all around - quite chilly winds off the ocean!! - and ate lunch
in the clubhouse. Then I decided I would try driving and although it
was scary at times with high cliffs and tiny roads, I drove the rest of
the trip with Dave being my constant guide dog and helping me with
"TOO CLOSE - MOVE RIGHT" and "Turn right but get
So off we went to Ballater for
the night which is in the east near Balmoral, the Queen's summer castle.
A beautiful quaint town! We tried haggis that night for dinner -
well, Dave ordered it, and it wasn't too bad! (the famous scottish dish
served in a lamb's stomach - although ours was just served as a stuffing
in chicken - of ground up everything of lamb and spices and oats etc. etc.
) He really liked it and ordered it again another night.
next morning at our B&B the kitchen door swung open and out came
George, the proprietor, in full kilt regala with steaming bowls of
porridge!! I thought I was in a movie! We walked around town
and found a jumble sale! They had taken the tiny town hall and it
was a big garage sale PACKED with locals rumaging through it all!
What a hoot! Of course we got a few treasures and then headed off
to Loch Ness/Inverness area to find the monster.
So incredible driving through all
the mountains and valleys and each bend was more beautiful than the one
before. Didn't see Nessie, but did see a Highland bagpiper alongside
the road and stopped for a listen and got our pictures taken with him.
Then we climbed down the banks and sat by the Loch Ness for a while.
Beautiful. Then on to Ft. Augustus for the night which is a little
town with a canal and 5 lochs. The next day we watched as they
filled the loch and moved the boats one loch at a time. It takes
about 2 hours to travel up the 5 lochs. The night before we met some
really nice locals at the pub who insisted on buying us drinks and we
enjoyed sharing tales of our home and theirs.
the next day we headed to the Isle of Skye which we loved!!! Took
the bridge over and the ferry
back. What a wonderful island Skye is!!! We went hiking
through an area called The Fairy Glen and although we didn't see any
fairies, we knew they were there! So beautiful and soft and green
and mounds of hollow earth. Enchanting! We ate some good
seafood visited the oldest inhabited castle - Dunvegan - and it's gardens
and enjoyed our wee little village of Uig on the northern most tip of Skye!
When we went to leave 2 days
later, Pat, our inn keeper, didn't take credit cards and the only bank on
the island was 45 minutes away. So we offered up all our cash and
were 20 pounds short. We told him we'd go to Portree and cash some
travelors checks and send him the money. At first he said
"Enjoy the rest of your holiday and send me the money when you get
home." but we felt bad about that so he said "You're going
to Portree? Here, take my bank book and deposit the money into my account
and tell them to put it on the van that comes round tomorrow."
So off we went with his entire bank book and in Portree they said
"Oh, Pat. Yes, we'll put it on the van tomorrow."
Evidently the van goes to all these little towns once a week for everyone
to do their banking! Now how's that for small town!!!!!
Restored our faith in humanity too!
off we headed over the Quaraing which is an area of vast mountains and
hills gloriously green and sheep every where and you are very high up and
then it opens up to a breathtaking view of the ocean WAY below!! Of course
all of this is on a one lane road. We took the ferry to the mainland
and then drove the famous "Road to the Isle" route (which was
incredible! We saw 3 rainbows!!!) down to the bonny bonny banks of
Loch Lomond. We were supposed to stay on a working farm B&B but
it was kind of dirty and gave me the creeps so we drove around and LUCKILY
found this incredible mansion on a hill overlooking the Loch! It was
built in 1820 and had huge ceilings and cathedral windows and that had an
amazing double room available and we called the other place and canceled
and felt like we were in a dream especially when the proprietor came into
the lounge and asked if we'd like a wee dram!!!!!!!! We knew
we had found paradise.
next day after breakfast of porridge and fresh breads and cheeses
and fruits and juices we went walking along the banks of Loch Lomond and
then that afternoon went hiking on the forestry trails from Tarbet to the
next town of Arrochar. So beautiful and I know there were fairies
and gnomes and sprites living in those woods too! Our last dinner
was at an oyster bar right on the water where we had raw oysters, steamed
mussels, and langostines wrapped in Scottish smoked salmon along with a
couple of pints and we wondered how we could possible leave the next day.
So all in all we drove over 700
miles and really saw the country, but of course all good things must come
to an end - including this VERY long email, but I just had to share in as
much detail as I could our wonderful adventure to Scotland. We had
such a wonderful time and since we've been back each night both our dreams
have been in, around, or about Scotland and we hope they will continue to
be until we can get back there again someday - soon!
Also, we only came across one
foot and mouth closer our whole time - near Ft. Augustus and it was just a
precaution for that farm, not an infected farm. In fact we hiked on
Skye where there were posted signs that the paths were open from the foot
and mouth ban and to just follow a few rules that were posted there.
Otherwise we would have never known there to be a problem at all!
As for the planning of our trip, I did the
whole thing over the internet. Booked all our B&Bs after looking
at them on different sites, but mostly SmoothHound
and then various links. You could see pictures of the inns and some
even had interior photos and the tourist board ratings. We tried not
to stay any where lower than 3 stars and were not disappointed! The
average cost, including a FULL breakfast, was 23 pounds per person!
A bargain!!! And all our rooms were fully ensuite - meaning sink,
toilet and shower. (and you need to specify that you want ensuite
when booking) These rates go up a bit during July and August, but
only a few pounds. Only one place wanted our credit card number to
hold the room, but didn't make a charge until we got there. I also
read a few guide books - I really like the Dorsling Kinderslay Eyewitness
guide series - to help me narrow where we would go, as well as Jeanette's
advice to read In Search of Scotland!
booked our car with Hertz from here - about 210 pounds for the full seven
days. We did not need to take out extra insurance as we have a gold
card credit card and they offer insurance as part of their perks!
DO NOT BOOK TRAIN TICKETS FROM LONDON TO
EDINBURGH FROM HERE!! A travel agency was going to charge us $120
each for the ticket. We got our ticket at King's Cross Station in
London and they were only 31 pounds each!!!
We were fortunate to have enough miles on
our frequent flyer program so we flew for FREE!! Otherwise it would
have probably been a lot to fly into London and out of Glasgow, but there
are always special rates.
Another bit of advice, we called our credit
card company before we left to tell them we would be charging overseas and
they made note of the days we'd be there and when we'd be back so no
charges after that date would be accepted and they would know it was us