Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scotland Trip
9th - 16th August 2010

A few pictures from our short trip North of the Border (not in any particular order)

The Itinerary:

After a long drive North we stopped over at Carlisle, the next day we visited Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall before crossing the border into Scotland. Quite amazing.

We headed towards Ayr visiting Bruces Stone - which was probably not the original stone that Robert the Bruce stood on to encourage his men as it was probably now in the middle of the reservoir   - but it looked good.

We stopped for a short while at Girvan to take a walk along the coast and to see the towering island of Ailsa Craig in the distance

After our stopover in Ayr we headed for the ferry at Ardrossan this took us over to the lovely Isle of Arran.

We decided to tour around the island heading South frequently stopping off to admire the views including that of Holy Island, and to take short walks, continuing around and up the West Coast arriving at Lochranza with just enough time to catch the tiny ferry - which took just 18 vehicles over to Ciaonog - where there is nothing ...... but a place to get on and off the ferry.

As it was getting late we headed on to Tarbert where we were extremely fortunate to find B&;B accommodation run by a lovely and generous lady.

Next morning before we set off we had the most amazing and enormous "Full Scottish Breakfast" - we could not finish it - it was just too much.

Well fed we headed for Dunadd Hill Fort - situated as suggested by the name, on the top of an hill with fantastic views all around the Kilmartin Glen. Here we put our foot in the sculptured footprint used in ceremonies by the King of Scotland c700AD. King and Queen for a moment.

Moving on to Inveraray we visited the wonderful Castle, with is magnificent Armoury - set off wonderfully in the entrance area. After we tried to check out the Jail but it was closed (or maybe full up). Quickly we moved on to Tarbet on Loch Lomond - where we eventually found B&;B accommodation.

Next morning we took a bit of a rest, this included  a  short boat trip on Loch Lomond - taking in the wonderful views with Ben Lomond (sort of) towering above.

When we decided to move on it was a bit of a long trek and a dash via beautiful Pitlochrey through the Grampian Mountains, which were impressive to see. Eventually we arrived in Inverness, where every B&;B and Hotel was booked up - fortunately one of the B&B ladies offered us a room in her sons house 5 miles away in Kirkhill - we are very grateful to her as it could have adversely affected the tour.

After breakfast we set off in search of Nessie - the Loch Ness Monster - but alas he (or she) could not be seen - it was a bit misty though.

We had a sort of whistestopltour of Inverness town- which were playing against Celtic (losing 0-1) that day - so a very noisy town with a significant  Police presence, then off to the real battle at Culloden ( needless to say we English won -ooopsssssss).

Seriously ..... the exhibition was really well done and very informative, but outside was a bit of a let down and the audios provided were not very good. But all in all a good lesson in History - who knows what might have happened if only...........

We then stopped off at Brodie Castle - but to see the inside was with an escorted tour which took 1 hour and we had just missed the last one so we decided to give it a miss - shame really - but time was pressing and we had to get to Aberdeen for our overnight stop.

Next morning we took the scenic East Coast route stopping at many places for tea and coffee and..... We had a wonderful tour of the House of Dunn, near Montrose, before (just in time) catching the Steam Train  on the Caledonian Railway, which took us to Brechin (as well as taking us back in time).

We whizzed through Dundee over the Tay Bridge  and headed for St Andrews - not for the golf - but there was plenty of it going on around there.

We were running out of time and with such a long journey ahead decided to head back to Carlisle for the night.

Next morning before setting off on our final leg back home we (Suri) decided that we had to see Carlisle Castle, which I am glad that we did - it is particularly well maintained covering a lot of history - it is a shame we could not give it more time.

Eventually we set off on the very long journey back South.

Overall a really good trip - the weather was very kind to us with only a few heavy showers ---- even if we did miss such a lot ---------- but that gives a good enough  reason to return...........

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