Memories of Scotland
On the 13th May, 1998 we once again headed for
Scotland for a two week holiday (yes, I am mad enough to sit on the place
for 24 hours to get to Glasgow again).
*** These photos were taken with our very first digital camera. On this trip we also took a film camera which I used.
Mount Stuart House
Saturday 16th MayWe had to change our original plans for today
because Kevin has hurt his arm and needed to see a doctor. It appears he
has pulled a tendon and has now got some cream to rub on it. So we left
Cumbernauld at about 10.15 for the borders.We drove through very beautiful country – green
rolling hills, lots of sheep and cows and then lovely forests and windy
rivers. We drove around one hill and there before us was Neidpath
Castle surrounded by forest. Talk about a magic location. We stopped
here and had a wander through and up the turnpike staircase (afterwards
we found a normal staircase). The inside was very well preserved but not
set up to provide much information. So we walked around wondering what
we were looking at. The view from the top was breathtaking. This is one
castle I could certainly enjoy living in.From here we drove through the beautiful town
of Pebbles and on to Abbotsford House, home of Sir Walter Scott. Unfortunately
there was no tour here and you just wandered through some of the rooms
at leisure. We saw his desk and collection of Scottish memorabilia including
a lock of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hair, a pocketbook worked by Flora MacDonald,
Rob Roys dirk, sword and gun. It was interesting and the home was beautiful
but you really needed a guide to point out things of interest.Our next stop was Jedburgh where we had lunch.
I had a wonderful Scottish Ploughmans and Kevin had sausages. We then visited
Mary Queen of Scots Home, where she stayed for a few weeks. This was very
interesting and took us through her life. Again lots of momentos and stuff.
Very cute little home.
Kevin then decided he wanted to drive over
the border to England, which was only 20 mins south. So was did and Kevin
can now tell people we drove to another country.
From here was drove back to Cumbernauld. Liz provided our dinner tonight and we had a relaxing evening
Sunday 17th MayAnother beautiful day. It started misty but
that soon cleared and Kevin and were overdressed in long sleeves. A nice
easy day – our first stop was Callander and a visit to the Rob Roy Centre. This was very interesting and filled in a few blanks that the movie missed. From here was drove to Loch Katrine, stopping numerous times to take photos
and at one place even having a little paddle.
We had planned to go on a cruise of Loch Katrine but was too long to the next trip. So was had lunch
there, sitting outside in the sun and then drove to Balquidder to visit
Rob Roy’s grave and then through the pretty town of Crieff (where Ewan
MacGregor grew up) and to Castle Campbell, which we viewed from the road
but definitely didn’t have the energy to actually climb to. It was in a
wonderful location and I’m glad to have seen it.
We then drove back to Cumbernauld and went
to the supermarket for an exploration, picking up a variety of foods to
We sat outside in the sun over tea and coffee
and then Liz made us a beautiful Yorkshire Pudding for dinner- it
was delicious. Watched a bit of TV then went to bed. The one thing we cannot
get used to is that its daylight until 10pm and sunrise at 4am.
Monday 18th May Today saw us leave Liz and Stewart for our week touring. We left about 10am and
headed north past the beautiful Loch Lomond, where we of course stopped
for photos, and then to Loch Tulla. There was no thistle this time but
the view was just as good. We then drove through the bleak Ranooch Moor
and into Glen Coe. Again, it was a beautiful day – the sun was shining
and only a soft breeze blowing. I was more impressed with Glen Coe this
time, the shear magnificence of these mountains has to be seen to be believed.
We stopped at the Visitors Centre to watch the short film about the massacre
(thought we listened to the tape on the way) and had lunch sitting outside
surrounded by sun and mountains.
From here we drove through Ballachulish (and
yes it is as beautiful as I remembered) and on to Fort William. We drove
north of the city and caught a gondola up ????. The view was magnificent,
over the mountains, Fort William and even Fort Augustus and Loch Ness.
Ben Nevis was shrouded in cloud so we couldn’t see the top. We had delicious
hot chocolates here, outside on the verandah and it was just like being
at the snow. We stopped briefly at Fort William on the way back to Ballachulish
and then went to the B&B we staying the next two nights. Crainglinnhe
is beautifully situated right on the loch, separated only by the road.
Unfortunately our room only has a small window in which to see the view.
Upon arrival we were served tea and shortbread in the loungeroom, where the best views are, and later tea in the the dining
room. It was a lovely meal of Ham with cheese sauce, then Beef in Red Wine
with yummy mashed potatoes and Baked Banana and ice cream followed by cheese
and tea. We went to bed straight after dinner to read/use computer and
had a relatively early night.
Tuesday 19th MayAfter a lovely cooked breakfast we set off
for Oban, passing by Castle Stalker. We stopped at Dunstaffange Castle,
again beautifully situated on the loch,. It’s pretty much in ruins but
was well worth a quick visit.
From here it was only a short drive to the
pretty town of Oban. Our ferry wasn’t till 12pm so we had a bit of wonder
around the town and a visit to the Caithness Visitors Centre, which showed
some video on how the glass is made. It was rather interesting and I was
very good and didn’t buy anything.We sat outside on the ferry over to Mull and
saw the vision of Duart Castle unfold before us. Talk about a magnificant
situation. It truly is stunning. We also passed by Lady Rock where Elizabeth
Campbell was left stranded by her husband on the way. Mull is a very picturesque island, populated mainly by tourists. We caught the
bus to Duart Castle, passing along very narrow roads. Unfortunately we
were just left to wander around the castle at our own pace, whereas we
would have preferred a tour guide. It was restored in the early 1900s so
the castle in actually relatively new. It would be very interesting if
you were a member of the clan
We did however enjoy our visit which was completed
with a delicious lunch at the tea room. This would be must for any visitor
– lots of yummy homemade cakes and biscuits and I had a wonderful tomato
Next our tour bus took us to Torosay Castle
& Gardens. This looks nice enough and the grounds look lovely but the
inside was quite boring – for Kevin and I anyway. We hung around and waited
for our miniature train ride back to the town. This was very quaint but
the seats were rather hard and I got a sore backside.
Back in town we caught
the ferry back to Oban, passing by Duart Castle for one last glance.
Back at Oban was decided to have tea at McTavish’s.
Kevin chose haggis, neaps and mash & Chicken Corden Bleu and I had
Potatoe Wedges and Pork Snitzel. It was all very nice. We then drove back
to Ballachulish, stopping to take some video of Castle Stalker on
We pretty much went straight to bed, rather tired after our day.
Wednesday, 20th MayAfter breakfast we left Ballachuish, stopping
at the Confectionery Factory on the way to catch the ferry. The road to
Tioram Castle saw us pass through some
beautiful scenery and driving on very narrow roads.But it was well worth it, as was the walk over to the castle. Another stunning location and although
the castle is in ruins and covered in moss and plants, I really liked it
here. I think because it is untouched and it’s actually possible to picture
people living here. It’d be a great setting for a time-travel novel.
Next stop was the Glenfinnan Monument where
Kevin found some energy and climbed to the top of the monument. It’s a
very pretty location and you can see the viaduct we passed over on the
train last time.
From here it was relatively easy drive but to Fort William
where we had Yorkshire Pudding for lunch at the MacTavish Café
From here was drove on to Eileen Donan Castle,
and yes, it is as magnificent as in the photos. Again because it is all
restored the inside was a little disappointing but still worth a visit.
I lost track of how many photos we took here.
To complete todays journey we drove to Plockton,
home of TVs Hamish Macbeth. And checked in to a farm B&B, completed
with resident Border Collie and cows. We have a magnificent view from our
room, over the cow paddock and loch. Col, the border collie escorted
us on a walk down to the shore. He is such a cute pup.
We drove a local restaurant called Off The
Rails – it is a converted restaurant on the train station. We had a lovely
meal. Kevin had haggis again and I had a lovely chicken stir fry. Back
at the B&B we watched some TV and then went off the bed.
Thursday, 21st MayAfter breakfast we went into the town of Plockton
to explore. It’s a very small town with a few shops and a few streets.
Unfortunately we were still unable to recognize any Hamish places, so after
a quick visit we headed for Inverness. We got a little bit of drizzle this
morning, though that had cleared by the time we reached Inverness. We then
organised our accommodation in a flat and had pizza for lunch before meeting
the landlady. The flat is very basic but is opposite the river and in a
pretty nice location.This afternoon we did a little shopping and
went to the supermarket, then settled into our flat for dinner and a night
in front of the TV.
Friday, 22nd MayThis morning we set off for Kingussie and visited
the site of the ruined Ruthven Barracks, alongside the river Spey and then
the Highland Wildlife Park where we saw bison, highland cows, deer, and
wolves. It was quite enjoyable but would be wonderful for kids.
We then drove to Aviemore where we bought pies
for lunch, which we ate in the park, then we drove on to Lochindorb Castle.
This was great for me to see, situated as it is the loch, surrounded by
the bleak Dava Moor. There is even a hill, like I had written in my novel.
Our next stop was Elgin where we visited the museum and the Cathedral,
which was burned down by Alexander Stewart. This was probably a waste of
time, but at least we’ve been there now.Back in Inverness we went to the movies and
saw “Deep Impact”, then had dinner back in our apartment.
Saturday, 23rd MayHad a little sleep in this morning, then headed
for Culloden Moor. Once again I really enjoyed my visit here. We watched
the film, went on a short guided tour then spent lots of money in there
wonderful book shop.
From here we had a brief visit at the Clarva Cairns ancient stones,
then went on the Cawdor Castle.
We had a lovely quiche & salad then a wander around the castle. It is a beautiful castle but
unfortunately we were a little lost without a guide to tell us what to
look for. I also wasn’t feeling the best today so that didn’t help. We
did however see the tree that the castle was built around and the fireplace
mantle built for John and Murella Campbell, so it wasn’t a complete waste
of time. On the way back to Inverness we stopped to
get some groceries and then settled in for a night in front of the TV.
Sunday, 24th May We had a bit of a slow morning and departed
Inverness at around 11am. First stop today with the ruins of Kildrummy
Castle. We got a little bit of rain here but not enough to worry about.
This was a very romantic ruin and well laid out with lots of plaques so
you actually know what you are looking at. It is very beautiful country
From here we went on to Haddo House, where my dad was born.
Again, a very lovely house but no guide except for in the rooms. Luckily one lady asked us where
we were from and I got to telling her that dad was born here. Anyway it
turns out she keeps a list of Haddo babies so I was able to give her Dad’s
details for her records. We had a lovely lunch here of soup and sandwich
before setting off, which no actually destination in mind for tonight.
We stopped to photograph Dunottar Castle
and ended up in Dundee where we checked into a suite ($400 per night) for the
night. It is beautiful which a huge canopied bed, a bath, two TVs – very
luxurious, and a river of the Tay River. Quite a bit of a contrast to where
we stayed in Inverness. We had a late dinner in the restaurant at 8.30pm
before settling in to watch TV.
Monday, 25th MayAnother late start this morning, though we
had to venture downstairs for our buffet breakfast at 9.15am, we left the
hotel at about 10.30 and drove the short distance to Claypotts Castle.
We decided not to go into the castle again and thought
to drive to Crail. But along the way we saw signs to the Secret Bunker
and made a detour. This is a bunker hidden under a farm house and land,
used by the government during WWII. It was very interesting and we spent
a few hours here touring the complex, viewing videos and having lunch deep
underground. But boy was it cold down there.
From here we headed back to Cumbernauld where
Liz’s daughter Aileen, her husband Sean and their two kids came to meet
us and have dinner with us. It was a very enjoyable night and the dinner
Liz prepared – lasagna, mashed potatoes and veg followed by Chocolate Cake
was absolutely delicious.
Tuesday, 26th MayToday was a rather lazy day – just shopping
in Glasgow. Liz came with us but went off the buy things for their new
caravan, which they are picking up tomorrow. The weather had cooled considerably
now but the rain is still only drizzling.
Wednesday, 27th MayToday Kevin and I headed south to Threave Castle. At one point the rain was so bad and it was so misty we nearly
turned back, but I really wanted to go and knew this was my only chance,
so we continued on. Anyway, by the time we arrived at the castle is was
only raining softly, and by the time we had walked to the jetty the rain
had stopped altogether. It was very picturesque here, especially crossing
the river by boat. The castle is all in ruins but plaques enable you to
read about the history.I really enjoyed my visit here, and I think
even Kevin did in spite of the walk. The ferry man even took us down the
river a little way to let us get a better photo on our way back.
Back at the car, now both exhausted, we decided
to head to Loch Doon. Now, this was probably a waste of time as it was
a long drive to see a total ruin. This castle had been in fact relocated
from its position on an island in the loch in 1930 because the loch was
flooded to make a dam. Still, at least I’ve seen it now.
Next was a brief stop at Dundonald Castle.
I wasn’t too worried about touring the castle again but wanted to have
a better look around the surrounding area but we discovered the castle
museum had now opened so we went into that. This was good because it had
models of all the different castle designs and a bit of history on the
castle, mind you I knew most of that.
From here we headed back to Cumbernauld, stopping
at a Little Chief for a late lunch at about 3pm. We then settled in for
a night in front of the TV.
Thursday, 28th MayToday the weather has turned on us again. It
is wet, rainy and rather cold. Still, we set off for Edinburgh. We got
a little lost on the way into the city centre but finally found our carpark.
Unfortunately Kevin left his jacket in the car, and the one I had wasn’t
water proof. Still we proceeded to catch the open top bus, sitting outside
in the freezing cold. It was good being able to see a bit more of the city
than on our last trip.First stop was the castle, where it started
to rain in ernest and we had to abandon our guided tour. We weren’t too
worried though, because it was the same one with the same guide that we
did last year. On this visit we managed to get the visit Mary Queen of
Scot’s room where she gave birth to James and we also saw the crown jewels
and the stone of destiny.We also heard the 1pm cannon and were almost
deafened in the process. We had a yummy lunch in the cafe which looks out
over the city.Thankfully the rain had pretty much stopped
now, though it was still cold, and we were able to walk down the Royal
Mile to Hollyrood Palace.
By this time we were cold and tired (Kevin was
absolutely frozen) so we just found our tour bus and continued our open
top bus tour, then got back to our car and finally managed to get warm.
We found our way out of Edinburgh easy enough and stopped at the supermarket
for some last minute shopping on the way home.
Friday, 29th MayWell, it’s our last day and just as cold and
horrible as yesterday. Still, can’t complain we had wonderful weather earily
in the trip when it was more important. Today we ventured on the ferry
over to Millport to visit Liz’s mum and dad, where they are staying in
their caravan. Unfortunately it’s not the best day for a visit to a seaside
village. Still we had a lovely time after lunch even went into the main
street for icecream (yes, you heard right – ice cream). It was very nice
to – called a snowball. It’s a marshmellow type ball served with ice cream.After our visit we drove back to Cumbernauld
and tonight we dined at the Craigmallach Inn again. I just love the atmosphere
here and the meals are always lovely. It was a wonderful end to the trip.Tomorrow morning we have to leave at 5.30am
for our flight to London and then on the Sydney.