Scotland - Trips 1994, 1998 and 2011

 

Ceud Mile Filte!

One Hundred Thousand Welcomes!




Scotland captivated me from the very first encounter. While a this time photography did not yet rank high, the memories of the land - and seascapes are still present as back in 1994.

While this first visit took us all around the countries' coastline on both East, North and West, the second trip focused more on the Western Islands.

 The third return and reunion was a more stationary stay in a cosy stone cottage in the Cairngorms National Park in Kingussie.

You like nature, solitude, historical sites (and photography ...) ? Give it a try!

 

Trip number 3 in 2011

The third visit in 2011 lead us to Kingussie - in the middle of the country. Following our age it became more comfortable: A stationary stay  in a traditional, but very well equipped stone cottage standing for it's own.  On the map below some of the attractions and nature visited can be discovered.

Click here for larger version of this map

Kingussie is situated in the Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands. Less area coverage, but a more relaxing stay resulted. And with moderate driving distances, the region offers much more to visit, hike and enjoy than we managed in two weeks: Being lucky with the weather in the 2 weeks, we enjoyed castles, folk museums, whisky distilleries, hiking, mountain tours and delicious full Scottish breakfasts besides an awesome nature. There is so much to see in the National Park and beyond, that the stationary stay did not show up as a restriction compared to the round trips of the previous visits.

Two days in Skye appeared mandatory, where we stayed one night in a local hotel on the Islands to avoid extensive driving.




 

Trip number 2 in 1998

 

The second trip was in 1998, this time more focused on the Western parts, and there mainly the Islands (Inner and Outer Hebrides).

Starting this time with the Hovercraft Calais-Dover, we had some more trip through England, but headed straight forward to the North, with first "goal" on the Isle of Arran. From there via Islay (Whisky!) and Jura, Mull to the Outer Hebrides and to our Favorite (already familiar with from the first trip) : The Isle of Skye.

While the Outer Hebrides Lewis and Harris didn't match our taste so much, Skye again fascinated us.

We went back towards England through the Western part of the country (don't miss Inveraray - beautiful and with a perfect whisky store as well as a fascinating jail museum) - on the way we stopped for some hours in London, where you find traffic jams even at 2 o'clock in the morning.

 


 

 

Trip number 1 in 1994

 

First time 5th to 29th of September 1994 the trip started with the ferry from Hamburg to Newcastle on England's East coast. 
From there we went up the Eastcoast of Scotland to John o'Groats on the very North border, from there to the West and on the Atlantic side down to the most southerly border to England and back to Newcastle. From the outline of this coastal trip we went into the land whereever the perfect planning from my wife had detected something of interest.

However, after two of the four weeks the sentence "Oh, not again another castle" became standard. The landscape on the other hand never became boring. Just the other way round - every human settlement larger than the cosy towns like Inveraray appeared to us like a shock of civilzation. So we skipped our planning to visit Glasgow on our way down the West coast, as the suburbs of the town appeared to us - after more than 3 weeks of single track roads and long periods in the fantastic Highlands - like mentioned cultural impossibility.

Another side-effect of this first journey was the beginning of a since that time lasting love for Scottish Single Malt Whisky. A tough stuff, but - said in the words of some Scottish people - medicine. 
If you just find the right amount of whisky per day, you will live forever.
Only - nobody found the right amount yet.




The short version of the route
(Thanks to my wife again for planning!!!):

Below "Day x" you find the terminal location of this day In the main rows you find left of the hyphen the town/village and on the right side the sight or location of interest. Bold Location/Towns/Sights are those I still remember I liked them. This is not any ultimative assessment !

Day 1 Newcastle- Kirkcaldy Day 2
Kirkcaldy
Kinross - Scottish Centre for Falconry
Stirling - Stirling Castle
Doune - Doune Castle
Aberfoyle - Scottish Wool Centre
Day 3
Kirkcaldy
North Queensferry - Deep-Sea World
Edinburgh - Forth Bridges, Greyfriars Bobby, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill, St.Giles Cathedral, Scott Monument
North Berwick - Bass Rock, Tantallon Castle
Day 4
Stonehaven
Leven - Wemyss Caves, Letham Glen
Anstruther - North Carr Lightship
Newport on Tay - Tay Bridges
Auchterhouse - Tealing Earth House, Dovecot
Forfar - Glamis Castle, Aberlemno Sculptures Stones
Stonehaven -  Dunnotar Castle
Day 5
Pitlochry
Ballater - Dee Valley Confectioners (sweets)
Corgarff - Corgarff Castle
Crathie - Balmoral Castle
Braemar - Braemar Castle, Kindrochit Castle
Pitlochry - Hydro-electric visitor centre
Day 6
Inverness
Aberfeldy - Tombuie Smokehouse, Tullochville Farm
Loch Tummel - Queens View
Blair Atholl - Blair Castle
Kingussie - Highland Folk Museum
Kincraig - Highland Wildlife Park
Aviemore - Loch an Eilein Pottery, Glenmore Forest Park
Day 7
Inverness
Clephanton - Culloden Moor, Clava Cairns
Forres - Suenos's Stone, Dallas Dhu Distillery
Knockando - Thamdu Distillery, Cardhu Distillery
Marypark - Glenfarclas Distillery
Tomnavoulin- Tamnavulin-Glenlivet Distillery
Dufftown - Glenfiddich Distillery
Rothes - Glen Grant Distillery
Elgin - Elgin Cathedral, Moray Motor Museum
Day 8
Inverness
Strathpeffer - Eagle Stone, Falls of Rogie
Cannich - Corrimony Cairn
Drumnadrochit - Official Loch Ness Monster Exhbition, Original Loch Ness Visitor Center, Urqhuart Castle
Inverness - James Pringle Weavers of Inverness, Jacobite Cruises
Day 9
Thurso
Tain - Highland Fine Cheeses
Lybster - Grey Cairns of Camster
Wick - Castles Girnigoe and Sinclair
John O'Groats - Duncansby Head, Last House of Scotland
Dunnet - Dunnet Head
Day 10
Durness
Rothesay - St Mary's Chapel
Dounray - Dounreay Exhibition Centre
Strathy Point - Lighthouse
Eribol - Choraidh Croft
Durness - Smoo Cave, Cape Wrath, Bainakeil Artist Colony
Day 11
Ullapool
Scourie - Statesman Cruises
Ichnadamp - Ardvreck Castle
Altan Dubh - Achiltibuie Smokehouse
Elphin - Inverpolly National Nature Reserve, Highland and Rare breeds farm
Day 12
Kyle of Lochalsh
Braemore - Corrieshalloch Gorge
Slattadale - Victoria Falls
Kinnlochewe - Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve
Torridon, Applecross, Lochcarron
Stromeferry - Craig Highland Farm
Dornie - Eilean Donan Castle
Day 13
Dunvegan,
Syke
Ferry to Skye
Kylerhea - Kylerhea Otter Haven
Broadford, Elgol, Bracadale, Lonmore
Borreraig - The Piping Centre
Colbost - Colbost Folk Museum
Dunvegan - Dunvegan Castle
Day 14
Armadale
Kilvaxter - Skye Museum of Island Life
Kilmaluag - Quirang (track to huge rock)
Staffin - Kilt Rock
Loch Leathan - Storr (huge obelisk)
Herrapool - Skye Serpentarium
Ord - Dunscaith Castle
Day 15
Fort William
Ferry to Mallaig
Loch Morar - deep lake
Corpach - Treasures of the Earth
Day 16
Inveraray
Balaculish - Glencoe and Dalness
Taynuilt - Inverawe Smokery
Dalmally - Kilchurn Castle
Day 17
Inveraray
Inveraray - Inveraray Bell Tower, Inveraray Jail Museum
Lochgoilhead - European Sheep and Woll Centre, Argyll Forest Park
Luss - Thistle Bagpipe Works
Drymen - Queen's View
Day 18
Inveraray
Furnace - Argyll Wildife Park, Auchindrain Old Highland Township
Ellary - St. Columba's Cave
Kilberry - Kilberry Sculpturs Stones
Day 19
Ayr
Kyles of Bute
Dunoon - Holy Loch Farm and Highland Cattle Centre, Puck's Glen
Gourock - Kempock Stone, Lunderston Bay
Largs - The Haylie Chambered Tomb
Day 20
Glentrool
Dunure - Electric Brae, Culzean Castle and Country Park
Drummore - Logan Fish Pond
Port William - Drumtrodden, Barsalloch Fort
Whithorn - St. Ninian's Chapel
Wigtown - Torhouse Stone Circle
Glentrool - Palgowan Open Farm , Galloway Forest Park
Day 21
Gretna Green
Creetown - Creetown Gem Rock Museum and Gallery
Castle Douglas - Threave Castle
New Abbey - Sweetheart Abbey
Shearington - Caerlaverock Castle, Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve
Ruthwell - Ruthwell Cross
Gretna Green - Old Blacksmith's Shop Centre
Day 22
Kelso
Moffat - Tweedhope Sheep Dogs, Devils's Beef Tub
Selkirk - Grey Mare's Tail, St.Mary's Loch
Melrose - Teddy Melrose, Melrose Abbey, Scott's View
Kelso - Rennies's Bridge, Floors Castle
Day 23 Back to Newcastle    

 


Scotland is a country which we will likely continue visiting over and over again. The Highlands with their solitude and natural beauty, single track roads, sheep and Highland cattle on the streets, extraordinarily friendly, open and natural inhabitants and awesome landscapes are worth the while. 

The picture of the single sheep standing on the plain covered with grass and heather and lighted with a sunbeam glancing through the clouds - that expresses all I associate with the memories of the trip through the Highlands.
Additionally you will find monuments from ancient times such as castles, crosses and standing stones satisfying all wishes of those interested in "old stones" and history, as a friend of mine once expressed the enthusiasm of his wife. Especially as even the most remote old pile of stones has at least a sign explaining about the location -and the grass around those sites is usually in perfect English golf-shape :-)

The weather ...

If you are prepared in terms of weather-proof clothes, don't have a tent (it's not extremely fascinating to put a wet tent every day into your car, which gains humidity day by day) and don't mind rapid changes between sun, clouds and heavy rain showers - this country will provide views and give you such a contradiction to your normal, hectic and stressful life (except you are living in the Highlands ...), that I believe it will also attract you over and over again.

Accomodation

We used in the first two trips my "Toledomobil": Take a Seat Toledo, remove the back seats, implement a construction of wooden boards with hinges and put two persons with sleeping bags in every night, who don't mind moving up close - it can get a perfect trip from camping site to camping site. Cheaper than bed&breakfast, you can even cook in that rebuilt back area without getting wet! But it means some type of adventure and especially answering a lot of questions like " Is it comfortable ?", "You don't have a tent?". Weel, one good hint: Don't try with a Fiat 500 ...