I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tour of the Scottish Highlands

started my day with a smile!

Rest and Be Thankful

Inverary Castle as seen from the road through the van window

Inverary on Loch Fyne


the All Saints Bell Tower was built to remember the Clan Campbell dead from WWI. Begun in 1921 and completed in 1931, it holds 10 bells.

the remains of Kilchurn Castle

one of the views from the castle

I believe this is a school that you can see from the castle

loved these stairsteps to nowhere

beautiful view from high up in the castle tower
Interior of the Castle

St. Conan's Kirk

This is where Robert the Bruce's thigh bone is supposedly located. Apparently there are pieces of him all over Scotland.

One end of St. Conan's Kirk

and the other end of St. Conan's Kirk

these windows inside are gorgeous!

The outside was just as beautiful. Loved this little sundial.

aren't these the cutest little "gargoyles"

The "port" at Oban where we ate lunch

a traditional "fish and chips". We chose Cod and Danny added the traditional peas to his plate

Highland Cattle also known as Hairy Coos and that's not a typo. These cows have been bred to have a longer coat to withstand the harsh winters.


It's hard to tell, but there's a waterfall on the right hand side of the picture

We are standing in front of one of the Three Sisters mountains

this is mom and dad in front of the other two sisters mountains

my mom and dad, Bryce and Linda

so glad Juliet let us stop to see this waterfall.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond
We all had a great night's sleep and woke up refreshed even though we had to get up a little early this morning. Our room rate includes breakfast which was very convenient. We are taking a tour this morning and left the hotel for a walk back to George Square. It's about a mile away and we gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the meeting spot for our tour. We booked the West Highlands, Oban, Lochs and Castles Tour with Rabbies. I chose them because they tour small groups (max of 15) and they will run the tour no matter what the weather or the number of people reserved for the tour. Our tour guide's name was Juliet and we think she was wonderful. She had lots of stories to tell as we drove as well as filling in the gaps with Scottish music on the CD player. I was surprised that the music was not all Celtic and bagpipes! Our first stop was the Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint. The climb out of Glen Croe valley to the A83 road is so long and steep that at the end it was traditional for travelers to rest at the top, and be thankful for having reached the highest point. The valley was absolutely stunning and we were thankful that we brought our coats along as it was very chilly in the higher elevation of the Highlands. From there, we drove to the town of Inverary for a longer stop to look around the town. We were supposed to get a quick look at Inverary castle, but there was some kind of food festival going on, and our tour van wouldn't be allowed near it. We had to get a quick look as we drove into the town. The Duke of Argyll built the Inverary castle and decided that he didn't like his neighbors so he built a new town of Inverary and moved all the people away from his castle. No kidding! The castle is now used as an exclusive golf resort. From there we went to Kilchurn Castle which is a ruined castle from the 15th century and also has an addition from the 17th century on one end. The original building of Kilchurn Castle was built in about 1450 by Sir Colin Campbell, first Lord of Glenorchy, as a five story tower house with a courtyard defended by an outer wall.We had to walk about a mile out to the castle and were ready to stretch our legs. This castle was originally surrounded by water, but water levels in the Loch Awe surrounding it have fluctuated, making it easier to access by foot. It was the ancestral home of the Campbells who decided in the mid 1700's that they didn't want it and tried to sell it to the Brits (government), who also didn't want it, so they left it to fall into ruin. Local townspeople stole stone from it to build homes in the area so it is now under the care of Scotland's version of the historic society to preserve what it left. Our next stop was Oban where we stayed for about an hour and lunched on our own. We opted for a traditional British meal of fish and chips as Oban is a fishing village and the fish served comes right from the water across the way. Fish and chips is crispy battered and fried Haddock or Cod (we chose Cod) and french fries. It was delicious. Since we didn't get to see Inverary Castle, our guide took us to St. Conan's Kirk, a very old church in the area built by an amateur architect named Walter Campbell for his elderly mother because the nearest church was too far away for her to attend. The original church was begun in 1881 and completed in 1886 and was a very simple structure. This wasn't enough apparently for Walter, and he then devoted the rest of his life to making a bigger church. He began that work in 1907 and died in 1914. His sister picked up the project after WWI but she died in 1927. The work was completed by their trustees in 1930. We then drove to the Castle Stalker Viewpoint area which was of a castle named Castle Stalker built around 1320. This castle is completely surrounded by water and is privately owned and fully restored. From there we drove to Glen Coe which is a glen named after the River Coe that runs through it. It is surrounded by mountains and was astoundingly beautiful. I was really surprised that everything was still so green and there were waterfalls everywhere! We stopped a couple of times as we drove through to get a few pictures. It began to get misty and even rain a little, but we still kept going. Unfortunately for me, my camera battery died halfway through this tour because it was so cold and I didn't bring an extra. I had to use my iphone and Dad's camera to make sure I captured what we were seeing. I always tell people I travel with to please bring their own camera and not to rely on only my pictures and this is exactly why. From here, we went on to our last stop which was brief and that was a photo stop of Loch Lomond at Luss. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour and I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to get out of the city and into the country. We got a good dose of the typical Scottish balmy weather and learned a lot of history. I would definitely tour with this company again if I ever return to Scotland. We stopped at Wetherspoon for supper on the way back to our hotel. This is a British chain that's a bar and food atmosphere. Nothing fancy, but good, hot food. Tomorrow we will take a train adventure to Edinburgh. Until then....

No comments:

Post a Comment