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-   -   back from Scotland - report (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/back-from-scotland-report-341571/)

jsiegendorf Jul 27th, 2003 01:29 PM

back from Scotland - report
 
Just returned from two weeks in Scotland and Ireland; 5 nights were in Scotland. I would like to start out by talking about the people. I have never been more pleased or impressed with a single country's citizens as I have with the Scots. The people made my girlfriend and I feel more than welcome at every occassion. They bent over backwards to offer help when we needed it. We felt like they were always happy to have us as guests there. I am not talking about two or three pleasant experiences. Literally, every single person we met was like this. It is fitting then, that these wonderful people be blessed with such a starkly gorgeous country. The scenery here is like nothing else. It is raw, untamed, and unspoiled. It is wilderness beyond any sense of the word. It is unrelenting magnificence.

We flew into Edinburgh and got our car. We drove north to Dunkeld, stopping for lunch and their lovely cathedral. The cathedral there is not big by European standards, but it may have the best setting of them all, situated next to a river with lush greenery. We continued north to Blair Castle and then cut over to Fort Augustus for dinner. The scenery was fantastic, but it would get better. That night we stayed in a hotel in Dornie (Loch Duich Hotel) overlooking Eilein Donnan castle. The hotel hosted local musicians in the bar and we experienced great traditional music with mostly locals from the area.

The next day we drove to lovely Plockton and walked around for a bit. (I cut out Torridon drive - thanks Sheila et al!). Then we drove onto Skye. Following a recommendation from this forum, we drove to Elgol and took a boat trip to the Cullins. This ended up being our favorite part of the entire trip. The drive to Elgol itself was rewarding. It is a 14-mile single track road that cuts through some of the most glorious scenery in the world. The boat trip took us to the isolated Loch Corruisk where we climbed around and marvelled at the surrounding Cullins mountains exploding from the water. As this area is inaccessible by road, there was a true sense of isolation and privelidge. We returned to Elgol and drove to Portree for the evening. Portree was a great town to walk around in and spend a nice evening.

Our next day we drove north from Portree to the Trotternish peninsula. We were assaulted with one gorgeous sight after the next. The most awe-inspiring views came when we cut off the main road and through the Quirang to the viewpoint there. The vast, treeless, alien landscape dotted with sheep and not much else was the epitome of Scotland's wilderness - bare, rugged, and beautiful. We continued around the peninsula and over to Dunvegan. We stopped at Edinbane pottery along the way - a treat for art and craft afficianados. We did not stop at Dunvegan castle but instead continued down to Carbost to see the Tallisker distillery. Then we drove on to Armadale to catch the ferry to Malliag. We ended up un Glenfinnan that night, at the Prince's House hotel. Another wonderful hotel, the owners were fantastic.

The next day we took a look at the Glenfinnan monument and then continued on the "Road to the Isles" to Fort William. We drove through Glen Nevis, stopping briefly at the base of Ben Nevis before continuing on to Glencoe. Glencoe is gorgeous and the center there gives a great review of its history and the tragedy that happened there. From Glencoe we drove southwest to the Trossachs where we did a little loop from Callander to Aberfoyle and then on to Stirling. The Duke's Pass is fantastic and Aberfoyle was a pleasant place for lunch. As we drove from Aberfoyle to Stirling the mountains turned into hills and the into vast farmland. We took a very pleasant tour at Stirling Castle. That evening we dropped off our car and settled into our hotel in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh was a lot of fun. We started at the castle and worked our way down the Royal Mile. We also saw the Museum of Scotland, which covers every age of the country. For nightlife we spent one night in New Town, where we found a good variety of pubs and restaurants that were more or less devoid of other tourists. Our second night we did a Ghost Tour, which involved being locked up in a haunted masoleum in Greyfriars Kirkyard (cemetery). With only one full day in Edinburgh, it we couldnt see all the things we wanted. Our view from Carlton Hill of the city was spoiled by mist. That leaves us no choice but to return!

any questions, email [email protected]

adrienne Jul 27th, 2003 03:34 PM

Sounds like your trip was just marvelous. I've been to Skye twice but never on the boat trip you mention. Looks like I've missed something special that will have to go on my list for a future trip.

Will you be posing the Ireland part of the trip? Hope so.

adrienne

jsiegendorf Jul 27th, 2003 04:05 PM

I will post Ireland description in a day or so. The boat trip is run by Bella Jane boat trips at http://www.bellajane.co.uk/

Barbara Jul 27th, 2003 05:54 PM

jsiegendorf, I love your phrase 'unrelenting magnificence"! Perfect!

CrazyCat Jul 28th, 2003 07:17 PM

Amen to that!!! We also returned a week ago with the same feeling about the Scots. We were always welcomed where ever we went. You will also find that the Irish are the same - open, friendly and hospitable to the max.


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