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History, scenery, scones and sheep- our UK adventure!

History, scenery, scones and sheep- our UK adventure!

Jul 7th, 2013, 09:15 AM
  #21  
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flanneruk:

In my defense, I was just quoting the guide from our tour. To her credit, she did say the British library had more. Interesting your comment in regards to Cambridge. Between the 2 guides we had (the Hoho bus and the Bodleian) there was communicated a distinct rivalry between the 2 universities. Of course, Oxford being older, better etc. etc. Nonetheless, anything older than 200 years to us Americans is hard to process and impressive, so we were bound to be amazed no matter what, even if our education was less than accurate
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Jul 7th, 2013, 09:31 AM
  #22  
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janisj:

we do so enjoy those 2 weeks! My dad and I took my girls when they were little to Washington DC and Virginia and I remember them asking "why is the grass on the side of the road green and not brown?". Sad really, but the alternative is more rain and you know how most Californians would handle that (omg, what is this wet stuff falling from the sky? How can I drive when the road is wet?.......)
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Jul 7th, 2013, 09:53 AM
  #23  
 
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They call it the 'Golden State' - and that is what I considered it - beautiful golden hills in the coastal and Sierra foothills. . . Until I moved to England and realized the 'gold' is really brown
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Jul 7th, 2013, 11:05 AM
  #24  
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Ok, on with the TR

Day 6 Cardiff, Wales and Hampton Court Palace

Before you wonder how we did both in the same day, my DDs went to Cardiff for the Dr. Who Experience and I went to Hampton Court by myself (ahhh, alone time).

We were all sleepy heads this morning and the DDs took some encouragement/mommy-threats to get up. They didn't have a train until 10:15 from Paddington so it's not like they had to get up that early. The 19yo was still nervous about striking out on their own, the 17yo could have cared less. I am not a "whovian" and had no interest in accompanying them so I decided they were old enough to go on their own (and no, it had nothing to do with mom needing alone time- that was a nice side benefit).

I took the tube to Vauxhall and a pleasant 20 min or so train ride to Hampton Court using the oyster card we got at Heathrow. I was able to figure out how much we needed to load for the ride in from Heathrow, my trip to HC and our trip to Watford Junction and the Warner Bros studios and got it just right. There was very little left on any of our cards at the end of the trip We used our paper 7 day travelcards for all the transport in London.

The weather was overcast again, but not cold and NOT raining. We have lucked out so far with the weather. Wow, this place is HUGE. I am glad I didn't have anything else planned for the day so I could take my time here. I got there around 10:30 and there were fewer visitors than I thought there would be. They were setting up for a big 4 day music festival and there was a stage and seating stands set up in the main courtyard which detracted a bit from the ambiance, but what a place to listen to music!

Henry VIII's story is interesting and tragic at the same time. There were costumed actors portraying him and some of his wives wandering all over the palace acting out scenes. "Henry" came through the dining hall and asked me if I knew where "Anne" went. I had been looking at the ceiling and windows along with my audio guide (again with the damn ceilings) so my reply was along the lines of "huh, what, ummm?". In my defense, the actor was VERY attractive. Later on, in the kitchen garden, I was watching another scene between Anne and her brother with a school group when "Henry" appeared again. This time, they made us "serfs" kneel. I know that actor recognized me as the tourist with the excellent vocabulary from the dining room. Now he got to see me struggle, awkwardly, to get back up from kneeling with a backpack, camera around my neck and headphones dangling. Did I mention he was ATTRACTIVE?

Thankfully, I did not see him again and I continued on, really enjoying the beautiful rooms. William III and George II, especially, had lovely paintings and decor. There was a special exhibit about the royal bedchambers that was interesting (they were not just for sleeping as it turns out). It was important that royal births be attended by numerous people to prove that the baby was indeed "royal". One poor queen had 70 people watching her and they still decided that the baby was smuggled in in a bed warmer! The various beds and tapestries were impressive.

I had a lovely shrimp salad for lunch in the cafe with my first scone and clotted cream. Tea and scones are just so civilized. Scones in the UK are soooo much better than the crappy ones we get here. And clotted cream? To die for. We made a habit of eating them throughout the rest of the trip (hence the scone bit in the title of this TR). I am now glad we don't have good ones readily available here, or I would have to go to some sort of 12 step program for sconeaholics. I took my tea to go and sat in the rose garden. They were in full bloom and just a sea of color.

I roused myself from my post-scone lethargy and wandered the rest of the gardens and took a turn through the maze (along with numerous screaming children, but it was fun). What a lovely setting on the Thames and the different gardens, wild and formal, were specatcular. On my way back to the train station, I found a restaurant with a deck right on the water under the bridge and decided to sit there and have an appetizer and some wine. Both were good and the view was better!

When I got back to Oxford Circus, I didn't pay attention to where I was going when I got off and got briefly "trapped" underground. Wandered about a bit before realizing if I actually followed the numerous "way out" signs they would lead me to the WAY OUT. The 17yo found this hilarious when I told her. I was back by 7pm and did some laundry in a very creepy basement laundry room at the hostel. You take the lift down and when the doors opened, it was completely black in the hallway. The lights were on motion sensors, but you had to step out of the lift aways for them to work. Then, you have to open a door into an equally dark, tiny room where the washer/dryer were and step in before the lights would come on. I'm certain the laundry would not have gotten done if left to my girls, too much like the movie "Hostel" down there!

Now to wait for the DDs to return. They won't get back until 10 or so and then I can expect at least an hour for them to "download" their day spent in Dr Who-land.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 11:20 PM
  #25  
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Day 7 Trafalgar and Leicester Squares, St Martin in the Fields, National Gallery, tea and a fantastic musical.

I'll just tell you that the Dr Who Experience was a resounding success, they bought too many souvenirs, including some really loooong posters (but they were cheap mom!) that I wanted to beat them with by the end of the trip, they got lost then found their way and ran into a crazy, drunk crowd heading to a Rhianna concert at the Millenium. They found Cardiff itself to be a bit of a dump.

Walked to Leicester square to see if they had any discount tickets for the musical I wanted to see, Once. No luck there (only ₤60 tickets available), but he recommended we try directly at the theater so we walked to the Phoenix on Charing Cross. They had same day discount tickets for ₤37 and better seats too. Made me happy we took the time and the walk! Had to back track to Trafalgar, had a photo op with the lions and had lunch in the crypt at St Martin in the Fields. The food was just ok for the price. Went back across the street to the National Gallery and watched a juggler entertain the masses of school children for awhile. My goal in the museum was to see the impressionists, but of course there is so much more to see. The crowds were pretty thick though, with schoolkids sitting all over the floors sketching the paintings. It was amazing to see these paintings in person, I needed more time there.

We walked back up to the west side so we would be in the area for the play and the tea I had planned. Since we were in the area, we found the Freud Bar and went in for drinks. I found this place on Time Out London and read really entertaining reviews which piqued my curiosity. It's hard to find (below street level on Shaftsbury) with a rather dangerous metal spiral staicase leading down. I guess when it's full, which doesn't take much because it's small, it's quite the place to literally rub up against people. Mid afternoon it was more "family friendly". My 19yo and I had fruity cocktails, her first with alcohol. Hopefully, I didn't start her down a "path of no return". She certainly liked it better than the Pimms she tried in Oxford.

We went back out to explore the area We love the fact that the British still like to read actual BOOKS as evidenced by the many book stores in the area. Sadly, book stores are becoming obsolete here in the US. We wandered through quite a few and I bought a driving map of Scotland for later. We also found a street full of music stores which put my oldest in heaven. One had some really vintage guitars which she played. She would have stayed longer, but they were closing and we needed to get to our tea.

I found the Soho Secret Tea Room online somewhere (time out london again, not sure?). Also not in an obvious location. It is above the Coach and Horses pub on Greek St. You have to ask the bartender to call up to see of there's room (you can make reservations too). There was, and he let us go behind the bar and up a narrow staircase (is there any other kind in these old buildings?) to the tea room. It's a small room decorated like your grandma's house in the 40's. Lace tablecloths and curtains, tatted doilies and mismatched china. There was even an actual gramophone playing old music. So charming. The tea (tons of leaf teas to chose from) and food was fantastic! This was our dinner and it filled us up.

We headed over to the Phoenix a bit early because they had told us the actors come on stage about 1/2 hr before the play for a ceilidh. This is the most unique musical I have ever seen. All the music is sung and played by the actors while on stage. They all play multiple instruments. There is no orchestra or recorded music. The setting is a bar in Dublin and that is the main set on stage and the audience is allowed to come up before and during intermission to buy drinks! We went up before and I got a beer in a souvenir cup and we got to see all the props and instruments up close. It was so cool to look out at the audience from the stage! They did come out and play and sing traditional songs before the play actually started and you could mingle with the actors. The play itself is sort of a love story, a little tragic, a lot funny and the music... well it won an oscar for the main song Falling Slowly (it was a movie before it went on stage). It also won the Tony for best musical. Can't say enough, we loved it!

We walked home through the west end theater district with all the lights and trendy bars (just starting to fill up at 10:30 on a Wed- don't these people have jobs to go to in the morning?). Certainly, this part of London never sleeps. Probably why we never felt unsafe, there were always so many people out and about at night. A lot of walking today, so we're a bit tuckered and ready for bed. Tomorrow- HARRY POTTER!
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Jul 7th, 2013, 11:37 PM
  #26  
 
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Anyone who shares rmmom's enthusiasm for scones might like to know you can get ready-mixes in supermarkets, which work reasonably OK, though not as good as making them yourself from scratch (masses of recipes online, from the BBC, Delia Smith, Mary Berry, etc., etc.):
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandsty...perfect-scones
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Jul 8th, 2013, 01:56 AM
  #27  
 
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Loving your report, sounds like great fun. Agree totally on the scone front..... Yummy

Schnauzer
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Jul 8th, 2013, 05:44 PM
  #28  
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Thanks for the link patricklondon, although you have encouraged my addiction by giving me the means to make my own (scons-not scoans- I have been corrected)
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Jul 8th, 2013, 06:19 PM
  #29  
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Day 8 Harry Potter and Beating Retreat

We took the tube to Euston to catch the train to Watford Junction. We had Harry Potter tickets for 1030 (must be bought ahead of time online- no tickets are sold on site) and there is a 20 minute shuttle from the station to the studios, so we took the 8:49 train. We got a bit confused at the station because there are multiple trains that go to Watford Junction, some more direct than others, and we followed the first sign saying WJ only to find out our train left from a more distant platform. We managed ok and had time for some teas before our tour started. What can I say, HP was a big part of my DDs lives growing up and, by default, my own. They and their equally enamored friends were disappointed when they did not get letters to Hogwarts on their 11th birthdays.

The studio tour is very well done and it was cool to see the props and costumes up close. They had entire sets from the movies and artwork showing how the concept and design for the sets, creatures and such was done. The best is at the very end where you walk into a room with the scale model of Hogwarts used for filming flying scenes through the school. 17yo DD cried when she saw it. She will deny it, but she did.

17yo and I took a nap when we returned while sister went out on her own to locate the Sherlock Holmes museum and the spot where they actually film his front door on the BBC series (not at 221B Baker St). She's a huge fan of that show and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The DDs were missing mexican food so we went to the Chipotle a block from the hostel hoping that it would be the same as home. It was not, but ok. We then wandered Carnaby St before we headed over to Horseguards for Beating Retreat. We had to buy umbrellas finally as it started to really rain for the first time.

I think I found a link to Beating Retreat on Days Out London and was intrigued by the pomp and circumstance. I had the tickets shipped to us in the US before we left. Unfortunately, the seats aren't covered and were really wet when we got there. A lovely older lady whipped out a dish towel from her purse and offered it to us to wipe our seats off. She said she was an old girl guide. When I told her we were Girl Scouts, she promptly replied, "then you should have been prepared dear" in good humor. Everyone around had a laugh on us! We sat in front of a man from San Fransisco, but we were the only non-British sitting nearby at least. We could feel the patriotism from the crowd despite the rain blowing sideways. The bands, the horses, the cannons and the fireworks were great. They even had a mock battle between Wellington's forces and the French to celebrate the anniversary of that battle. I'm glad we did it. It was definately not something that the average tourist knew about. It was a very British thing to end our visit to London with!

When we got back to the hostel, we had them order a car for us to catch our morning train to Edinburgh from Kings Cross. No way were we getting all our stuff on the tube at rush hour! I think we did our part in supporting London's economy
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:29 PM
  #30  
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Day 9 Scotland here we come!

We had a car drive us to Kings Cross for our 9am train. It cost ₤8.50. I rounded up to ₤10 and it was well worth it. Thanks to the suggestion from ever helpful fodorites, we have reserved seats on the ocean side. It's a 5.5hr trip through very pleasant countryside. You start to see the coastline after about 4.5hr and by that time, the sun was shining! The coastline is gorgeous, reminded us of Northern California except we don't have actual castles clinging to the cliffs (Hearst Castle doesn't count). We sat with a lovely Edinburgh resident and her sister from Dundee. They pointed out things along the way and we chatted about my gran from Broughty Ferry (next door to Dundee). Waverly station is a mess from construction, but we managed to find the Europecar counter hidden in the chaos. This is where the only glitch of the whole trip occurred. I had used the credit card that got cancelled before the trip for the rental. I never did see anywhere in my paperwork where I needed to present that card. So, the nice, but new, Spanish employee (whose accent was really thick), said a bunch of stuff I didn't understand and then got help, probably because I kept saying "excuse me, what?". The other 2 employees tried to call their "security" dept. multiple times, but no one ever answered. They wanted to re-book the whole thing, but I had booked through an internet special and my rate was so low, they didn't know how to charge me that little! (I paid $257 for a Vauxhall Astra for 8 days- yes dollars Eventually, they decided I didn't look "dodgy" (that's exactly what she told me), took my new card's info and sent me on my way with a map detailing how to get out of Edinburgh avoiding the street works.

I was nervous about driving "on the left" for the first time and was surprised at how little instruction I got on the car. The man in the car lot just went around the car ticking off the exisiting dings, handed me the keys and walked away. All our stuff fit fine and the car was bigger than expected. We sat for a bit while I got used to the controls and my 19yo (who volunteered, for the first and last time, to navigate) looked over the map. We opened up the paper map we bought which expanded to fill the entire front seat, tried to fold it smaller and eventually gave up and used the offline map on the Ipad. Out we went and 2 blocks later, my first roundabout. I didn't hit anyone and no one honked at me, so I took that as a positive sign . There was a lot of turn here, turn there to get out to an actual motorway. At one point, my DD thought she had gotten us lost and made me pull over. That's when I hit my first curb with the left front tire. It turned out we were in the right place, but that curb started a running "curb count" for the trip. I hit 6 that day! My total for the trip was 13, so I got better. There was a 14, but it was get hit by a bus, or go up on the curb. I chose curb. For the non-UK folks, these curbs aren't like the ones in the US. They are smaller, seemingly the same color as the road and I'm fairly sure, jump out on purpose.

We drove to Stirling Castle and got there later than we planned due to the fiasco at Europcar. We still had 2 hrs there, but no time to do the Wallace Monument. We bought 3- 7 day explorer passes there for ₤100. It worked out cheaper than paying admission to all the places we had planned to go and we could bypass any lines. It had gotten cold and windy, but the views were still spectacular of the surrounding countryside. You could see why they positioned it where they did. The castle is an imposing sight above the town, but I had expected the interiors to have been more like it was in it's heyday. The castle had been emptied, used as a military barracks and then disused before restoration started in the 1990s. Some rooms are restored and there are period actors here and there.

We spent about 2 hrs there and then drove to Callander where we would stay the next 2 nights to explore the Trossachs. We stayed right off the main street at the Invernente BnB in a family room. The innkeeper couldn't be there to meet us, but had sent me an email telling me what room we were in and to "just go on up". She had left us the room keys and breakfast menus along with a nice note welcoming us. The room was at the top of the house, but pretty big with a nice ensuite. Right behind the BnB is a foot bridge over the River Teith. It was really idyllic. All the shops had closed for the day, but we found a little pizza place and had great pizza and pasta. We left our breakfast requests downstairs with what time we wanted it (9am so we could sleep in for a change),pulled the light blocking shades down and fell asleep in comfy beds.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 09:09 PM
  #31  
 
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don't think of it as hitting a curb, but rather cleaning your left side tires/tyres

(that's a lot of curbs - LOL) it does take a little while to get used to the other side and the roads are definitely narrower -- we found a GPS invaluable at first to allow us to concentrate more on the driving (and it's cheaper than marriage counseling!)
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Jul 10th, 2013, 09:15 PM
  #32  
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Day 10 Inchmahome Priory, Loch Lomand, and a very wet hike.

Oops, darn those light blocking shades! I woke up at 9:10, woke the girls and ran downstairs as quick as I could to apologize for being late for breakfast. I found the innkeeper in the kitchen and scared her to death. Nice way to introduce my self, through tardiness and fright. She was very gracious and I told her it was because we were really comfortable for the first time in a week. Hostels are ok for what they are, bu bunkbeds aren't soft. She had held our breakfast for us, so we tucked in to 3 full scottish breakfasts- such a treat after making breakfast every day. The 19yo actually liked her first taste of haggis. I had had some before and didn't care for it, but this was delicious.

We were the only guests still about, so the innkeeper spent some time with us suggesting where we should go that day. She gave us directions to get to the east side of Loch Lomand to have lunch in Balmaha and how to get to the trailhead for Bracklinn Falls. It was cloudy, but not raining (yet) and we headed to our first stop at Inchmahome Priory which is not far. We were the only ones there and it did not disappoint. I agree with janisj's cousin, it was one of the highlights of the entire trip for me. The place was so peaceful and evocative! You could understand why there had been a place of worship there for over a 1000 years. There were lovely purple flowers growing on the walls and the grass was so soft, my 17yo took her shoes and socks off and danced around in it. I could have just sat on that island all day, but we had more to look forward to

We drove past pretty farms and fields to Balmaha and had lunch at the Oak Tree Inn as suggested by our innkeeper. I had cullen skink and it was delicious. I thought it was funny that our waitress had never had it because it "sounded gross". We needed to work off lunch, so we took a hike up to the top of Conic hill behind the Inn for great views of Loch Lomand and Inchcailloch Island. Pretty, pretty spot. The road ends not far from there (you can't drive all the way around that side of the loch) so we turned back and took as slightly more leisurely drive than anticipated as we took a wrong turn and ended up seeing Loch Ard. The road here is literally ON the side of the Loch and gets really narrow AND it started to rain. It was a beautiful loch, what little I saw while navigating an increasingly narrow road trying not to end up IN the loch. I finally found a spot to turn around and we got going the right way past Loch Venacher. Rained hard at times, but it stopped long enough for us to stretch our legs at the beach there. We saw some hairy "coos" right by the side of the road so we acted like typical tourists and got out and ogled the babies. Is there anything cuter than a baby hairy coo? I think not. Everywhere you look here is beautiful, seriously.

We got back to Callander and walked from the BnB to the trailhead. Or, at least where we thought she said it was. That was hours before, I'm old and the girls weren't paying attention. So we had a rather more strenuous walk than planned up and up a hill with no falls in sight, ever. At one point, we had to shelter under a tree in a downpour and the 19yo threatened to go back without us. We finally did turn back around and then found the right trailhead. By this time, it was 7pm and we were starved. We ate an ok meal at the Lade Inn with the plan to stay for the folk music, but we were pooped and went back to the BnB. We have to be up early for the drive to Skye.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 09:29 PM
  #33  
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indy_dad

I was too cheap to rent the GPS ($10 per day) and ours was too old to update with UK maps so we decided to "wing" it. After the first day, my 17yo took over navigating and she only messed up a couple of times (and we got to see Loch Ard anyway!). I really liked the citymaps2go app, it worked everywhere we went (wish we used it when we tried to get to Bracklinn Falls).

And, the left front tire on that Astra was "spotless" when we turned it in
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Jul 10th, 2013, 11:25 PM
  #34  
 
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Verrrry good that you managed to drive out of Edinburgh. Gold star! W/ all the construction and diversions it is truly a bi-atch. I usually rent from EDI and avoid the central Edinburgh mess.

I glad you enjoyed Inchmahome - it really is probably my favorite picnic location in the whole country. Sitting on one of the benches, priory behind, swans in front, the view across to the hotel. On a bad/rainy day its good, on a great/sunny it is amazing.

Yep - the drive along Loch Ard is a bear. I've stayed several weeks over several visits next to the loch and had to drive that twice a day - every day.

(BTW - it is Loch Lomond)
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Jul 12th, 2013, 06:46 PM
  #35  
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janisj- Oops, you are so right, and I pride myself on my spelling!

I tried to change my booking to pick up from the airport, but they wouldn't just simply change the pickup location, they wanted me to rebook entirely- at a much increased rate of course. I was nervous since I had read so many accts (incl you own) of the horrors of driving in Edi, but the route they gave me avoided it, it was not very "direct" however. For anyone reading this in the planning stages, DO rent from the airport if you can- much easier access to the motorway
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Jul 12th, 2013, 06:49 PM
  #36  
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incl YOUR own- geez- I'm not even typing on my Ipad either
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Jul 12th, 2013, 08:53 PM
  #37  
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Day 11 The drive to Skye via Glencoe and a "deja vu" moment from an indy_dad TR

We got up early as this would be one of our longer driving days. Had some very yummy porridge and said goodbye to our lovely innkeepers. I wanted to find some sort of cooler we could use to keep food cold while we travelled because the next few days we would be in a hostel again. It was suggested we try at the local hardware store with probably the best name ever- Screw It. There was an annex next door called...you guessed it....Screw It 2. It wasn't open yet, but the owner saw me peering in and invited me in anyway (is everyone in Scotland nice?). He didn't really have what I needed, but I bought an insulated bag that would do.

Our first stop was Killin to see the Falls of Dochart. As we crossed the bridge my daughter noticed the sign for the Macnab Cemetary. My maternal gran was a Dewar which are part of the Macnab clan, so we wandered to the gate on the bridge. The cemetary is on an island in the river and you have to get a key from the visitor info center to unlock the gate. We decided to buy some knit hats and gloves first because this was our first cold day. Not raining, but drizzly. Tried to point out the cute teenage boy behind the counter, but just got a MOM in reply.

Two sweet, elderly local ladies gave us the key for the gate (after a bit of a search- apparently it's not a common request) and we went onto the island to see the headstones of many Macnab chiefs including the current chief's father who had his wake there recently. There were some very old headstones there and it was cool to be in the middle of the rushing river, but my DDs thought it was a bit creepy.

Back on the road via the A82 to Glencoe. We stopped at a large pull out at the top of a pass so I could actually enjoy the views that my DDs kept telling me about. While taking pictures, we heard pipes being warmed up. The girls said, "ohhh, there's a bagpiper" and at that moment, I HAD to see the piper. Sure enough, it was the SAME guy that indy_dad and family saw 2 years ago! Still a terrible piper unfortunately, but I gave him money anyway, just for the "deja vu" moment

Before Glencoe, we pulled over and took a hike on a trail that eventually led to Glen Etive, but we only walked about a mile out and back. It was cloudy, but dry and the mountaintops went in and out of the mists. Beautiful, even if the day was not a sunny one. After a brief stop at the Glencoe Visitor Center where we had lunch, we drove on to Fort William. We stopped at an incredibly busy grocery store for provisions for the next few days, figuring it would be somewhat cheaper and have more choices than what we would find on Skye.

We drove the Road to the Isles on the way to catch our ferry at 6pm in Mallaig. We stopped at Glenfinnan, but were not lucky in our timing and did not see the famed Jacobite "Hogwarts Express" steam train go over the viaduct. On the trail down to the monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie and the beach on Loch Sheil (such a great view) we met our first midges. Awful wee creatures they are too. Chased us right back to the car park.

We pulled in to Mallaig early for our ferry. They tried to fit us on the earlier one, but no more room, so we had tea and, yes, scones while we waited. We met a nice couple from Kent who had 2 gorgeous Newfoundland dogs heading to Skye. Huge dogs and so friendly, they weren't lacking for attention from all the people waiting for the last ferry. They made us miss our 2 goldens back home. We loved the fact that the UK is so dog friendly. They seem to be welcome everywhere and Scotland is a haven for water loving breeds like ours.

We were the first car on the ferry. This was my DDs first car ferry (or any ferry for that matter) and they thoroughly enjoyed it. The weather was calm and the sun had finally come out to light up the islands of Rum and Eigg. There were clouds over the north of Skye, but it was clear in Armadale when we landed. Our hostel is on the Minginish peninsula west of Sligachan in Portnalong. The Cuillins were obscured by clouds, but the views of Loch Harport were stunning. This was where we got the first sense that this island is something special. We got our first taste of single track roads near Carbost that last all the way to Portnalong for the most part. Not a big deal, there are lots of passing places and who needs to be in a hurry when there are views like this? Well, the locals were driving like bats out of you-know-where, but we just stayed out of their way.

We are staying at the Skyewalker Hostel, a quirky place decorated with Star Wars paraphernalia and an odd ball assortment of stuff collected by the owners. It was charming and clean and had a big kitchen. They also have a cool glass geodesic dome in the back where you could sit and chat or play instruments and be out of the weather along with a giant chess set. The 19yo brought her travel guitar on this trip largely because this hostel is known for its music jams. This is the only hostel we've ever stayed at that has coed rooms. I had reserved beds in a 4 bed dorm and requested that they try and put a girl in with us since I had an under 18 with me, but we ended up bunking with Matt a 20 something hiker from Brighton. I'm sure he was appalled when we 3 girls moved in with all our stuff, but he was very nice and was gone the next day. We had the room to ourselves after that. The hostel is popular with hikers and climbers, most of whom are there to "bag" munros in the Cuillins. Matt was part of a group bagging 10 munros a day that weekend! We made some sandwiches for dinner since it was after 8pm by the time we got settled. I shared some wine (that I brought from a local winery near home for that purpose) with 2 men from near London who were there for a week to add munros to their lifetime total. They were up to over 200 each and don't have too many more to go! They thought it was funny I brought wine ("we have wine here you know"), but this wine is only available here and I find bringing something from home to share helps break the ice. The only real drawback (and only from the DDs perspective) is the lack of wifi. So, they went to bed to read books (shocking!) while I made friends and drank wine. It's after 10pm and light as day still. Weird. Welcome to Skye!!!
rmmom is offline  
Jul 12th, 2013, 09:53 PM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
Glad the long driving day worked out for you too! A lot of it did sound familiar. (no hostels for us though)

indy_dad is offline  
Jul 12th, 2013, 10:14 PM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
I also had a nice chuckle about you seeing the same (not so good) Glencoe bagpiper.
indy_dad is offline  
Jul 12th, 2013, 10:26 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,229
- I actually know Screw It and Screw It 2 - the only ironmonger that I know of in the immediate area.

>>is everyone in Scotland nice?<< Mostly yes.

>> it was the SAME guy that indy_dad and family saw 2 years ago! Still a terrible piper unfortunately,<<

He is a regular feature - I think He's been there for ate least 7 or 8 years. And there was another fellow before him.
janisj is offline  

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