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Trip Report Overdue Scotland 2011 Trip Report

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It’s raining today, so I will try to get started on a long overdue Trip Report (I have many of these!) for our trip to Scotland in 2011

I will try to keep it brief, with some comments on where we stayed and ate, and what we liked most (or didn't like)

We flew into Heathrow arriving at 11 PM, stayed overnight at the Heathrow Marriot, flew out the next morning to Edinburgh. For some reason I thought this would be a good idea, we would be more rested. WRONG! By the time we got checked in, we only had about 5 hrs of sleep before we had to get up for our flight to Edinburgh.

After arriving at Edinburgh and picking up our rental car we headed off to
Drummond Castle Gardens, absolutely gorgeous! Here is the description I had for the Gardens, definitely lived up to it!

*Drummond Castle was built on a rocky outcrop by John, 1st Lord Drummond. The 2nd Earl, a Privy Councillor to James VI and Charles I, succeeded in 1612 and is credited with transforming both the gardens and the castle. The keep still stands but the rest of the castle was restored and largely remodeled by the 1st Earl of Ancaster in 1890. Not even the dramatic avenue of Beech Trees as you drive to Drummond Castle prepares you for the delight of the Gardens. Beware of hedgehogs loitering in the road and tiny toads bouncing around the gateway. (Sadly we saw neither) On passing into the inner courtyard and attaining the top of the terracing the full extent and majesty of the garden is suddenly revealed. The dominant feature of the parterre design is a St. Andrew's Cross with the multiplex 17th century sundial at its centre. A strong north-south axis runs through the garden, down the impressive flight of steps to the sundial, through the classical archway and kitchen garden beyond, cutting a swathe through woodland before rising to the top of the opposing hillside. This idea of drawing the countryside into the garden is essentially French; however, Drummond is an eclectic garden and also rooted firmly in the Italian style with its fountains, terracing, urns and statuary.This is an amazing formal garden in the heart of the country. Stand at the main entrance to the garden and you almost get a birds-eye-view of the whole place. One of our younger visitors asked "Is this Alice in Wonderland's Garden?"

We also fit in a visit to Stirling Castle, a great “now I’m really in Scotland” experience. I think as most say it is a "must do" when visiting Scotland. The Royal Lodgings had recently been opened, very well done and interesting.

After Stirling Castle we headed for our B&B for 3 nights Craigatin House in Pitlochry. We chose it for a base for 3 nights, highly recommend. They have great reviews on TA and have received numerous awards.

http://www.craigatinhouse.co.uk/

Our favorite place for dinner while there was Fern Cottage.

http://www.ferncottagepitlochry.co.uk/

We had a semi disastrous meal at Port-na-Craig Inn where they gave my steak to another table, said they would cook me another one, returned with the same one, obviously just reheated in the microwave.

When staying in Pitlochry we visited Blair Castle (incredible trees in Diana’s Grove!) went shopping at House of Bruar, but missed seeing Edradour Distillery, as I had the hours wrong and we arrived after the last tour (husband was not happy with me)

But our most favorite day was at the Scottish Game Fair, held on the grounds below Scone Palace. If we go back to Scotland our trip would be timed so that we can go again. Wonderful shopping, so many different demonstrations and events (sheep herding, falconry, pipe bands, sheep show, dog races, fishing demos) ........and great food! Some interesting booths on conservation of land and wildlife. It was also so much fun people watching. I have a photo I took of an elderly man in a kilt that I just love. The only problem was we spent the whole day at the Game Fair, so we never visited Scone Palace :(

http://www.scottishfair.com/

Next....... headed north to Glamis and Dunnottar

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