Saddest, weirdest, 'funnest', trip ever

Old Jun 16th, 2012, 04:50 AM
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Thanks for getting on with the TR! I am really enjoying it and hoping that you will get some nicer weather!
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Old Jun 16th, 2012, 05:31 AM
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What a lovely thing to do for your folks.
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Old Jun 16th, 2012, 06:05 AM
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Janis

Sorry to hear about the loss of your Mother, I have always warmed to the idea of the scattering of ashes in a special place. Menteith isn't an area I have visited but it looks lovely. It is comical how the English Lake District make such a big deal of their one Osprey when we have dozens of pairs. We have totally neglected our back hard ver the years and I feel a round trip to Arran, Oban and Edinburgh coming on. the hotel on the Lake looks like a perfect stay.

Your experience at The Steamboat sums up D&G, we are still in the 1950s.

Last week a local pub owner was defrauded by the car trick where a proported regular rings the pub and pleads to be picked up in the middlle of nowhere as the RAC will not mend their car until they are paid. the pub owner sends £300 in a taxi, the money and the regular (impersonator) are never seen again.

That is generally how helpfully naive we are!
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Old Jun 16th, 2012, 06:06 AM
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Or should that be naively helpful?
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Old Jun 16th, 2012, 06:07 PM
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Janisj,

Great trip report. An emotional trip for you but hopefully one that brought you fond memories.
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Old Jun 16th, 2012, 07:15 PM
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I am following all this is my usual quiet manner

Enjoying it all, thanks for sharing your experience with us.

It must have been a touching moment to scatter your parents ashes in their home country.
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Old Jun 17th, 2012, 09:45 PM
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<B>Saturday - Crieff, Loch Earn, Falls of Dochart, Glencoe, Kilchurn Castle</B>

Today was again cold/threatening but we had planned a long, day. As I mentioned, Bro has never been to Scotland and I wanted to squeeze in as much scenery/sites as possible w/o running ourselves ragged. He had about $4000 worth of camera equipment w/ him and he really wanted to see a lot.

We started out first driving over to Dunblane to collect his pre-purchased train ticket to Edinburgh/London for Sunday afternoon (good thing we did too - since the station was closed when we arrived on Sunday and he would have been SOL )

After Dunblane we drove up to Crieff. My Mom collected Perthshire paperweights and even though they stopped production several years ago, I figured there would still be some at the visitors center. Come to find out, the master glass man who made several of Mom's signed weights had continued making them from his own studio - and just recently retired. So I ended up buying one of the last of his work. That made me both very happy -- and sad that an amazing craft is disappearing.

http://tinyurl.com/6matmqr

(we would have stopped at Drummond Castle Gardens,but it doesn't open until 1PM and we were hours too early.)

We drove through Comrie and along the beautiful road to and beside Loch Earn. Several photo stops along the way but basically we pressed on

From Lochearnhead, we drove up to Killin/Falls of Dochart - those of you who have been to Killin know it is MUCH more than a 10 minute photo op. And w/ all the rain recently, the Falls were REALLY a torrent.

http://tinyurl.com/724qw7x

We spent probably and hour walking up and down and across the river and then pulled ourselves awayfor the drive up to Glencoe.

Stops to photograph Rannoch Moor, and several stops in the glen. I know the new Glencoe visitors centre (not that new anymore) is green/ecologically better/let the site of the original centre restore . . . But I really did prefer the old one. The views were magnificent, whereas the new bldg is sort of secluded in the trees. Never mind - Glencoe is a 'must' IMO and Bro definitely agrees.

We had a very good late-ish lunch at the Clachaig Inn - I had venison casserole, not sure what Bro had but he LOVED whatever it was.

Then we headed south along Loch Linnhe, past Castle Stalker, along Loch Etive and stopped at Kilchurn Castle, which is one of my (and Mom/Dad's) favorites.

http://tinyurl.com/773fm7h

Then back to Forest Hills - weren't really hungry so we put together a light supper of tinned soup and baked jacket potatoes.

<B>Next: Doune, into the Borders, Traquair House and a Fodorite surprise</B>
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 06:34 AM
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ttt
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 06:44 AM
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Thank you for sharing, following along.
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 06:45 AM
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oops-- Blew that one. here is a link to images of Kilchurn.

http://tinyurl.com/76rfcbw
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 06:49 AM
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Ok- that's weird. When I clicked on the tinyurl link in my post, it displayed just google search results for Kilchurn castle so I re-did it for the images. Now the first link shows the photos too????
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 03:41 PM
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What wonderful photos. Having stayed a couple of times at Lochearnhead and visiting all the places you did, I am now well and truly hooked. Can't wait for more.

I have always thought Loch Earn was a hidden gem, often overlooked. And Kilchurn Castle is also a favourite of mine.

Rosemary
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Old Jun 18th, 2012, 07:33 PM
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<B> Doune, into the Borders, Traquair House and a Fodorite surprise</B>

We got up early Sunday - finally a nice day! It has been cool/cold/drippy - even light snow on the peaks around Glencoe. But today it is clear and getting warm. In fact the weather forecasts predict 25-28C over the next few days. So folks --- when we say the weather is 'changeable' we ain't whistling Dixie

We packed up and checked out of Forest Hills - they charge electricity separately and all those jacuzzi baths and saunas sure DID add up - but totally worth it.

First we made a short stop in Aberfoyle at the Wool Centre, mostly to see if there were any sheepdogs working. This place used to be worth at least a short stop -- to see some of the crafts and the dogs and some decent shoppin. But the clothing and 'stuff' they stock now is pretty schlocky, and it can safely be missed.

Then it was off to Doune. Doune is a really neat little castle even if didn't have Monty Python/Holy Grail connections. Lots of clambering/climbing throughout. One side is now cordoned off - not sure if it is being restored or is permanently off limits for safety reasons.

I've been there several times over the years so while Bro hit every nook and cranny, I spent part of the time just sitting on one of the benches in the courtyard basking in the glorious sunshine. One group of maybe 7 or 8 friends were duplicating scenes from the movie and they brought out the coconut halves and galloped through the courtyard. It was absolutely hysterical.

http://tinyurl.com/7kwoz9w

We drove over to Dunblane to drop Bro - he would catch the train to Edinburgh and on to London. He flies out of LHR the next morning.

I am now off on the solo bits of my journey. First stop Traquair House (actually the first stop was to be Rosslyn Chapel. But when I arrived there was an almost full car park and two tour buses - and I decided to press on. Thank heavens I visited the Chapel a couple of times back in the days before Dan Brown. Once my Mom/Dad/me were the only people in the place, another time just my girlfriend/and me and one other person.)

I have visited Traquair House 5 or 6 times starting way back in the late 70's. Ever since they started renting out 3 rooms in the castle, I've wanted to stay there - never seriously looked into it, just assumed it would be <i>expensive</i>. Come to find out --not really. 100 single occupancy, 180 double. If you want a special experience -- <u>stay at Traquair House!</u>

When I rang up a few months ago, they asked which room I wanted and I left it up to them. "We have two 18th century rooms which are very nice, but really I think you'll enjoy the Pink (old) Room room more" tee hee -- I'm staying in the OLD room at Traquair House!!

I essentially had a wing to myself (actually the whole house to myself since there were no other guests for the 2 nights) Up the main spiral staircase to my LARGE room looking out over the maze and back garden, half tester bed, walk in closet, private hallway, and large bath.

Plus a key to the front door, and keys to another wing where a sitting room is the residents lounge after the House closes to visitors. This was soooooo neat.

During the day you have free run in all the public rooms (but they are locked up at night). But otherwise you can go anywhere the gardens/grounds/sitting room/breakfast room (TERRIFIC breakfasts BTW). W/ that big key to the front door --you feel like you own the place.

I had been in for maybe an hour and was deciding where to go for dinner, when the housekeeper came to my door to ask if I was expecting guests. There were two people at the front gates who claimed they know me.

It was noellev13 and Mr. noellev13. They just happened to be in the Borders the same two days I was there (part of a longer trip mostly to Skye and the NW). A remarkable coincidence - - and <i>now I am receiving guests at Traquair House!!</i> If I didn't feel like a duchess before . . .

A super nice couple - we had a lovely visit in the posh sitting room until they had to dash - they still needed to find a place to stay that night. A mini-GTG in the Borders!

http://www.traquair.co.uk/

<B>Next: Smailholm Tower, Mellerstain, Dryburgh

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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 04:56 AM
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I think they have permanently closed that section of Duone, as it was closed off when we visited in 2008. Either that, or the renovations are taking a very long time

Duchess Janis! Looking forward to reading the rest.

9C - I felt the same way in June 2008. But it was 4C, according to the car temperature guage. Of course, this was in Orkney. But it was June!
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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 08:50 PM
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<B>Smailholm Tower, Mellerstain, Dryburgh</B>

Monday: I was planning to drive east and do some walking on St Abbs Head, and things looked promising. It was cool but bright and sunny and it should be gorgeous on the coast. After a very good cooked breakfast I head out about 9:30 . . . and the farther east I go, the foggier it gets. I'd only got as far as Galashiels and it is a real pea soup murk. Major change of plans in order. So I decide to do Mellerstain (which has been closed the previous two times I tried to visit). But it is too early because the gardens/grounds don't open until 11:30 and the house at 12:30.

So a cross country jaunt on REALLY narrow single tracks brings me to Smailhome Tower. This is a small peel tower castle sitting on the top of rock outcroppings. The views are just amazing -- but this time the fog sorta took care of that. But it is still really interesting. The last time I visited, there was some construction/reorganization being done so you couldn't see everything. Now the whole laird's residence was accessible. But the first problem was getting up to the entrance. From teh car park it is a nearly vertical walk upthe hill -- and between the deep/soaking wet grass and thick mud it was a really difficult slog. I essentially ended up crawling part of the way.

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...wer/index.html

After about an hour it is off to Mellerstain. The house isn't open yet but the cafe is so tea and a pastry hit the spot. This houseis drop dead GORGEOUS! Designed initially by William Adam but mainly by his son Robert. The Adam interiors even top what is at Culzean. One unbelievable room after another. Years ago I used to buy the guide/picture books at every castle/stately home/castle but eventually I realized they mostly just fill up my suitcase and then gather dust so I stopped. But I just <i>had</i> to get the Mellerstain book.

After touring the house and gardens, I stopped back in the cafe for soup/tea.

http://www.mellerstain.com/

My family loved all the Border Abbeys and I really wanted to return to at least one . . . partly for me and partly for Mom and Dad. decided if it was to be only one it would HAVE to be Dryburgh. I stayed there for more than an hour - mostly just sitting and absorbing the vibe. It is such a peaceful place. While I was there, a family went into the chapter house and sang a couple of hymns - was really lovely and gave me chills.

http://tinyurl.com/6skch6l

Drove into Innerleithen and had an early pub dinner - then back 'home' to Traquair House and a nightcap in the sitting room.

Next morning after a BIG breakfast including smoked salmon, local sausages, eggs, all the trimmings, I reluctantly checked out and turned in my Duchess tiara and set out for my next port of call . . . in far SW Scotland.

<B>Next: Grey Mare's Tail, Lockerbie, Sweetheart Abbey, Dumfries, John Paul Jones
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Old Jun 20th, 2012, 01:36 AM
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Lovely detailed report, janis
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Old Jun 20th, 2012, 02:50 AM
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I enjoyed your trip report. My ancestors are from Menteith. I haven't been there yet, but plan to on my next trip. We did go to Stirling and loved it, despite the rainy weather. too bad paperweights are not being made any more- my brother got some lovely ones there several years ago.
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Old Jun 20th, 2012, 09:44 AM
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Heyyyyy!

JPJ

Can't wait.

Bout time someone else told the world.
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Old Jun 20th, 2012, 09:50 AM
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Oh god! Janisj, I had forgotten about Mellerstain, it's worse than Culzean : more neo classical with nobbly bits on. I do wish the Adam family had stuck to the Palladio script.

I am sure that the interiors made up for the "nobbly" bits.
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Old Jun 20th, 2012, 07:00 PM
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<B>Grey Mare's Tail, Lockerbie, Sweetheart Abbey, Dumfries, John Paul Jones</B>

Today will turn out flat out downright <B><red>HOT</B></red> - dashboard thermometer hit 28 at lunch time (all those cashmere sweaters I brought are looking fairly useless about now).

I wanted to drive pretty much directly to my next stop since I only have the two nights in Carsethorn and wanted to make the most of my short time there. I took the A708 towards Moffat and only planned one stop at the Grey Mare's Tail. But Lockerbie has been in the news for the last couple of days because Mohmed al-Megrahi died. Though maybe I ought to stop in Lockerbie to visit the memorial.

Grey Mare's Tail is one of the tallest waterfalls in the UK and was running pretty full. Now -- Yosemite Falls this ain't but its moorland setting is pretty dramatic. I walked part way up the fairly rugged trail,but to do the whole 4 or 5 km, you'd really want hiking boots.

http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Grey-...ature-Reserve/

About an hour later I was in Lockerbie. I'd imagine that most times there are few people at the memorial, but maybe because of all the coverage the last few days, there were easily 75 or more. I didn't go inside the cottage/visitors centre - the memorial/garden is simple/low key and is really quite moving.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LapWz...eature=related

From there - on to Dumfries and south to Carsethorn. First stop Sweetheart Abbey in the Village of New Abbey. The Abbey is mostly red sandstone and is very pretty. The caretaker was mowing the lawn and he'd stop whenever new visitors arrived -dash into the kiosk, put on his jacket, sell the tickets/guide books, then back off w/ the jacket, back to the mower, then back to the kiosk, on w/ the jacket, repeat - luckily the Abbey wasn't all that busy, but I watched him go through this routine 6 or 7 times in the hour+ I was there.

http://tinyurl.com/7jnyxl7

Across from the Abbey is a sweet looking little cafe w/ lots of flowers and it looked like a good place for lunch. It was very hot - all the shaded outdoor tables were taken so I sat inside where it was even hotter. Ordered a bottle of water and a roast beef sandwich . . . And that is exactly what I got. A bottle of water and 2slicesof roast beef between two slices of bread. period. no butter, no mayo, no mustard, nada. But it was <i>something</i> so at least I wouldn't starve.

It was still only about 3:00 so I decided to bypass Carsethorn and drive south to Southerness Lighthouse. The area around the lighthouse seems to be one big holiday park -- caravans, golf courses, convenience shops, etc.

http://tinyurl.com/7b5lw8q

Then I took a REALLY narrow single track about 1/2 way between Southerness and Carsethorn to the John Paul Jones birthplace. This is a really low key 'tourist attraction'. Sort of 'we have this museum but nobody can find it'. There was one other couple there when I arrived but they soon left and the caretaker/owner/manager?? wanted to talk and talk and talk and talk. One can only show so much interest in a 2 room cottage that doesn't have the original furnishings - or much of anything else-and one room purporting to look like the cabin of the Bonhomme Richard. But I managed to stifle the giggles and let him tell me <i>everything</i>.

http://www.dumfriesmuseum.demon.co.uk/jpj.html

Then off to my B&B in Carsethorne. This was a trip of contrasts. 6C - 28C; Yorkshire Dales - Channel Islands; Michelin starred restaurants - roast beef on dry bread; Now,I REALLY liked the Old Shop B&B but it could not have been more different than Traquair House. The last two nights my room was the size of small 2 bdrm flat w/ large windows looking over the maze. The next two nights my single room is the size of a walk in closet And it is stuck up under the eaves so even though I'm only 5' - I could not stand up in half of it. And just a velux window so I couldn't see much.

But the bathroom was good sized w/ a deep tub, the breakfasts were terrific, and there is a beautiful garden w/ a summer house leading down to the massive beach. The owner was great (I was traveling 'off the grid' w/ no phone or laptop or satnav). She let me use her computer/printer both nights so I could get some info I needed re the Thames Jubilee pageant/security clearance. And for other visitors, the double rooms are MUCH larger (and one can stand up ). . .

http://www.theoldshop-scotland.com/Welcome.html

Walked down the road to the Steam Boat Inn and had soup and scampi and chips and beer.

<B>Next: Threave, heatstroke (only a slight exaggeration), Rockliffe,
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