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Trip Report from Scotland Trip in 03...don't laugh!

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Aug 15th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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Trip Report from Scotland Trip in 03...don't laugh!

Hi All,

Ok...so I wished I knew about this board three years ago when I planned our trip to Scotland. I must say though, that I'm pretty impressed with myself that I planned a great trip around Scotland and never had anyone directing me as to where to go and what to do and where to stay. Saying that, I did a whole lot of research so the people here would have tremendously helpful in that area.

The best thing I can say when going to Scotland is give yourself lots of time...it's a breath-takingly beautiful country! We went the last week of June first week of July. My husband and I were there for 2 1/2 weeks and I wished we had more time. I would go back in a second and probably will.

We stayed in all B&B's along the way except in Edinburgh which we booked a wonderful hotel through Priceline. I love the whole B&B thing because it gave us the opportunity to meet some of the local people and those huge Scottish Breakfast's kept us going throughout our day!

We flew into Glasgow and out of Edinburgh so that allowed us to do an entire circle around the northern part of the country. We usually spent between 1-2 days in any one place so it gave us plenty of time to see what we wanted. The nice thing about Scotland is the scenery, whereever you go it is just beautiful and so very green! I would definitely recommend renting a car and driving. There's so many opportunities to explore places you wouldn't see if you took a tour.

The driving took just a little getting use to especially driving in the roundabouts and the narrow roads and having lived in Massachusetts I was use to the rotaries but when you're driving on the opposite side of the road I caught myself driving on one occassion into it in the wrong direction...yikes! Thank goodness there was no oncoming traffic.

Also, the back roads in Scotland are very narrow so many times when I was the passanger in our little bity european car I was constantly grabbing hold of my husbands arm making indentations in it because he appeared to me to be driving in the weeds at times and those tree brances were a little too close for comfort...LOL! I'm sure he'd say the same about me too.

The other thing with driving is that many of the roads have areas that if my memory serves me correctly are called "pull outs" and because the roads are so narrow one car must pull over into this area to let the oncoming car pass by and sometimes you're caught between a pullout and you have to pullover if room permits or backup to the previous pullover.

Let me share a funny story on just that. We were driving up this hairpinned turned mountain with NO guardrails...the drop if you went off would have met we'd be visiting our Maker sooner than you'd like. I can't for the life of me remember the area we were driving but anyway it was very foggy and drizzily that morning and I was driving. Hubby had a cold and wasn't feeling great. OH...did I mention that we were also driving a standard, so keep that in mind. Onto our adventure, I'm driving up this very steep mountain and I notice that up ahead is a hairpin 90 degree turn to head up to the next steep part of the mountain...it's foggy...I'm driving a standard, it's drizziling and I'm praying that there is NO car coming down from the other direction because if I had to back up to go back down that steep mountain with no gaurdrails we'd be in some serious trouble. Well...don't you know...about 100 yards before we get to that hairpin turn a car comes around it and I was ready to jump ship right then and there. I began pleading to the car saying "please back up..please back up...usually I'm very good about backing up and turning around to do so looking out the back window...well being as we're in Scotland driving on the leftside of the road with a standard and having to do everything with the opposite hand eye coordination I just thought this was the end of your beautiful trip to Scotland if I had to back down this trecherous road...but it must have been that last plead for "help" that the car soon stopped and backed up to let us continue our forward momentum. Let me tell you I was wiping the sweat from my brow and my husband was praising the Lord. I was so relieved that we would be able to go back to the U.S. in seats and not wooden boxes.

I'm going to try to put together some places we stayed at and things we saw and did after I do a bit of research from our trip. Hoepfully it will be helpful to anyone going to Scotland.

Clarissa
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Aug 15th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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Once we arrived into Glasgow from a connection thorugh London we were on our way to our first stop. We rented a little tiny car, I'm 5'10 and my hubby is 6'1 so we're use to those big SUV's. It was great a gas mileage and I'm sorry, I don't recall where we rented it from. I do remember we were picked up by a van/bus who delivered us to the rental agency.

Once we received our map we were on our way to our first B&B which was in Lac Lomond. It's a small little lake just north of Dumbarton. We were hosted at Tours of Wateredge Cottages by Donny and Colleen and it was a great way to start our trip. They were wonderful hosts and you could tell that they took great care to pick all the beautiful antiques and in decorating their home. The breakfast was fabulous and plenty to keep you going throughout the day.

The scenery is just beautiful and the little town was very quaint. The B&B was right across from the water so you had beautiful views from your room and great picture taking opportunities were abound.

We decided to walk down to the little town and find a place to have dinner. I'm sorry, but I don't recall where it was but it was a small little family owned restaurant that served up some wonderful tasting fish and chips. I do remember that there weren't too many restuarants so you probably can't go wrong.

http://www.watersedgecottage.co.uk/

The next day we traveled to Fort William/Ben Nevis area.
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Aug 15th, 2006, 08:59 AM
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Am looking forward to your report! I know what you mean about those narrow hilly roads. They are common in Hawaii and etiquette dictates that the uphill driver does the backing up. Backing downhill is just too scary.
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Aug 15th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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Day 2
As we left Lac Lomond our trip took us close to the coast of the lakes. I remember being in awe of just how beautiful everything was. Here is our route as follows. The nice thing is that we stopped whenever we saw something of interest so we were never under any pressure besides just making sure we gave ourselves enough time to get to our next overnight stay.

Our route took us through the following towns in order from Loc Lomond

1. Cairdown
2. Lochgilphead
3. Ford
4. Loch Melfort
5. Oban
6. Ledaig
7. Portnachroish
8. Ballachulish
9. Fort William

We spent the night my memory just isn't sure where it was besides a B&B, I'm sorry...I have been searching for our itinerary but havne't found it yet...

Day 3
We got up early and had breakfast and headed to Mallaig to catch the ferry over to the Isle of Skye where we spent two nights in another B&B...I'll try to find it. I'm not much help but I tell you...the Scots are such warm people and we never had a complaint as to where we stayed. I loved Skye and the people were so warm and the entire isle was very quaint with awesome cementaries, old castles, windy roads that took you from green rolling hills, sheep and highland cattle, to quaint seaside villages to viewing beautiful crystal clear blue waterways.
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Aug 15th, 2006, 11:27 AM
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Lovely trip report Graceful!! Your comments on driving made me smile. My BIL who is an excellent driver did nothing but complain about how fearful he was driving on some of the roads in Scotland although like you two he loved the beautiful scenery and the Scots! I don't do well on mountain roads, I would have been hiding on the floor of the car, honest!! You have my admiration.
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Aug 16th, 2006, 09:59 AM
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Now, as you can imagine my days will be a bit blurry and the details NOT so detail because this trip was over three years ago...but that being said...

Day 6
We headed off the Isle of Skye over the beautiful bridge and headed north along the coast, going through many small towns and seaside villages along the way. I have to say, this ride north was one of the highlights of our trip! We drove through Loccharon onto Toscaig, Applecross...I believe they call this route the Applecross Scenice Drive...it was just beautiful. If you're driving you really must take this drive and put it at the top of your itinerary.

We did spend a night in a little town further up past Applecross I beleive it was in Melvaig a cute little sea side town. I'm sorry I know this isn't the best of trip reports because my memory isn't serving me like I wished it would...but I do have a few highlights I'll touch upon that left a memorable experience of Scotland.

Day 7

We continued our journey north up to Ullapool and headed east from there towards Dingwall but we stopped at a little Inn/Bar for the night. Sorry...I still can't find our itinerary! This I remember as the rooms being ok...but nothing to write home about...this was our only "not so great room"...but that being said. We had dinner in the restaurant and I remember the bartender being quite helpful and he informed us that we must stay around after breakfast because there was going to be a Sheep Dog Hearding Trial on the hill behind the Inn. What a truly pleasant surprise that was. Dog owners from all over Scotland brought their trusty friends to become the winner of this contest. We awoke the next morning just wondering what this was all about so after we ate and packed the car up we headed around to the side of the hotel to walk out back. Because we arrived in the dark we had no idea how high this "little hill" was and I'd have to say it was quite high.

What a remarkable event. We sat there and watched someone way up on the top of the mountain organizing the sheep...if you didn't look really hard you couldn't even see him it was that far up. At the bottom of the mountain stood the first owner of his dog and the dog was in the ready position and his owner blew his whistle and that dog took off lickity split, criss crossing the mountain all the way to the top. They were required to bring down four sheep and get them into a pen at the bottom of the mountain where we were. I was throughly impressed with both the dogs skills as much as I was with the owners who was blowing his whistle in differnt tones which singled certain things to the dog who knew exactly what to do by the tone of that whistle. These dogs brought down the sheeps...it probably took them a good 15 minutes or so to do so but once on the bottom of the mountain they had to separate two sheeps out of the pack and I tell it's is amazing what these dogs do. I fell in love with them right there on the spot. It was a very special and unique experience that we just happened upon and feel so fortunate to have experienced it. We stayed and watched about four dogs do the same thing and headed on our way to Inverness and to go see if we could find Nessie and some castles along the way.
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