Scotland in Review...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scotland...where to begin? We started our 10 day journey to Scotland on October 7. It seemed to take forever to get there: flights from Wilmington to Charlotte to London to Edinburgh, then a long car ride to Oban, then a ferry ride to the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland.  Our final destination was wonderful - two nights in the luxurious Glengoram Castle (19th century). We awoke to the beautiful natural surroundings I was eager to see and explore. We started our days early and took in as many castles, palaces, museums, pubs, and other sites that we could.  Day one included a tour of the 13th century Duart Castle, which was used as a location in the 1999 film Entrapment, starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The castle also features prominently in the 1971 film When Eight Bells Toll, starring Anthony Hopkins. It is also the setting for the base of Buffy Summers in the first half of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight.



 We passed by this quaint little shop selling hand carved horn souvenirs.  I took a peek at the workshop. Everything is covered in a fine powder of antler dust.

The walk to Duart Castle was a cold and windy one. We made our way to Tobermory, the capital of the Isle of Mull and home to the Tobermory Distillery (founded in 1823).  We toured the distillery and sampled the whiskey, which takes it's natural color and taste from the peat in the water.

An unexpected highlight of the trip for me was to see Inveraray Castle. This castle has been featured on Downton Abbey as the families Scottish kin.

Edradour House. Pitlochry, Perthshire

 The whole trip was initiated by a scheduled hunting trip: Stag stalking in the highlands near Edradour.  This was a two day event and we stayed with some very lovely hosts in their home - Edradour House.  They treated us very well and cooked something amazing every night. Lamb, roasted grouse, bread pudding, etc etc. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

On the first day while the men headed for the hills to hunt, my mother-in-law and I went out salmon fishing on the Tay River.  We didn't catch anything but I must say I got pretty good at casting. The next day I went along for the hunt.  It was more strenuous than I imagined it would be and before I knew it I was gasping for air and taking layers off.  We hiked some steep terrain, crossed streams, crawled through the heather, and quietly stalked our prey. Justin got two stags, I didn't get any.  The experience alone was worth it though and I will never forget it.

 From Edradour we moved on to Dingwall, North of Inverness and stayed in Tulloch Castle (12th century).  While here we went to see something incredible - Loch Ness.  While I was standing in the ruins of Urquhart Castle overlooking this vast expanse of water, I was struck by how blessed I was to be seeing something I've only read about.  No sightings of Nessie.



The countryside near Tulloch Castle.

Urquhart Castle

 Views of Loch Ness from Urquhart Castle.

 Random awesomeness:

The Family in front of Sterling Castle.


The Museum of Edinburgh is truly a treasure box of interesting things.  I couldn't resist taking a photo of this pouch made of teeth...

 Or this parka made of sea mammal intestines...

 Palace of Holyroodhouse - Edinburgh

Shopping in Edinburgh:

 We saw a spectacular exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's anatomical drawings at the Queens Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse.

And among my favorite exhibitions was at the Surgeon's Hall in Edinburgh.  Wow is all I can say.  There were so many body parts in jars, skeletons, and surgical tools to see.  Gross, odd, and awesome all at the same time.


Rambling Tart said...

Absolutely LOVE this!! What a marvelous and beautiful and glorious adventure. :-)