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Published: November 16th 2007
Our cute B&B
Monday 12th November
We awoke to a cold morning, the car was covered in ice and the thermometer gave the outside temperature as - 4.5 degrees. Breakfast was not as good as those we have been having, no choice of cereals and the bare bits of a cooked breakfast - perhaps Scottish breakfasts aren't as hearty as English breakfasts! After washing the ice off the car windows with some warm water we set off for Edinburgh. It was so cold the ice on the bonnet remained there throughout the trip.
We found the Castle St carpark following the directions the landlady had given us and walked around the corner to Edinburgh Castle. Here we were given a 'seniors' discount entry using Rag's Australian Seniors card, much to Judy's discomfort. (she upset that they considered her a senior!)
We spent over 4 hours in the castle, the photos showing only some of the highlights. This was one castle we were glad we didn't miss.
By the time we reached Perth it was just after 4pm and it was dark! The Tourist Information office was closed but it had a list of available B&Bs. Judy memorised the directions to
Ice on the car
The chap in the B&B helped us out with a bowl full of warm water.
the street that had the most but Rags managed to go in the opposite direction. Eventually we found them and the very first, Clark Kimberley Guest House, at 45 pounds/night fitted the bill.
For dinner we went around the corner to The Foundry Bar on Murray St (they have a Barrack & William St here too). Here Rags had his haggis, tatties & neeps for dinner and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Judy sticking to a more traditional chille con carne and successfully requesting a substitute for the cornchips (that came with it!) for vegies. Dessert was toffee pudding and ice-cream and Judy couldn't resist having this delicious dish as well.
Tuesday 13th November
From Perth we drove towards Dundee and its port which our guide suggested might be worth a look. However it was all being refurbished and apart from being hard to navigate wasn't that nice. We did see Scott's boat, Discovery. As St Andrew's was our intended destination we left Dundee via the Tay Bridge, another toll bridge but worth it to travel on this huge bridge which crossed the Firth of Tay.
We drove along the Firth coastal trail passing through villages such
Our first glimpse of Edinburgh Castle
It sits on a huge rock and totally dominates the city.
as Newburgh, Tayport and Leuchars before arriving in St Andrews. St Andrews is today known more for being the birth place of golf but on a more historic note it is alleged that some of Saint Andrew's bones are buried in the monastery here and his flag has become the flag of Scotland ie the white diagonal cross on a blue background. Fishing was the main industry here until the whole fleet and many lives were wiped out in a storm in 1745 but today although we could see numerous crab and cray pots out at sea and several fishing vessels we think most money is earned through golfing tourism.
The coastal walk was very scenic and we passed the ruins of an old castle, cathedral and monastery. The main street had many high priced shops catering for the golfing tourist and partner but we enjoyed browsing. A couple of local types of pie kept hunger at bay.
St Andrew's Museum set in a very impressive old house was well set out, with just enough detail to keep us interested (without being OTT). The university there specialises in artefact and museum preservation and presentation. As we were leaving
an old woman exclaimed over Judy, “You're bonnie looking lass” and when her younger companion remonstrated she replied, “At my age I can say what I feel!” It put a smile on Judy's face for the rest of the day.
Back in Perth it was still light enough for us to wander around the town centre and shops before going to the pub and nursing a couple of drinks while we read some local papers. It was then time for the Tuesday special, a sirloin dinner with complimentary drink for 8 pound 95.
Wednesday, 14th November
Today, after another of Connie's enormous breakfasts we were on our way by 8.30 to the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. This national park is the meeting point of the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotlands and we chose it to give us a taste of this scenery.
Our first stop on the edge of the park was St Fillan's where we ambled along the River Earn. We made many stops after this at the edges of the lochs. The views of craggy cliffs and sparkling lochs were simply stunning and we found that this area is better
catered for with roadside stops than the Lakes area in England. Everywhere one stops in the Lakes area is a Pay carpark but here were a multitude of free stops, many with picnic areas attached as well as toilets! Good on ya, Scotland!
Loch Lubnaig was the next Loch where we found the water so still with amazing reflections. Driving along “The Trossach” trail we spotted a couple of birds of prey that frequent this area and stopped at Loch Venacher and Loch Katrine before continuing to wind our way along Duke's Pass past the open, regenerating native woodland of Achray Forest to Aberfoyle where we wandered around our last Scottish Mill shop and picked up a snack to eat.
We saved our food until we arrived on the shores of Loch Lomond, the largest freshwaterlake in Britain. Loch Lomond is very famous and many songs and verses have ben written about it.This was a beautiful and tranquil area and we are sorry that we won't be staying in this area longer. This was to be our last Loch before we headed south which we did after a cup of coffee and some food.
We passed through
They were getting ready for an event.
Glasgow on the motorway. Luckily it was still early so the traffic wasn't too bad although we had a few slow spots. Here we saw many high rise flats which is obviously where many of the people live in Glasgow it being the most populous of Scotland's cities.
It was last light at 4.30 when we arrived in Gretna where we quickly found several B&B's, and Greenlaw Guest House with its welcoming lights soon became our home for the evening.
Thursday 15th November
After another huge Scottish breakfast (these will have to end, the weight is piling onto both of us) we left the B&B and went to the nearby Old Blacksmith’s House. This area was renowned in the past as being where couples eloped as it lies just inside the Scotland/England border. Today it has been set up as a tourist attraction with several different shops but still caters for weddings and receptions.
It was here we purchased a few reminders of Scotland, Judy buying a lamb’s wool tartan scarf and Rags a pair of moleskin trousers. In the past Rags had read about moleskins but had no idea of what they really
were until earlier this trip. As he only brought travel trousers suitable for warmer climes he will appreciate his warm, soft purchase in the coming weeks.
Once on the road we covered distances quickly on the M6 motorway and we made the mutual decision not to divert to Liverpool and spend another night away - both of us are looking forward to a few days of our own cooking and just catching up with things. Travel is quite tiring after a while, but as Rags commented, a lot better than going to work!
Just north of Birmingham the M6 divided into a toll road and ordinary road, the toll road taking you around Birmingham. This was £4 well spent, very little traffic and a beautiful smooth road where it was extremely hard to keep to the 70mph speed limit. Rags, being such a law-abiding person, ensured he did what those who know him would expect!
A stop at Saffron Walden to go shopping at Tescos was made before we reached Great Bardfield at about 4pm. Home sweet home!
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