Blogs from Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe


Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Lanarkshire » Glasgow August 30th 2023

Guernsey The cruise ship can’t dock on this little island, so a tender pulls up to the side of the ship and up to 150 people cram into it for the short ride to shore. It was rough. Anybody with mobility issues would have trouble navigating on and off the tender. The Channel Islands are closer to France than England and were the only British territory occupied during the Second World War. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a novel about that period. It must be popular because not only was it made into a film in 2018, but they have shore excursions taking you around to many of the locations that could have been in the story. Both Dianne and I read and enjoyed the book (and must find the movie), and ... read more
TLC - The Little Chapel
Restful country scene
Fort Grey

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Shetland August 24th 2023

This blog has been more difficult than any previous series. The lack of internet on the cruise ship really puts me behind. Yes, there is internet available, I’m just too cheap to pay for it. Then Dianne came down with a nasty cold in Liverpool and gave it to me in Greenock. Mine seems to be a lot worse. Turns out it is full blown COVID-19. The bad news is I am quarantined in our cabin. Dianne tested negative so she is free to gad about. It is particularly nasty (the COVID, not that she can gad about) One funny story that is relevant (unlike some of my other funny stories). After eight fun filled days in London (yes, I will be blogging about the last four days) we headed to Southampton and the Island Princess. ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Fife » Saint Andrews August 4th 2023

It is hard to believe I was once a diehard Scotch drinker. Heck, I even went to Scotland to try many of the best up front and personal. So, why did I stop? One is expense, and the other, perhaps more important, the amount of alcohol. So, which are the best and why? Perhaps this requires some analysis. The days of Scotch were days for the man's man. When smoking was heavy, and hiring secretaries for their looks was okay. Scotland is smaller than South Carolina, but has a coastline almost as long as Alaska. Halfway up the east coast are familiar names like Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, the Macallan, Glenmorangie, plus many others. Islay, the large island off of the southwest coat, boasts names like the smokey flavored Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, and others. A few outside this ... read more
Great idea
Glenfiddich 15

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Outer Hebrides July 24th 2023

On a beautiful sunny morning I went for a walk on the white sand of Clachan Sands. The hills of Harris just to the north added a bumpy aspect to the horizon and a lone oystercatcher flew excitedly up and down along the edge of the surf. It all looked so lovely I took my shoes off and had a little paddle. The water was very, very refreshing. I did feel like I really should dive in, but my excuse is that I had about 85km to cover by about 4.30pm or so. The beach was impressively clean. Someone must be collecting the litter regularly here. I set off about 9.30 to Eriskay for the ferry to Barra. Keith on the tricycle would have left hours ago and a Polish lady who was cycling the Hebridean ... read more
Clachan Sands
Short eared owl
adventurer and recumbent tricycyle

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland July 23rd 2023

My migration south started last Wednesday after a fantastic week in Stornoway. Half a dozen cyclists arrived at the Laxdale overnight and I think I spoke to most of them over breakfast and during packing. Some were at the end of their journey, others just setting out. There was one guy who had fortunately got a lift for himself and the bike from Tarbert to Stornoway after a stay snapped on his bike frame. A couple of ladies had spent eight days cycling here from Glasgow, mostly into the wind. Two German gents were spending a few weeks travelling in an open top Morgan. Most of my friends know my views on the environment, (I'm no saimt though. I do drive and even a quick skim through this blog will show I've put up a fair ... read more
Whale jawbone arch
Calanish Standing Stones
Calanish II

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Outer Hebrides » Stornoway July 18th 2023

I arrived in Stornoway on the Tuesday evening sailing. The crossing was memorable for the number of auks feeding on the sea around the ship. There were an impressive number of puffins in particular. Many of the guillemots were accompanied by a little juvenile, a recent jumpling. Each was staying very close to its father as they learned how to fend for themselves It was great to see dozens of dolphins and a minke whale too. I was going to Stornoway to join the Green Team at the HebCelt Festival for a second year running, having enjoyed it so much in 2022. On Wednesday morning I met many of my colleagues for the next few days. It was good to see familiar faces from last year amongst the volunteers including Christina and Vicky who lead the ... read more
Great black backed gull joining in the singing.

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh July 3rd 2023

Today has all the hallmarks of the pick day in Edinburgh, early time slot to visit Edinburgh Castle, then a quick taxi ride to lunch with Anne. After breakfast in the our room, we headed out up the 200 meters to the entrance of Edinburgh Castle . As you walked into the temporary stadium which has been built for the Military Tattoo on the 4th to 26th August was as intimidating as walking into the Colosseum or MCG. After checking in we started the walk up to the Argyle Battery which also has 3 x 105mm Field Guns are position to fire a salute at 1pm each day. After the walk up we saw the cafe and decided it was time for our morning coffee, good thing we did as when we were leaving, the queue ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh July 2nd 2023

Todays focus was about touring the Royal Yacht Britannia once the queens boat and have lunch at The Fish Market in Newhaven. Our choice of transport for today was Edinburgh Trams, while they only have one route, it goes from the Airport to Newhaven through the centre of Edinburgh. While the reams are smaller, they are much quieter and smoother than those in Melbourne. Coincidentally the second to last stop from New Haven was Royal Yacht Britannia. We spend two and a half hours exploring the 5 decks on display, ranging from the top deck where the Queen and The Dukes cabins and the Land Rover Garage, all the way down to the Engine room and living quarters of the engineering sailors. The biggest ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh July 1st 2023

Today was all about getting around as much of the Tourist spots we can. We defaulted back to the Hop on Hop off Bus and their red line. We chose this for expedience, but tomorrow we had different choices. But before that there was Edinburgh Farmers Market just down the hill from our accommodations. We walked down to see some of their farm produce and maybe get breakfast. Our breakfast was a tale of two cities with Rose selecting a Falafel wrap and the Falafel's were cooked to order. She loved it and it was very good. On the other hand, I was seduced by the whole pig on the spit, but that is where it ended, the pork was bland and soggy, the milk bun fell apart from the moister and I picked the filling ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh June 30th 2023

Our time in Dunblane had finished and we need to be back at the Edinburgh Avis desk by 3pm. The plan for the day was to leave early, go to Dundee, St. Andrews, and then be in Edinburgh at 3pm or face an extra days car hire! There was a quick hours trip to Dundee, we stopped on the waterfront to admire the bridges and Off-Shore Oil rigs. We went into the city centre for coffee and cake and then on to St. Andrews. Driving into St. Andrews was a mystical experience, you just knew it was special. The first stop was the St Andrews golf museum which provided a walk down the history of the golf and housed all of the top trophies (originals, not copies as the St. Andrews Golf club house is closed ... read more

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