Blogs from Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe - page 4


Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland October 5th 2019

We must have had a heck of a tailwind because Sara said we were an hour early arriving in Edinburgh. Still a 6 hour flight and it's darned near impossible to sleep well sitting up. Outside the airport it was cool and breezy as we walked to catch the tram to our hotel on Waterloo Place. We bought tickets (good through Monday) for the hop-on-hop-off buses along with entry tickets to some of the attractions. We got on one of the buses and rode the full circuit to get an idea of what we wanted to see, but were so worn out that we kept falling asleep. After lunch, Faye and I walked back to the hotel while Sara and Helen went in search of a knee brace for my right knee that has decided to ... read more
Scott Monument
Arthur's Seat

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Orkney Islands » Stromness September 30th 2019

We took the ferry from Scrabster to Stromness in the Orkney Islands, an island archipelago consisting of about 70 islands about an hour and a half ferry ride north off the coast. Mom was really into genealogy and she had been able to trace our ancestors from Orkney during the 1700-1800’s. She also had DNA testing done which shows Danish and Norwegian reference populations, making perfect sense when you look at a map or are familiar with Viking/Scottish history. The Orkney Islands have been continuously inhabited for about 8500 years making it an archaeological treasure trove earning it the name “Egypt of the North,” however most of it’s sites are twice as old as the pyramids. Orkney has over 160 archaeological sites ranging from standing stones to burial cairns to settlements. The islands are covered in ... read more
All  certified!
Stromness cemetary

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County » Wick September 30th 2019

We left Orkney and started making our way back to Glasgow to fly out to Belfast the following night. We took a detour to Wick to check out a castle that I read about and is one of the favorites of all who visit and drive the North Coast highway and for good reason. Castle Sinclair Girnigoe are ruins perched on the high sea cliffs on the wild and empty North Coast. It is a perfect setting for such a fortress, virtually impregnable due to it’s location. We had the castle to ourselves at sunset, free to crawl around it’s treacherous and precarious remains that continue to crumble into the sea. The following day we made a few more stops in villages along the way, having a last farewell meal of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties and ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland September 29th 2019

Our final day of touring Scotland. It’s been great, the weather held out the majority of the time .. even had some sun at times. There were only a few times that a light rain fell during our stops. I consider that to be extremely lucky for us. We included a city tour this morning, as well as a tour of the Edinburgh Castle. Sometimes it’s just easier to share some pictures than to try describing the uniqueness & character of this entire city. Our late afternoon included a visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia, which interestingly has a mall attached to it. Dinner at a small Scottish Pub finished off our week. It was a fun & very interesting week. The architecture throughout the country was awesome. We had members of our tour group from ... read more
Love the Archways

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » The Highlands September 29th 2019

So far up to this point Dennis had only had to drive on short stretches of single track roads, but headed up and around the Isle of Skye is predominantly all single track. On these types of roads it is a single lane but two ways of traffic must pass. You have to pull along the side in small turn offs to allow oncoming traffic to pass to avoid a head on collision. The trick is deciding who is the one that yields and sometimes you must even back up to go into the closest passing place, often with no guard rails and steep cliffs off both sides of the roadway and there is not a single straight stretch of road ANYWHERE in this country. Pretty much the entire west coast and the center of the ... read more
Eilean Donan Castle
The Fairy glen
Neist Point lighthouse

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland September 28th 2019

Guess I’m falling a bit behind on my posts. It’s been a great yet extremely busy week. We started this day with a stop at the Scone Palace and a tour of the Murray family home. After that, it was on to St Andrews, the Home of Golf. This was one stop that we were both looking forward to. Our stop was at the Old Course, which was also host to the Alfred Dunhill Championship. What a beautiful place!! After time roaming around & trip to the gift shop, we were given the opportunity to hit balls. Jim & many other golfers in our group loved this!! Our evening was spent at a dinner theater which included Scottish dancers, a bagpipe, & Scottish stories & songs. How fun!! ... read more
St Andrews
St Andrews

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland September 25th 2019

We spent a lot of time traveling today, making for a long day, but one full of spectacular scenery. We made a fairly short stop in Fort William before moving on to Glenfinnan and taking a few pictures of the viaduct used during the filming of Harry Potter movies. Our next stop was the ferry ride to the Isle of Skye, which is the largest island of the inner Hebrides and quite famous for its’ beautiful landscapes. We also stopped for a few pictures of the bridge and a small area made famous by “Saucy Mary” . From there we crossed the Skye Bridge back to the mainland and one more stop near the Eilean Donan Castle (the remains from feuds between the Campbell's and the McDonald’s.) Our evening was spent in an interesting older hotel ... read more
Glenfinnan Viaduct -Harry Potter Movies
isle of Skye
Ferry Ride

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland September 25th 2019

I can’t believe we are into Day #4 of our adventures already. This morning we traveled through the Culloden Battleground, and then on to the small village of Tomintoul, the highest village in the Scottish Highlands. Here I finally found my first connections from my family name. I’ve looked at all gift shops that carry ancestry information of the more basic family Scottish names, but have found nothing close to my McPhail name. Our ancestry says there were seven McPhail brothers that came together to the US many years ago from the Scottish Highlands. Well ... while walking past a local whiskey store, I noticed their window display featured Gordon & MacPhail whiskey. This is distilled by a local company, and we found a very nice & rather expensive collection of whiskey. Ha, imagine that, the ... read more
Culloden Battleground
A Fun Find

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland September 25th 2019

This is a bittersweet trip that I never would have imagined taking again so soon under these circumstances. Mom and I planned to return to Scotland this month this time with Dennis, wanting to see the heather in bloom which blooms from July-September. Sadly she passed away quite suddenly this Spring so we were never able to make our trip back. I feel so fortunate to have taken that trip together, and so many more, and thought we still had a few more to go but never knowing it would be our last. But of course we all think we have more time to do all the things we wish to do in our lives and often push them off for “tomorrow” or “next year” and sadly those times often never come. During that trip Mom ... read more
Great glen way
Interlochy Castle

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland September 16th 2019

The next train trip is 45 minutes from Glasgow to Edinburgh. This city is beautiful, with hundreds of ancient structures, wide streets, and great meat pies. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and some people call this area the Athens of the north because of similar topography. The city boasts a 43% rating of professionals holding degrees within the population. Our first day is spent doing our laundry, and posting the blog. Tomorrow, there are blue, blue skies. We take the bus on the very narrow roads out into the countryside. The rolling hills and farms look much like in the Porcupine Hills in SW Alberta, but much greener. I am excited to be going to the small town of Peebles, as this is where my Granny came from. A wandering river Tweed, several parks, and ... read more
Edinburgh is truly a beautiful city!
Peebles - Cathy’s ancestral home!

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