Farwell to Scotland
John & Carla
Kirsten, Nina, Joseph, Dwight, & Carole
Martha, Louis, Cindi, Louis, Ann & Ronnie
Jimmy, Janice, Jimmy, & Lori
David, Marcella, Ronnie, & Ann
Jimmy & John
Is Carole looking up Jimmy & Boyd's kilts?
Marcella, Boyd, Jimmy with another friend
Jimmy & Lori
Cruising Loch Lomond
Our group at Eilean Castle on the Isle of Skye
Dwight & Carole
Louie & Cindi
Jimmy & Janice
Lori & Jimmy
Carole & Lori at Urquart Castle ruins
The Isle of Skye
Urquart Castle on Loch Ness
Martha, Jimmy, & Ann
Ferry to Orkney Islands
Ride on the ferry
David & Marcella on the ferry
Welcome to the Orkney
Skaill House at Skara Brae
Atlantic Ocean at the Orknies
Prehistoric site at Skara Brae
Standing Stones on Orkney Island
Dunrobin Castle Gardens
Kirsten and Nina at Dunrobin
Ronnie, Boyd, Martha & Louis at Dunrobin
Culloden Moor Battlefield
Culloden Moor Battlefield
Some of our group gather for dinner at the Craiglynne Hotel in Grantown -on -Spey.
Blair Athol Distillery
Pure scotch whiskey
Ancient clubhouse at St. Andrews
First golf course
Carla, John, Janice, Jimmy, Cecilia, and Boyd tour the underground tunnels of Mary King's Close.
One of many monuments in Edinburgh
Views of Edinburgh
Boyd and John are fighting to use an old Scottish telephone booth
Jimmy is thinking of a career change.
Getting ready to board our BIG plane across the pond.
Finally made it to Edinburgh
Several of the guys doing what they do best...hanging out in the bar.
Day 9 - Aberfoyle & Loch Lomond, April 8
So our last day started out with some sunshine, but by time we reached Aberfoyle and the Sheep dog demonstration, rain was beginning to fall. After lunch in Callander, we headed to the famed Loch Lomond, the largest lake in the United Kingdom. We enjoyed a nice cruise, yes, we were indoors, on Loch Lomand, then headed on to Glasgow. And here we are at the end of another great adventure. We all enjoyed a farewell dinner with a piper bidding us farewell. We leave out here early at 5:15 am for early flights home. Farwell to Scotland..."Ye take the low road and I'll take the high road, and I'll get to Scotland afore Ye. It was there that my true love I'll never see again, on the Bonnie, Bonnie banks of Loch Lomond."
Days 7 & 8 - Loch Ness, Urquart Castle ruins, the Great Glen, Loch Linnhe, The Isle of Skye, Armadale Castle, Glenfinnan, April 6, & 7
Apparently the Wi-Fi was off at our hotel in Ballachulish last night, so I'm doing two entries today. On Sunday we enjoyed the stunning and unspoiled landscapes as we traveled back down to the Highlands. We took in the panoramic Loch Ness, one of Scotland's most scenic lakes. We made a stop at the ruins at Urquart Castle and kept an eye out for Nessie, the mythical Loch Ness monster. We traveled through the Great Glen before arriving at our hotel in Ballachullish on the lovely Loch Linnhe. On Monday, we began with a beautiful ride along the Road to the Isles and over the Skye Bridge to the legendary Isle of Skye. We enjoyed dramatic views of the Cuillin Hills And Eilean Castle. Then we had lunch at the Armadale Castle and Gardens, including a visit to the Museum of the Isles which is all about the history of the Clan MacDonald. We made our way back by riding a ferry back to the mainland, stopping at Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied the clansmen for battle during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. We finished up our day with another interesting Scottish dinner at our Hotel.
Day 6 - Orkney Islands - April 5
What an awesome day it was today! We saw the sun today...awesome! We left for a short drive to the ferry for our 1 1/2 hour crossing over to Scotland's Orkney Islands. We were prepared for a rough ride, but it was fairly calm, so we all made it ok. We were met by our local guide who took us for a great tour of the Islands. The Orkney Islands have a Viking history belonging to Norway centuries ago, until Scotland's King George the I married a Norwegian Princess who brought the Shetland Islands and the Orkney Islands as her dowry and Scotland has owned them ever since. We stopped at a beautiful chapel and Cathedral. We saw the Bishop's Palace. After lunch, we made our way to the Standing Stones, the Ring of Brodgar, that are similar to Stonehenge, but a lot older, built around the time that the Great Pyramids of Egypt, then we arrived at the prehistoric Neolithic village site of Skara Brae. Making our way back to the ferry, we crossed back over to the mainland at Thurso. It was a little rougher crossing back. We had a traditional Scottish dinner of rolled herring, salmon, and vanilla pannacotta. What a glorious day!
Day 5 - Culloden Battlefield, Dunrobin Castle, Thurso - April 4
We were out and away early this morning on our way to the Culloden Moor Battlefield. This is the spot where in April 1746 a half hour battle changed the course of history and the lives of the Highland people; where hundreds of Scots lost their lives at the hands of the Britts during an uprising lead by Bonnie Prince Charlie. We enjoyed a great live demonstration by a costumed performer, an interesting exhibition, and a serene battlefield. Then we were off to Dunrobin Castle which dates back to the 1300s, as well as a fascinating falconry display in the formal gardens overlooking the North Sea. As we headed to our destination for the night, the northernmost city in Scotland, Thurso, we enjoyed breathtaking views of the windswept cliffs of Scotland's east coast.
Day 4 - St. Andrews, Pitlochry, Grantown-on-Spey - April 3
We departed the hotel about 8:00 this morning with a constant gentle rain. We headed northeast to St. Andrews, the location of the invention of golf. We got to see the original course, the ancient clubhouse, all situated on the banks of the North Sea. The rain had subsided somewhat by the time we arrived, but it was still quite chilly. So after getting a look at the golf course, we headed to a coffee shop to warm up with some tea and coffee. Then we headed to the little village of Pitlochry. With lots of little restaurants, we had a little lunch, then headed to the heather gems factory. The heather is harvested along the hillsides, pressed at a high pressure into a hard block, then hand cut, and mounted into various jewelry settings. Just down the road, we visited the Blair Athol Scotch Distillery. Following the tour and demonstration, we were served a "wee dram" (sample) of the scotch whiskey. It was then back on the bus for the drive on to Grantown-on-Spey. We are staying here one night in a quaint little boutique hotel where we were served a wonderful traditional meal of haggis, nips, and tatties (haggis, turnips, and potatoes), choices of haddock, venison, or roast, followed by desserts of dumplings, or a raspberry cream. Since our wi-fi connections are not the best, it has been almost impossible to upload any new pictures tonight...May we will have better luck tomorrow night!
Day 3 - Edinburgh - April 2
Today was really amazing. We started off the day with a breakfast buffet featuring local favorites including haggis and scrambled eggs. The haggis isn't all that bad, but the blood pudding is something everyone can do without! Then we were off for a panoramic city tour of Edinburgh. With the temps in the 40s, a little wind, and cloudy and damp, it was quite chilly. But the good news was that it wasn't raining like it had been last week. However, we are all planning on wearing more layers tomorrow! Our first stop was to Holyrood Palace, the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh and former home of Mary, Queen of Scots. Next we were off to Edinburgh Castle, home of the Scottish Crown Jewels. It was all very interesting and amazing considering the age of these places. The afternoon was on our own, so several enjoyed various attractions in the area. One of the interesting things was a tour at the Scotch Whiskey Experince where we enjoyed a 50 minutes presentation of the making of scotch, including a sampling of our choice. we also got to see the largest collection of Scotch in the world. Another very interesting activity was a tour of Mary King's Close, an underground journey through some of the residences of 15th century residents of Edinburgh. Shopping and dinner at one of the many pubs was on most everyone's list. We were all ready to turn in as we are leaving Edinburgh tomorrow.
Day 2 - Journey and Arrival into Edinburgh - April 1
We made it out of Lubbock to DFW without any problems, and our overnight flight into London Heathrow left and arrived on time...9 hours in the air and we landed in almost total fog. The minute we turned our phones on, we started getting messages that our connecting flight to Edinburgh had been cancelled. I don't understand how planes can land in fog but they can't take off. So we spent the next two hours in lines, and waiting in more lines, finally getting re-booked, clearing customs, finally finding our gate at one of the world's largest airports. We only had about 10 minutes, just enough time to find the bathrooms, and they started boarding. We ended up arriving into Edinburgh only a couple of hours later than originally scheduled. We were met by our tour manager, Joseph, who got us right on our bus and on to the hotel. Our hotel could not be better situated...we are right on what is called the Royal Mile in the old town...just blocks from Edinburgh Castle, lots of beautiful old buildings, shops, and of course, pubs! We had about a hour to freshen up before leaving for our Welcome to Scotland dinner and show. We had our choices of several Scottish dishes, and had a wonderfully entertaining show, complete with a bagpiper, Scottish dancers, musicians, and singers. They even managed to get several of our group up there dancing. Everyone is going to sleep well tonight!
Day One - March 31st
So our journey begins...hopefully we won't have any airline problems. Everyone is scheduled to meet at the bank at 10:30 am for our ride to the airport. There are 14 of us flying out of Lubbock and 6 flying out of New Orleans. We will all have over night flights across the pond with everyone scheduled to meet up in Edinburgh sometime the afternoon April1 st. We have Ronnie, Ann, Cyndi, Louis, Martha, and Louis from New Orleans. From Lubbock we have Carole, Dwight, Marcella, David, Jimmy, Lori, Carla, John, Jimmy, Janice, Nina, Kirsten, Boyd, and Cecilia.