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Seven Day Scotland Tour (Sept..2006)

Monday, September 11, 2006

DAY 1

Party of four due to arrive Glasgow 0915 but two clients delayed by 8 hours due to flight cancellation in the U.S. In the meantime we elect to visit Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire Coast but find ourselves hemmed in by a 10K road race around Glasgow. Afer a "magical mystery tour" around the architecturally interesting streets of Glasgow we invoke Plan B and drive north to the Trossachs and Loch Katrine stopping at Aberfoyle for a refreshment break en-route. Avail of a 105 min trip on steamship Sir Walter Scott which proves most enjoyable; good scenery aided by clement weather (most of the time!) and hence good photo opps. Back to Glasgow in the evening to collect the two late arrivals then try to adhere to most of the original itinerary, i.e. Loch Lomond/Luss Note that heritage village Luss was used the set for a Scottish TV soap for many years, 'Take the High Road'. Overnight at the well situated Loch Fyne Hotel at Inveraray which proved a good choice. A long day but we arrive in good spirit. Enjoy flexible tours of Scotland with catswhiskerstours

Day 2

We start with a quick tour/photo shoot of Inveraray and make contact wih some locals.Then head north to enjoy a scenic drive past Kilchurn Castle (photos) and then on up via winding, narrow roads of Glen Orchy (taking in waterfalls and rapids and hence more photo opps). After emerging on to the main road we move on to Glencoe

Glencoe is internationally renowned for its dramatic and extraordinary landscape, famous history (1692 massacre) and its important wildlife. All of these features are displayed at the well presented visitor centre. A quick drive through the actual village then on to
Fort William/Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis is Britain's highest mountain at 4406 ft (1344m) However, we don't have the energy to attempt an ascent!

On to Glenfinnan
It was here that Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745 with aim of re-taking the Crown for the Stewarts. Good views and photo opps. Drive on to Mallaig to connect with the ferry to Skye but we get caught up in a convoy of slow moving traffic along the narrow road and catch the ferry by the skin of out teeth!

After a 20 min ferry trip we arrive at Skye and then visit the Clan Donald Centre
This is a fascinating and well presented visitor centre with library for research purposes. Much information on Scotland, Skye, the MacDonalds and emigration to Canada, U.S., Australia and New Zealand in the 18th and 19th centuries. We then move on to the well maintained gardens and ruined castle. The gardens incorporate some fascinating shrubs and mature trees, many originating from North America. Visit Scotland's gardens with catswhiskerstours
Overnight at Eilean Iarmain Hotel
This hotel is wonderfully situated on a small peninsula and affords wonderful views and photo opps.

DAY 3
After an enjoyable overnight at the hotel (good food) we move on with our planned tour of Skye. Unfortunately this is a day of heavy rain-as predicted-but the only rainy day of the tour. We complete a loop of the main part of Skye taking in Portree and a visit to Dunvegan Castle
This is the home of Clan Macleod. Visit Scotland's castles with catswhiskerstours
We wish to purchase some tartan clothing so drive on, off the island, to Lochcarron Weavers
This is a fascinating mill, well off the main "tourist route." It is possible to see actual weaving in process. Aided by some very helpful staff we indulge in some purchases and then move to a local cafe (the Waterside) for some refreshment including some very tasty freshly cooked scones. After reflection at the cafe we elect to return to Lochcarron Weavers for some more purchases! After more photo opps we drive back to Skye, across the bridge Despite the weather, a very satisfying and productive day.

DAY 4

0915 start. Weather much improved. We leave Skye for the last time and head towards the famous Loch Ness. First stop at the very photo-genic Eilean Donan Castle
After refreshment and photos we move on through the breathtaking and ever changing scenery to Castle Urquhart on Loch Ness
Apart from the fabled monster, Loch Ness has claim to fame in that it has the greatest mean depth of any Scottish Loch at 433 ft and the greatest volume of water measured at 263,162 million cubic feet. Visit Scottish Lochs with catswhiskerstours
We spend well over an hour at Castle Urquhart which affords superb photo opps. Incredibly, some youngsters were swimming in the Loch, which has a temperature of about 38F degrees!
On to Moniak winery via a back road taking us through countryside which is well endowed with heather in bloom. Scotland is renowned for its heather, an often underrated plant which grows profusely in the Highlands. The praises of heather have been heralded in Song and Legend since time immemorial, yet little is know about it. Visit Scotland's heather with catswhiskerstours
We drive on to Fort George
This is a fascinating 18th. century fort built to control the Highlands by the Government after the 1745-6 uprising and is still an army base today! After an hour or so at Fort George we move on to the hotel, Maple Court at Inverness which proves "OK".

DAY 5

Collect 0915 then on to the famous battlefield site at Culloden
It was here on 16 April 1746 that the last battle was fought on British soil and ended the House of Stuart's hopes of regaining the throne. Unfortunately, the special, guided tour was not available but we undertook our own tour with benefit of the guide books, etc.
After Culloden drive down to Highland Perthshire through ever changing scenery. At Pitlochry we visit the Edradour Distillery , which provides an excellent free tour lasting about 45 mins. Some of the group are converted to the merits of whisky and make selected purchases! Visit Scotland's distilleries with catswhiskerstours
We are running late but a call to our next scheduled stop, the Crannog Centre
ensures that we should just make the last tour of the day. This is the only reconstructed Crannog in the British Isles and well worth a visit. Crannogs are a type of ancient loch dwelling found throughout Scotland and Ireland.They were built out in the water as defensive homesteads from 5000 years ago and people continued to modify and re-occupy them periodically until the 17th century AD! Visit the Crannog Centre with catswhiskerstours
After a fascinating visit to the Crannog we briefly visit the Kenmore Hotel to see the authentic Robert Burns' poem written on the wall and then enjoy a scenic drive back to Dunkeld via Aberfeldy (where the famous Black Watch regiment was raised) and Dalguise (which has links with Beatrix Potter). Weather good/sunny. Overnight at the Royal Hotel, Dunkeld.

DAY 6

Start 0915 and all the portents of a good, sunny day. Drive to the village of Dunning where we visit the famous Dupplin Cross
This is housed in a fascinating, historic church which itself is a museum. After an excellent guided tour of the Cross we drive on to Stirling Castle via the roadside memorial to Maggie Wall who was burned as a witch in the 17th century. Stirling Castle is probably one of the best of Scotland's many castles and, ideally, we should have allowed more time to visit all the various facets of this famous building. Then to the Wallace Monument which is a tower on a very steep hill, thus affording excellent views and photo opps. Then we drive on , availing of a refreshment stop en-route, to St. Andrews
We pull in at the Old Course Hotel and simply sample the atmosphere at this Holy Grail of golfing. Spend about an hour on the Old Course, taking pics and a call back to the U.S.to make friends/relatives envious! Visit St.Andrews with catswhiskerstours
On to Edinburgh via the Fife Coast and a quick visit to Lower Largo where there is a statue to the role model for Robinson Crusoe, one Andrew Selkirk.
Overnight at the spendid Dalhousie Castle and Spa

DAY 7

Final day!!

Collect 0915 then on to the nearby, famous, Rosslyn Chapel
The Chapel has magnificent carvings and features in the Da Vinci Code. We wanted to visit the Edinburgh Crystal showrooms but, at last minute we learn the company is in bankruptcy! So, on to Edinburgh Castle
After a visit to this iconic site a gentle walk down the famous Royal Mile for refreshments at Holyrood House.Visit Edinburgh with Catswhiskerstours. Overall, a very satisfying day. Then back to Glasgow and the Ramada Airport Hotel in readiness for return flight the next morning. Fond farewells after an enjoybale Scotland tour.

NB-Pics to come.

posted by Catswhiskers @ 9:26 AM 

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