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Private Tour Scottish Highlands.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

This evening, I am posting a record of today's tour (which benefited significantly from fine, dry weather with sunshine). Here are a couple of views of Inverness. First image is the River Ness.


This view of Inverness was taken from a high elevation with the snow covered hills of Easter Ross in the background.


Next, we drove down to Loch Ness for numerous photo opps including the Loch Ness Monster representation at the Clansman Hotel. Then on to Castle Urquhart on the banks of Loch Ness. Great views of the loch and Highlands scenery. We spent about one hour here.

Here is a trebuchet (type of giant catapult) used in castle sieges in medieval times.


View of Loch Ness from Castle Urquhart.

Next we drove south, tracking Loch Ness to Aonach Mor, close to Fort William, where we ascended up the mountain in the chairlift to watch the many people skiing, and observe the views of the mountains of the Nevis Range covered in snow. An excellent experience.

Here is the chairlift.


This is 'Base Camp'.

Our next objective was rugged Glencoe. We arrived at the Visitor Centre just as it was closing but managed to purchase some refreshments in the nick of time!

We then drove through Glencoe ( valley of the River Coe) stopping on a number of occasions for picture opportunties. The visibility, evening sunlight and extensive snow covering proved a compelling combination for photographs and videos.





Stop for family picture shoot.


Finally, we embarked on the long journey back to Edinburgh, firstly journeying across desolate Rannoch Moor and then on down to Stirling District (driving past Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument, both of which stood out with benefit of floodlighting).

We eventually arrived at central Edinburgh about 8.45pm and then fond farewells after a very satisfying day in the Scottish Highlands.


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Private Scotland Tour

Saturday, March 06, 2010

This evening, I am posting a record of today's tour:

Collected group of guests at Edinburgh and then drove across Forth Bridge to Dunfermline Abbey. This was a former Royal Palace and effective capital of Scotland until 1603. Together, the Abbey and Palace comprise one of the most impressive building complexes in medieval Scotland. Good views over the surrounding area as the elevation is high. Inside the modern church is the burial place of King Robert the Bruce who died in 1329.


Inside the Nave which was the abbey church.


At Dunfermline Abbey burial ground there is a friendly peacock in residence which afforded some photo opps. The Peacock is the National Bird of India.

At Dunkeld we visited the ancient Cathedral and took pictures of the locality including the River Tay, Scotland's longest river. Weather was benevolent.

Fishing on the River Tay close to Dunkeld Cathedral.



Next, a few miles up the A9 (highway) we stopped and followed a trail along the River Braan to see the falls at Ossian's Hall. Quite stunning, with lots of snow and ice around.Lots of photo opps.

This is Ossian's Hall.The viewing platform overlooks the Falls of Braan which can be spectacular.


Next, we drove 15 mins up the A9 to Pitlochry where we stopped for refreshments. Then we continued our journey north to Inverness via Aviemore, a town focused on outdoor activities in the Cairngorms.Lots of snow in evidence but roads were clear.

Before arriving at Inverness, we paid a short visit to Clava Cairns, one of Scotland's top prehistoric sites dating back about 5000 years. It was quite eery in the late evening sunlight with the snow covering adding another dimension. Here there is a collection of large stone burial chambers and stone circles.


Finally we moved on to Inverness via the battlefield site of Culloden (1746) arriving at our lodgings about 6.15pm.



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Private Small Group Tour Scotland

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Today proved quite successful

Overnight I motored down to Dumfries for an overnight stay in a genuine farmhouse B&B and was well looked after by the farmer and family. Had a short course on farming economics and Galloway Cattle.

Collected my group of six guests form the U.S.at Dumfries and we then proceeded on tour up to Culzean Castle which sits in a magnificent setting on the Ayrshire coast. This mansion caters for a wide range of interests including architecture, history, gardens, wildlife and much more. One could easily spend a full day here but, unfortunately, our time was restricted.

Next stop was the Govan, and industrial part of Glasgow which houses an ancient religious site on which sits then current Old Govan Church. Inside this building is one one of Scotland's national treasures as manifested in a stunning collection on carved stones dating from the 9th and 10th centuries and which incorporate Viking and Pictish influences from early Christian times. We had the benefit of an excellent local guide who talked us through the history of the stones and the current church building which is of architectural merit in its own right.

Finally, we moved on to Glasgow Cathedral, one of Glasgow's top tourists attractions which dates from the 12th century. This building is distinguished by the fact that it is one of the very few places of worship which escaped the Reformation relatively unscathed. My group had benefit of a private tour guide.

This completed a full day, covering some distance. Last stop was East Calder where the group was deposited at their lodgings for the night prior to return to the U.S.tomorrow.


Detail of carved stone at Govan.


Butterfly at Culzean
View of the Adam designed, Culzean Castle today.

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Melrose Abbey, Scotland

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Today, our group commenced Edinburgh and travelled south through the Scottish borders. Here, we visited Melrose Abbey which dates from 1136. The Abbey has had a chequered history being battered by the English, rebuilt and then robbed of stone. Novelist Sir Walter Scott instigated repairs in the 19th century.


The Abbey is located in the pleasant country town of Melrose and is worth a visit if in the area. Robert the Bruce's heart was buried at the Abbey.

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Private Scotland Tour

Monday, July 06, 2009

Today, we started from Inverness, Capital of the Highlands and headed for two nearby sites, namely Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns. Culloden is where occurred the last battle on British soil in 1746 where a British Government force under General Cumberland comprehensively and ruthlessly defeated a Jacobite/Highland army under the charismatic 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'. There is an excellent Visitor Centre at Culloden. See image no 4 below for 18th century armaments.

Next we visited the close by Clava Cairns which date back some 4000 years into prehistory.

The following two images are of Clava as is this video clip
After Clava we drove down to Pitlochry in Perthshire for a pub lunch. See image no. 3.
Unfortunately the Edradour Distillery was unexpectedly closed so we continues our journey down to Stirling Castle which mainly dates from the 16th century (images 5 and 6).



Overall a productive day albeit we suffered from very heavy rainfall.







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Dunvegan Castle, Skye, Scotland.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today, I am posting a video clip of Dunvegan Castle. It is the island's most important tourist attraction. This is the home of the chiefs of the Clan Macleod who have lived here for over seven centuries, making it the oldest inhabited castle in Britain. The present structure dates from the 15th and 16th centuries and, though the Victorian restoration has left it looking morelike a baronial house, a look inside reveals its true age.

For the video click here.

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Private Tour West of Scotland

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Today, our group comprising a mix of Scots, Swedes, French and Germans embarked on a lengthy but satisfying mini-coach tour starting and finishing Glasgow and taking in:


  • Luss, Loch Lomond
  • Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum
  • Stalker Castle
  • Oban (McCaig's Folly)
  • Inverawe Fisheries
  • Inveraray (and Castle)
  • Loch Fyne Oyster Bar (evening meal)
This is image taken about 9.15pm this evening of Glen Croe at 'Rest and be Thankful'.

Happy group of diners at loch Fyne Oyster Bar

Inveraray-a planned 18th century town

Inveraray Castle-home of the Duke of Argyll.


Romantic Kilchurn Castle-abandoned and damaged by lightening 1769.

View of Oban harbour.
Aspect of McCaig's Folly, Oban. Built as a job creation exercise for stonemasons in 19th C

Castle Stalker-abandoned and ruined 1840 but restored in 1960s.

Aspect of Glencoe
Poppies in garden at Luss, Loch Lomond.


Overall, a good tour lasting about 11 hours.

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Blogger BJM said...

Wow! What lovely photographs and overall feel for the day's outing!

Lots of happy people headed off to their beds at night-time.

Barbara MacLeod

June 10, 2009  

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Private Scotland Tour-Glencoe and Wallace Mounument

Friday, June 05, 2009

Today, we completed the final leg of our 10 day Scotland Tour.

Starting in sunshine at Fort William on Loch Linnhe, we drove down to the historic and scenic village of Glencoe which is famous for its scenery and site of the infamous 1692 massacre of local MacDonalds by a British Army contingent comprised of Campbells.




After a short stop at the Glencoe Visitor Centre we moved on up through Glen Coe across Rannoch Moor and down to Loch Lomond where we availed of a lunch stop at the heritage village of Luss.Unfortunately the church was closed but we visited the churchyard which features a Viking era 'hogback' grave marker which possibly dates back to about AD900.


Next we moved on to Stirling, driving round the foot of the famous castle and then to the William Wallace ( aka 'Braveheart') Monument. After a climb to the top and a photo opportunity, we moved on to Edinburgh and the Hilton Hotel for the final night -and fond farewells.


Apart from the all the sites and experiences this tour will be remembered for encountering virtually no rainfall during the entire 10 days-almost unheard of in Scotland!





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Skye to Fort William Tour Scotland

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Today, we travelled down from Isle Ornsay, Skye to Mallaig via the 25 min ferry ride.

Upopn arrival at Mallaig we undertook a couple of short tours to Loch Morar ( Scotland's deepest loch) and the coastal village of Arisaig.

Next we connected with the Jacobite (Harry Potter) steam train for the journey to Fort William.




From Fort William we explored Glen Nevis and the nearby mountain biking centre.



Lots of goods pics with Ben Nevis in the background.

A good day. Next we are off to Edinburgh via Glencoe and Loch Lomond.





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