a journey through Scotland

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July 9, 2019: A piper busks on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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July 10, 2019: Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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July 10, 2019: Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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July 11, 2019: Abbotsford House near Melrose, Scotland.

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July 11, 2019: Melrose Abbey in Melrose, Scotland.

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July 12, 2019: The Old Course at St Andrews in St Andrews, Scotland.

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July 12, 2019: The Kelpies in Falkirk, Scotland.

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July 13, 2019: Highland cattle at Rothiemurchus Centre near Aviemore, Scotland.

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July 13, 2019: The Carrbridge Bridge over the River Dulnain in Carrbridge, Scotland.

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July 14, 2019: Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness near Drumnadrochit, Scotland.

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July 14, 2019: Inverness Castle in Inverness, Scotland.

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July 15, 2019: A rowboat in Loch Carron near Lochcarron, Scotland.

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July 15, 2019: Red deer at Reraig Forest in Lochcarron, Scotland.

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July 15, 2019: Eilean Donan castle and the village of Dornie, Scotland.

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July 16, 2019: The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

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July 16, 2019: Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

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July 16, 2019: The Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

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July 16, 2019: The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

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July 18, 2019: The Cloisters at The University of Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland.

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July 19, 2019: Inveraray Castle near Inveraray, Scotland.

Recently, Patty and I spent fourteen days driving around Scotland.

We landed at Glasgow International Airport and picked up our rental car. We ate lunch at the The Farm at No 12 restaurant on our way to Edinburgh. After our arrival, we toured the ruins of Craigmillar Castle, a medieval fortress built in the 14th-century. Finally, we checked into the Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel.

The next day we visited Edinburgh Castle, a beautiful, famous fortress built in the 12th-century. Afterwards, we listened to an amazing piper on the Royal Mile before we ate fantastic food at Amber restaurant at the Scotch Whisky Experience. We walked around Dean Village, a tranquil neighborhood just outside Edinburgh. Then we returned to our hotel for a few hours before visiting Greyfriers Bobby. Bobby was a dog who became famous after he spent 14 years sitting next to the grave of his owner, Edinburgh police officer John Gray, until his own death on January 14, 1872. Gray and Bobby are both buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh.

We woke up on Wednesday and toured the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II when she visits Scotland. We ate lunch at Tolbooth Tavern before visiting the Scottish Owl Centre, the largest owl sanctuary in the UK. Finally, we had dinner at O’Oliviero, an authentic Italian restaurant in Edinburgh.

The next day, we drove to Abbotsford, a historic country house in the Scottish Borders near Melrose, Scotland. It is the former residence of Sir Walter Scott, the famous Scottish novelist, poet, playwright and historian. Some of his most classic literary works include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Old Mortality, The Lady of the Lake, and Waverly. After Abbotsford, we toured Melrose Abbey, a ruined Cistercian monastery that was founded in 1136. It is rumored that the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce, the King of Scotland from 1306 until his death in 1329, is buried at the abbey. We detoured on the return to our hotel to see Tantallon Castle, a ruined 14th-century fortress located in East Lothian, Scotland on the Firth of Forth.

The following morning, we visited the famous Swilcan Bridge and the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse on the Old Course at St Andrews in St Andrews, Scotland. It is the oldest course and most prestigious golf club in the world. St Andrews is regarded as the ancestral home of golf. The game has been played on the Old Course for 600 years. We ate lunch at Tailend Restaurant and Fish bar in St Andrews before we drove to see the Kelpies, an art installation that stands along the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk, Scotland. A kelpie is a mythological spirit, usually appearing as a horse, which inhabits the lochs and waterways of Scotland. The monument was designed by Andy Scott and constructed from June to October 2013. They have a structural steel frame wrapped in stainless steel cladding. The Kelpies are 100-feet high and are the largest equine sculptures in the world.

We left Edinburgh and drove to Stirling Castle, a historic fortress built in the 12th-century. We had lunch at Bannockburn Coffee House before we went to see Highland cattle at Rothiemurchus Centre, a farm located in Cairngorms National Park near Aviemore, Scotland. Highland cattle are a breed of cows native to Scotland. They are famous for their long horns and thick, wooly coats. Primarily, they are raised for their beef. We ate dinner at La Taverna, another authentic Italian restaurant, before we drove to see the Carrbridge Bridge over the River Dulnain in Carrbridge, Scotland. Brigadier-General Alexander Grant commissioned the bridge to be built in 1717 so funeral processions could cross the water to Duthil Churchyard. It is one of the oldest bridges in Scotland. Finally, we arrived in Inverness and checked into the Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa.

Sunday morning, we toured the Glenmorangie Distillery where they produce a popular single malt Scotch whisky. We had lunch at The Urquhart restaurant in downtown Inverness and then toured Urquhart Castle, an 800-year-old ruined fortress on the shore of the infamous Loch Ness near Drumnadrochit, Scotland.

After leaving Inverness, Patty and I drove to Reraig Forest to meet Colin Murdoch and his large herd of red deer in Lochcarron, Scotland. After our tour of the estate, we ate lunch at Waterside Cafe before we visited the Eilean Donan Castle. The 800-year-old fortress has been destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout the centuries. Finally, we checked into our room at the Uig Hotel on the Isle of Skye.

The following day, we hiked The Old Man of Storr, a large, rocky hill created by an ancient massive landslip. Also, we visited the stunning Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls. We returned to the Uig Hotel for a few hours before we drove through The Fairy Glen and The Quiraing, two nearby locations with different, yet spectacular, landscapes.

Wednesday was washed out due to heavy rains but we had a superb lunch at Sea Breezes in Portree before we left the Isle of Skye and headed to Fort William, Scotland. After several hours, we arrived at The Garrison, a small, stylish hotel.

We woke up on Thursday to more rain. We visited the Glenfinnan Viaduct, a railway bridge made famous as the “Hogwarts Express” train in the Harry Potter films. We ate lunch at Crannog Seafood Restaurant before hiking through Glen Nevis and Glen Coe, two gorgeous valleys with towering mountains and impressive waterfalls.

After leaving Fort William, we toured Inveraray Castle and enjoyed a light lunch at Inveraray Castle Tea Room. The castle is a country house on Loch Fyne near Inveraray, Scotland. It was built in 1743 and has been the seat of the Dukes of Argyll, the chiefs of Clan Campbell, since the 18th century. Afterwards, we drove to Glasgow and checked into the Hampton by Hilton Glasgow Central. We had dinner next door at The Butterfly and The Pig before walking through The Cloisters at The University of Glasgow. The archways connect the East and West Quadrangles on campus and are an iconic part of the University, which was founded in 1451.

Finally, our last day in Scotland was spent buying souvenirs and walking through George Square and the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. We woke up the next morning, returned our rental car at Glasgow International Airport, and flew home.

-scott weaver

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