Sunday, May 27, 2018

Edinburgh, Scotland to Dublin, Ireland

 This turned out to be an incredibly long day. We did pass beautiful countryside and we had a ferry ride to Belfast. But the bus ride was long and then add to that the time at the Titanic Museum. We didn't get to our Dublin hotel until about 8 pm and we were tired and hungry. Not a great beginning to our Ireland tour.
More of the Scottish countryside

Approaching the ferry point to take us to Ireland

The Titanic Museum. Unfortunately, the inside wasn't very conducive to taking photographs.

And now the Irish countryside

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Edinburgh

From the outside ... this was a BIG castle
Today was a full day in Edinburgh. We had a scenic drive around the city and then the afternoon on our own. The bus dropped us off near the Castle entrance and afterward, we walked the street known as the Royal Mile. It sloped gently downhill (thank goodness!) directly away from the castle, as we strolled back to our hotel.

A view of Edinburgh from one of the gunports

Loved the idea of a dog cemetery

Looking down on just one of the many 'floors' of the castle

Giles Cathedral along the Royal Mile

The most popular non-alcoholic drink in Scotland


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Pitlochry to Edinburgh, Via St. Andrews

Well, the picture of our route for this one is a bit fuzzy but including it anyway,










We were moving out of the Highlands and heading to Edinburgh. Our first stop was Glamis Castle which is thought to be the setting for Macbeth and is the childhood home of the late Queen Mother. As usual, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside the castle.



St. Andrews Cathedral
 We then moved on to St. Andrews, where the game of golf started. We drove around the golf course and clubhouse and then had some time to walk the streets. Some of our fellow travelers headed straight for the clubhouse. We wandered the streets.







Thursday, May 10, 2018

Our Day in Pitlochry

We had two nights in Pitlochry and this day was a day trip from the hotel. And, of course, it was cloudy and drizzly.

We visited Blair Castle, home of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl. The castle dates from 1269 and has some beautiful gardens. Unfortunately, we couldn't take any pictures inside the castle.


We then went to the Blair Atholl Distillery to learn about making whiskey and we each got a sample. Again, no pictures inside.












We were next dropped off in the town of Pitlochry, which was the foot of the hill our hotel was on. We had time to wander this charming town and then the bus was made available to take us back to the hotel.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Nairn to Pitlockry

This day was a stop and go day. Our first stop was the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre where, in 1746, the British government defeated the armies of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and essentially ended the clan system in Scotland.

As usual, we had a rainy day.

One of the clan grave markers































Our next stop was a farm where we met a shepherd, his dogs, and his sheep. Everyone really enjoyed this. This shepherd was definitely old school. His father had been a shepherd and he expected his children (a boy and a girl) to be shepherds.




He talked about the training, showed us a sample of what they can do, 










gave us the opportunity to shear a sheep. 


















and then brought out a basket of puppies.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Ballachulish to Nairn, Scotland Via The Isle of Skye






Dawned another dark and rainy day. Our first stop was the Glenfinnan Monument. (If you click on the link, the train trestle in the foreground was used in a Harry Potter movie.)
















And bused along the length of Loch Ness where the weather began to clear. (No, we didn't see any monsters other than in the gift shops.)











We got lucky and the weather began to clear.















We boarded the car ferry and sailed to the Isle of Skye. The crossing was beautiful.




We visited Armandale Castle. This is the view coming in on the ferry. The next picture is from the front lawn. How would you like to wake up to that view every day? :)



 






We left the Isle via a bridge and headed to Nairn. More beautiful scenery and castle ruins along the route.




In Nairn, our hotel was a short walk from the North Sea.