Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
Trip End Oct 15, 2008

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hi everyone, or hiya as they seem to say in this part of the world.  Well Dave and I finally left the clutches of London, 6 weeks after I arrived.  I had been stuck inside of our 'house' doing my ONP and Dave, the first two weeks of his teaching career.  We decided to hire a car, as the train tickets were expensive and it worked out cheaper than flying up and hiring a car when we arrived.

London had just spent 5 days in a thick fog, and it stayed with us all the way to Newcastle, where the sun came out bright as bright, yay.  We then drove to a place called Berwick-upon-Tweed, a small town on the boarder of Scotland and England.  It is very historic in that it is right on a river and was in a very popular seaport for trading a few centuries ago, so it was fought over between the two countries for ownership.  We checked out the very cool bridges and the old fortifications which were built and finally kept out the Scots.We arrived in Edinburgh at about 4:30 that arvo, 9 hrs later.  But we did stop for about 1.5 hrs.  Supposedly it will take you two days if you ask the locals.

The next day we awoke to.... you guessed it fog!!  We went up to the castle but you couldn't see it!  We spent some time on the high street in the old town, which is just great, and decided to go on an underground tour.  The new buildings were just erected on top of the old ones, so under the city is heaps of old buildings and tunnels that used to be above round back in the 16th century.  The tour we went on was Mary Kings Close, no cameras allowed of course.  That night we were treated to a nice roast lamb dinner at Flora's parents place.  Flora is one of Dave's old traveling buddies, and we were lucky enough to be staying at her and Kenny's house.

Then of course it was Christmas day, sorry no white Christmas.  We slept in and went to a friends of the families for dinner.  Pretty similar to home really, roast Turkey, potato's, veggies, Christmas pudding etc lots of alcohol.  Nice day ate to much and went to sleep early.

We got up early the next day to go to Kenny's parents house in Dunoon, on the south west coast of Scotland.  We drove via Sterling and checked out the Castle which was closed.  Then we went to Loch Lomond the biggest Loch in Scotland.  It was cold and over cast, but not as foggy as it had been in Edinburgh.  Then to Dunoon where we ate and drank to much again.  The house we stayed in was right across from the Loch, very picturesque. 



From Dunoon we headed to the Isle of Skye.  We drove through a little place called Inverery, got lost and had to drive back 20 miles or so to head to Fort William.  We had to drive through a place called Glen Coe which was just beautiful, snow capped mountains the lot. 

At Fort William we check out a ruined Castle called Inverlochy castle, it was quite fun climbing the old steps that were used by people so long ago. 

We wanted to catch the ferry to Skye so we drove to Mallaig which was about 45 mins away on a narrow windy road, and made it with 5 mins to spare.  By the time we had arrived in Skye it was dark and we could explore any more.  

We found a room at Saucy Mary's Hostel, yes lovely name I know, and headed to the bar.  We played pool with some Aussies, as there doesn't seem to be any other nationality around, and found out they were living right near where Dave teachers.  We had a few drinks, Dave largar and me cider, and a traditional Scottish band started to play.  They were quite good, with a banjo type instrument, a fiddle and a guy who alternated between the small pipes and differing types of recorders.  So we drank some more, and some more, and then I decided we should do the heal and toe poker to give it an Aussie feel, well it was fun at the time!

The next morning I woke up with a really bad hangover, worse then Dave which doesn't happen to often!  We drove around the top of Skye and stopped for a big greasy breakfast in Portree.  It is a beautiful island with very dramatic scenery.  We saw a Highland Coo and heaps of sheep, I quite like the ones with black faces, they are very cute.  We were driving down one road and had to wait for them to go around us as they were not moving very fast.

We left Skye and headed to Inverness, and past Loch Ness, it was getting dark and I had a headache, so our look for Nessie was short lived, but it is one big Loch and I can see how a monster might hide very well in there.  When we got to Inverness it was dark and all the hostels were booked out.  We ended up at East Gate Backpackers in a 16 bed dorm room.  Not all that pleasant, but cheap.  We got woken up about 10 times, and had a bad sleep, but at least I felt better then the previous day.

The weather had been pretty good the last few days, although it rained on and off.  But today it was blowing a gale outside.  We wanted to see the battle of Culloden, but it was so windy it made this almost impossible.  We saw a lecture on it and found out that it was the last battle between the Highlanders or Jacobites and the English.  it was pretty much a slaughter with the English having many more men and better equipment.

We decided to head south and saw a turn off to an old monument so we followed it.  It lead us to and old bell tower called Ardlach which was a watch tower.  we unlocked the door and went inside.  There was a little chain so I pulled it and what do you know the bell rang.  I got very excited for some reason so Dave had a go and found it fun as well.

Wanting some snow we headed to the Cairngorms where there was a ski resort, and figured there would be snow.  By this time though the weather had gotten worse with torrential rain and gale force winds.  Nothing was open when we got to the top and there wasn't much snow to be seen.  Disappointed we headed back down past a loch which did have ice around it, and tried to find somewhere to stay. 

You would have thought we would learn, but again all the rooms were full, so we drove down to Pitlochry and found a really nice backpackers.  We treated our selves to a double with an en suite, and headed up to a brewery/hotel for tea.  We had an ale with our lamb shank and salmon and I really enjoyed it, first ale I have liked.  Half way through our meals the lights decided to go out, so we ate dinner by the candle light, very romantic, except for the drunk Scottish men trying to get me to fluff my hair again!!  We headed back to the hostel where we played yahtzee.

Well now we are back in Edinburgh relaxing and catching up on info.  We checked out Edinburgh Castle which was cool, but a bit windy and cold.  The sun was out for the first time in ages so we soaked that up under our coats and binis. Hogmany tomorrow.  Hope you are all well.
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