Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Scotland
Trip Start Jun 27, 2010
11Trip End Aug 19, 2010
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Catherine took us to Heathrow in plenty of time. We went to the gate and walked down some stairs into a bus. We drove around the airport like we were looking for a plane and then stopped. We walked up a whole flight of stairs and found our seats. When it was time to take off, the Captain ( or someone else in the cockpit) apologized for the confusing boarding process and said that we did not take the plane originally planned and that is why we were carted over to the international side of the airport to use this plane. Why, I am not sure but we arrived an hour later in Edinburgh.
Katriona introduced herself to us in the baggage claim department and we drove to Dundee. Sheila had decided that she would like to unload all of the bags before going into Dundee to pick up the car paying no attention to the time. Less than an hour later, they came back with groceries saying that the Enterprise place was closed for the day. I called the next morning and because we didn't pick up the car or call before they closed at 6:00 (18:00), they gave the car to someone else! So, the best we could do was have Skip take the train back to Edinburgh airport and pick up a car the next morning. Cars are very scarce because of the British Open in St. Andrews across the bay next week. Crazy! Usually, we get a car along with the house in an exchange but at the last minute, the couple here were unable to get their insurance company to accept someone from another country so we had to rent one. Oh, well, it is only money.
Their house is sort of eclectic. It is old and some of the wood floors are getting pretty thin and then there is a sauna in the downstairs bathroom. The rooms are quite large, including high ceilings, and it has two kitchens, one is for the general cooking and the other appears to be sort of a utility room for canning and other duties, including the cleaning area for dishes and clothes. The bedroom upstairs has a view of the River Tay and has large windows.
Katriona did take me out to the Sainsbury store so we could put in some basic stores for the start of our stay. We ate in with Katronia who had provided a quiche that was made for her by friends, along with a salad and we provided some chicken from our shopping.
I got up early to catch the train to Edinburgh. Katriona dropped me off at the train station in Dundee and I picked up my ticket along with some information regarding the British Open train connections. The train made only one stop in the St. Andrews area and then went straight on to the Haymarket where I caught the bus to the airport. I located the rental car area but was informed that I was too early to get a car. I was scheduled for 1pm and it was 11:45pm. So I asked around at other rental companies if they had any cars available. I guess the stress of travel and the fact that we were not adequately informed that we had 6pm as a deadline and would lose our agreement and hence our car, had put me near an edge. No one had automatics, no surprise, and I did see a lot of golf bags so I sat and waited for the Enterprise people to provide the car. It did appear to be magic as someone else came in at 12:50 pm for a car, and I was called forward to get the car. I got in the auto and drove back to Dundee in about and hour and ten minutes. Fortunately, I had paid attention during our trip the day before so I was able to return without incident.
Sheila and I did go to Marks & Spencer for some food, as I did not have anything to eat. The store was located in a shopping area and I had been interested in checking out the Scott's Meat Market. I was under-impressed with the deli selections, but the meats section was worth considering. Here is a photo of a Kilt Rental store in case you need a kilt!
Sheila and I had a good dinner, she had grilled salmon and I had the Special Lasagna. The food was tasty and service was good. We left for the pub area in anticipation of the music. It was already crowded when we got there, but a couple, local to Dundee, offered to share their booth with us. The musicians were great, sitting around a table and playing one song after another.
We went down to Discovery Point down by the River Tay and got some information about what to see in Dundee (which isn't much, but....) Went to the Scot Rail Station and picked up train tickets for the 6 of us to go to St. Andrews this Wednesday. The British Open starts on Thursday and Dave and Skip are going to a Practice Day and Catherine and the boys and I will go into St. Andrews. Because of the British Open you can't drive to St. Andrews because there are thousands of people so you take the train and then a shuttle - we will see... We went the Leisure Center to check out the water classes and the ones that look like they would work for Sheila are at night, which is not convenient.
We drove to Pitlochry which is up in the hills of the highlands. It is a very cute town and as we were waling it and we looked at a restaurant across the street and Skip said, "We have been here before - we ate at that restaurant!' As soon as he said it, we remembered we must have stopped here when we were last in Scotland in 2006 and drove from St. Andrews' to Inverness, stopping off for lunch in Pitlochry.
The weather was wet the entire day and never let up until the evening. We made reservations for the Blue Marlin Restaurant in Monifieth another recommendation that Paul and Ute made. When we arrived we remembered their comment about not being put off by the front. It looked like a small market and we we entered it was very bright and welcoming. We reviewed the menu and I decided to have one of the specials Monk Fish wrapped in pancetta on fettuccine with peppercorn sauce, along with a Manchego cheese salad with an orange and honey dressing. Sheila ordered the Bouillabaisse with a side salad. The meal was very good and was well presented. This was indeed a great recommendation and close by.
We had a easy morning with the skies blue and bright. After a enjoyable breakfast we went out for a walk in the neighborhood. We walked to Dawson Park a two block walk. The park is very large and had a listing of activities: football, rugby, American Football, basketball, cricket, lawn bowling. It included a garden center and children's play area. When we first walked into the park it was hard to imagine the enormity of the park. The walk was a great way to walk off some of the fine meals we have had the last few days.
Catherine, Dave, Ryan and Connor arrived in the afternoon, having driven from Cobham at 5:30am. The drove through the lake country and told us that it was a treat to see it after they had heard so many recommendations addressing the beauty of the area. They did stop in Falkirk to ride on the Falkirk Wheel and have a lunch there. Connor found the game room here and he and Dave had a pool match soon after arriving.
The afternoon was spent talking and watching the Scottish Open and on to the World Cup! The boys and I wanted Spain to win and Skip, Dave and Catherine wanted Holland! Yeah Spain! We discussed the referee who is a policeman from England and all of the fouls and drama that goes on in a football match. It was fun and because it went into 30 minutes of overtime, it was late and we all went to bed.
I (Sheila writing) woke up and Skip wished me a Happy Birthday! I didn't remember right away ... I guess there is nothing terribly exciting about being 69! Skip went to exchange the car for an automatic; Catherine, the boys and I went for a walk to town and to the River Tay, while Dave worked from the house.
For lunch, we drove to Carnoustie which is the toughest golf course in the world. The links don't look like much from the car so we will have to take the announcers of the Scottish Open's word for this. There didn't look like many places to eat, so we drove on to Arbroath a few miles north. We found a decent looking pub called Brew House and Sheila had Cullen Skink (sounds delicious, huh?) It was a fish chowder with Smokie and prawns (we call them Bay shrimp) and it was delicious! Catherine had Arbroath Smokie which is smoked haddock in the traditional way (whatever that means). She loved it. Skip had Fish and Chips dipped in batter, Connor had the child's portion of Fish and Chips in bread crumbs, Ryan and Dave both had hamburgers.
We then drove home to start working on my birthday dinner. The boys played pool in the upstairs game room. This house is perfect for kids
Roasted lamb, ala the Rayburn cooker with potatoes, asparagus with a special dressing (pancetta, manchego cheese, lemon zest, parsley), cake and ice cream. It was very tasty and home cooked. Sheila opened her gifts from Catherine, Dave, Ryan and Connor - a bottle of Balvenie Scotch and a Wimbledon Towel that they bought at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. It was a fun evening for all.
I played a round of golf at Caird Park, one of the two public courses sponsored by the City of Dundee. It is a nice track (Skip says that golfers call golf courses tracks) and I enjoyed the walk. The starter shack is where you pay for the round but, as I found out, the trolleys and buggies are obtained through the Golf Club. One of the gentlemen from the club was able to provide me with a pull trolley at no cost. I payed for the round which was 18 pounds and the club member informed that I should have held out, last week he was able to get him down to 10. It is the only course that the flags were attached to bamboo shafts. The 5th hole was an interesting hole because as I looked at the flag it appeared that the green dropped off severely at the far side. When I got to the hole it was a short flag which had been broken so the flag was an inch above the green.
Dave, Catherine, Ryan and Connor made a trip to Edinburgh for the day. Sheila and I decided that we would go north to Aberdeen. I had read some information about the city and was intrigued about going there. We took the fast route and arrived in about an hour. It took us a while to find parking and once we had accomplished that it was off to the information center.
One of Dave's ancestors it from a small town called Benvie and they stopped there on their way back to the house.
Dinner was an on your own affair, all of us having late lunches and numerous leftovers in the frig.
This was the day to head to St. Andrews for the British Open, Dave, Skip, Ryan and Connor and to tour the town, Sheila and Catherine. The weather was gray and misty as we left for the train station. When we arrived at the Leuchars station the mist had begun to be a more regular rain fall. The Shuttle Bus to St. Andrews was packed with people headed to the Open and it was hard to see out of the windows because they were fogged over. When we arrived at the Open area the wind had picked up and the rain fell steadily.
Catherine and I headed into the town. By the time we walked up to it, we were soaked and we ducked into a cafe and had tea, a latte and scones. We walked down to the St. Andrews' Cathedral ruins.
Dave, Ryan, Connor and I braved the rain and wind and walked the course on the 15th, 16th, 17th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and the famed 18th. The wind was so strong that if I had been on roller blades, I could have made the trek in 1/3 the time. The rain came at almost right angles. We did stop at the Open Golf shop to pick up a few items. We walked across the 18th fairway and got pictures of the Champion's bridge
Dave and I agreed that a round of golf this morning was not worth in the rainy weather. We had done very well yesterday, but two days in a row was just too much. We did get to watch the first round of the British Open. The TV coverage on BBC 1 was advertisement free and very helpful regarding the play, areas of the course which would be problematic and the changing weather conditions. It was really special having walked most of the holes of the course the day before and seeing for ourselves what the pros would face as the played their rounds. Also, it was nice to follow some of the players we got to see on the last practice day. Ryan and Connor have enjoyed watching videos and playing pool in the game room.
The weather broke up for a while and we all got in the Mishoes car and went to see the Scone (pronounced Ski-oone) Palace, which is near Perth. The grounds were spectacular. When we went to pay for our entrance a charming and talkative gentleman welcomed us along with asking where we were from and ensuring us that there was much to see and do. It was almost all we could do to be polite and say thank you, because even as we made movement toward the grounds he carried on about things to see. And the first thing that Ryan and Connor spotted was a white peacock.
The furniture, paintings and rooms were all very interesting and the library, while having some books, displayed numerous china sets in the original book cases. We watched a video which explained that the palace was the location for crowning forty two kings of Scotland and we viewed the Destiny Stone which had been taken to Westminster Abbey and a replica was placed in front of the chapel on the grounds of the Scone Palace.
We went to the Fisherman's Tavern for dinner and Catherine and Dave stayed to listen to the local musicians who play on Thursday nights.
Dave, Catherine, Ryan and Connor drove off this morning. The quiet was sort of unnerving at first and the shift in the pace was difficult to adjust to. The weather was inclement and not very encouraging. We spent the morning doing wash and checking out what stores we have and what we will need to purchase. We watched the British Open most of the day and decided to call to get a reservation for dinner at Ostlers Close Restaurant in Cupar. The restaurant was a recommendation from Chip Gow. Sheila called and the woman that answered was uncertain because they were booked, however, she had been trying to confirm with one of the people who had booked and she had not had a confirmation from them. Sheila asked if their was an opening could she call back and she gave her our cell phone number. Evidently, the British Open had impacted her business and she was attempting to assist those who were were interested in their menu. Sheila and I agreed that we would get changed for dinner and head over to Cupar around 6:15 pm and see if we could be able to get a table. We called her when we arrived in Cupar, which was only a half hour from Broughty Ferry. When Sheila told her we were there, she said to come in and she would show us the table that she might be able to squeeze us into before the party of 10 arrived at 8:15. We said we would rather eat under those conditions than not eat there at all because she was totally booked while we are here. And we were hoping the party that she couldn't reach might not show up and then we wouldn't have to rush. Well, they did show up and we had a wonderful dinner anyway! For starters, Sheila had scallops with a wee mound of risotto and Skip had monk fish with crab and a vegetable compote. Sheila had lamb and I had beef and both had vegetables and were amazing and delicious.
We started off being very slow. It was still strange to have the house still so empty. After watching the Open for a while, we decided to go to the Falkland Palace about 45 minutes away. The town of Falkland was darling
Driving there and when we were driving to Cupar the night before, we had seen a sign saying Belmerino Abbey, so we decided to stop on our way home. After driving for 3 miles on very small roads in farm country, we found it. It was founded in 1227 to 1229 by Cistercian Monks.
Sheila went for a walk up to Dawson Park while Skip played golf at Camperdown in Dundee. The golf course was a recommendation of Bruce Wilomett, the pro at Mcininis Park. I was able to play by myself and enjoyed the course which was very challenging. On the 12th hole I had to wait for a twosome, which I nearly missed with my fairway shot out of a bunker. When I finished the hole they asked me I wanted to play the last few holes with them. Tom and Keith introduced themselves and we played the 13th through the 18th holes together. Both were fun and I enjoyed finding out about them and their interest in golf. They were particularly helpful in describing the holes ahead and we enjoyed our conversations as we played. At the end of the round, Tom asked me how much it cost for my round of golf and I told him 35 pounds. He told me that he had a coupon for Camperdown and if I was interested to meet him and Keith tomorrow morning for a round that would cost me just 10 pounds and I agreed with the 8:06 am tee time At noon, the Open was on and we watched as it was the final day and it was fun to watch. We went to dinner at the Kittiwake, a "Traditional Country Pub." It was a nice pub, very clean. Sheila had salmon and Skip had the haddock and, sadly, both were a little over cooked. The service was good and the single malt that Sheila had did not cost as much as it would at home!
Skip went off to play golf again at Camperdown with the same men as he played with yesterday. Sheila went on a walk, a little further this time.
I met Tom and Keith in the golf car park and we teed off on time. Both of them were very gracious and reflected a Scottish hospitality that I have found so often here. Tom was very helpful with some of the areas to play for on the holes and what to avoid. The only problem I had that knowing this did not enable me to correct or direct my shots. We had a big laugh, when I found two fairway bunkers on two consecutive holes. The second one, Tom was very emphatic about missing that bunker because I was in it the day before. I quickly proceeded to hit my tee shot down the left to avoid the bunker on the right and I had a grand arching shot that went clear across the fairway and lipped into the bunker. We all had a big laugh and I asked him that perhaps it was not a good thing for him to advise about any further dangers, as I seemed to be able to accomplish them with ease. It started to rain lightly on about the 13th hole and it became a soaker before we were through. It really was a special treat to get to know about Tom and Keith, two gentlemen who enjoy golf and enjoy having fun. It certainly makes the visit here in Dundee more complete meeting such fine gentlemen, and to have some laughs and OH Sh--'s with.
When I got home I had to take a long hot shower to warm up and dry off. I caught a nice nap and felt alert and refreshed. Sheila and I decided to go to the Kingdom of Fife to check out a fish and chips place that had the billing as being the best fish and chips restaurant in the Scotland. So in the continuing rain we headed to the southern coast of Fife to Anstruther. It was gray and raining almost the entire route. Using our Garmin we got a little off course, winding up near the Anstruther Golf course. We met a gentleman in a Fishery truck in a car park and he told us to follow him back toward the center of town and for us to take the round-a-bout down to the Harbor.
It was great to get back to Dundee, which by this time had little to no rain.
Sheila and I took a longer walk this morning. The traffic has been diverted off of Dundee Road and it impacts us when we are walking north as the traffic is flowing down Strathem road. We did manage to get across and walked through Dawson Park and got to see both the floral greenhouse area and the rock garden we had seen early in our first walk. We did check out a hotel in the area and some of the large homes nearby.
After we did some cleaning in preparation for the end of our stay in Dundee we went to Sainsbury and Marks and Spencer for last minute supplies. The plan this evening to get our packing close to done so we will be able to go to Edinburgh in the late morning.
We decided to take a short trip across the river Tay and check out the down directly across from Broughty Ferry that we can see from our house, and do some follow up sight seeing in the Kingdom of Fife. We we crossed the Tay Bridge we drove northeast to the point of the opening of the river Tay to Tayport a small village. We drove around the small village and went to the dock area and it was apparent that most of the sailing from this cove seemed to be pleasure craft and not fishing like Anstruther. We drove south toward St. Andrews but went through Leuchars and on to Cupar. We had really seen most of what there was to see, golf courses, fields of sheep, fields of cows, fresh fruit crops, castles, etc. On our way back to Dundee we saw a sign for the Mega Maze, which we had seen before, but did not turn off. So off we went on a little excursion. The road was very narrow with very few turn outs for passing cars. What surprised the both of us was the amount of traffic that was coming towards us as we headed to the Maze. Surprised, because, our experience going down the narrow lanes was that we only encountered a few on coming cars and an occasional truck or farm vehicle. This time there were three to five cars on the road coming toward us with limited passing space. We drove probably three miles, but to me the skittish driver it appeared to be at least seven. We can around a bend and noticed a huge estate, and just beyond that a large car park on the right in the field and then an entrance into another on the left with a large store called the Farm Shop & Country Tearoom. Both of us looked at one another and were amazed that the parking area was almost completely filled, probably around 80 cars, in seemingly the middle of nowhere. The store and restaurant were filled with people and then we peered out the back and saw a mass of people in a huge play area for kids and adults, complete with trampolines, pedal go karts, great bouncy pillow, crazy swings, fly line of 30 meters, sand box, spinners and a maze of corn in the shape of a British Spitfire plane and clouds.