Castles of Scotland

Trip Start May 10, 2012
Trip End Dec 03, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 152:  We got to Edinburgh mid afternoon, checked in and explored for the rest of the day.  We could see Edinburgh Castle from just around the corner of our Hostel which looks absolutely amazing, perched a good 60m above the rest of the city on top of a large pinnacle and still in perfect condition.  We walked through the gardens below the castle to the other end of the main street, saw a few monuments dedicated to some of their famous people and then made our way to Carlton Hill which over looks the city towards the sea.  We also booked a tour for the following day.

Day 153:  Today we got up early and headed to our pickup point for our tour.  This tour included a visit to Loch Lomond, the Trossock National Park and Stirling Castle.  Our first stop was Loch Lomond which is the largest Loch in area in Scotland, we did a short walk here to the lake then up to a viewing area, was really nice but didn't get enough time before we were back on the bus (why I hate tour groups).  We had an early lunch at a small town then headed into the Trossock National Park which is also called the miniature highlands due to the landscape. This place was really beautiful even if we were just driving through it pretty quick, we stopped at another loch called Loch Katherine. Most of the other people took a ferry ride that took them across the loch to the other side and then back again but me and Emma decided to hire some bikes and ride around the banks.  This was definitely the better option, we have been meaning to hire bikes for a while and it was an awesome idea to do it here.  The scenery was amazing and we got plenty of photos (starting to really figure out how to get the best out of the new camera). 

On the way to Stirling Castle we stopped to meet Hamish, Heather and Honey who are the most photographed Highland cows in Scotland and these cows are huge, their coats are really long and covers their entire body and their horns are long and sharp.

We finally got to Stirling Castle and this castle is actually pretty cool, heaps of things to see and took us about 2 hours to explore.  They had information boards in all of the rooms which covered areas from the Kings and Queens rooms, the Great Hall, Guards Barracks and the Dungeons, all of it had been decorated with how the place might have looked without retouching much of the castle itself which remains in very good condition.  By the time we got back it was dark and we called it a night.

Day 154:  Today we walked around the old city and eventually made our way up to Edinburgh Castle, if I had to choose which castle I liked more out of Stirling Castle and this one I probably couldn't as they were both similar in what they showed.  Both were in excellent condition and both kept us interested for a few hours, the only difference was their history, however, Edinburgh Castle did have a lot of exhibitions dedicated to all the wars that the Scottish have fought in from the 1600's until the present day.

After the castle we made our way to a local pub to watch a World Cup qualifying match between Scotland and Wales, the pub was packed and had to wait a couple of hours before we got a table but eventually got one before the game started. The game and atmosphere were really good even if it looked like not many people were really watching it, unfortunately Scotland lost but we had fun.

Day 155: Today we went to the Whisky Brewery which we weren't planning on going to but just came across it and thought that you really have to do one in Scotland, plus I don't mind a whisky once in a while. I was pleasantly surprised with the tour, it was fun, interesting and had things that kept us interested the whole time, it included a short ride that told of how Whisky is made and then we went to a room where a guy told us all about the history of Whisky in Scotland and from which regions certain Whisky is produced and then we got to try some. Normally I like and drink my whisky with a mixer not generally straight from the bottle, it was strong going down and warmed me up but I don't think I could do it all the time. We then entered a room which is has the largest collection of whisky bottles in the world (over 3000) and the oldest was bottled in 1896 and all bottled in different and unique containers with none ever being opened. Rest of the day was spent trying to find a souvenir for Scotland and we finally settled on a set of bagpipes :)
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