Wild in scotland

Trip Start Feb 18, 2004
Trip End Dec 05, 2005

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Monday, March 1, 2004

I left York and took the train up to Edinburgh last Tuesday. The "old town" part of the city is cool with lots of older buildings and, of course, the castle. I broke down and paid the US$20 to get in and wander around. Inside there are several exhibits and neat cobblestone streets. Just across the bridge from old town there's a hill with various monuments that overlooks the city that I went to for pics...and later returned at sunset for more pics of the castle.

Edinburgh from monument hill

Wednesday morning I left on the "Wild in Scotland" tour. The driver, Rory, is a proud Scotsman and knows his history well. His driving could use some improvement though. :) He never failed to let us know how much he dislikes McDonald's, Coca-Cola and other big corporations. He has some sort of deep grudge against sheep too. That prompted me to get him a stuffed sheep to hang from the rearview mirror on our last day.

The group I was with was great - 4 South Africans, 2 Kiwis, 1 Aussie, 1 Belgian and a young woman from Poland. Most are actually living and working in London. Having a fun driver and group that got along well made it a wonderful experience. Anyway, we went all around Scotland for 5 days seeing sites like the William Wallace monument (including a stone slab with Mel Gibson as Braveheart carved into it - which the real Scots despise... by the way, it was actually Robert the Bruce who had the nickname "Braveheart"), Isle of Skye, Stalker Castle (from Monty Python), Eilean Donan Castle, the Highlands, various battlefields, Loch Ness and Edbradour Scotch Distillery.

me at Eilean Donan Castle

There was plenty of snow which made the various hikes we did a bit cold, but also added the fun of snowball fights. Saw plenty of blue skies plus had the occasional blizzard-like conditions.

Rory driving in blizzard

I was surprised by how big some of the mountain ranges are in Scotland...they made for good pictures.

tour group at Old Man of Storr rock

We got to see "airy eeland coos" too (hairy highland cows). I ate a lot better while on the tour 'cuz we'd usually stop in town at a pub for lunch and people from the group would cook dinner (while I'm by myself I often just have a snack for breakfast and lunch to save money). We got back into Edinburgh last night and said our goodbyes...hopefully, I'll get to see some of them again in London in a couple weeks. I'm hoping my tours in Ireland will be as fun as this one was.

group on our last night together in Inverness

I left Edinburgh this morning for Glasgow. Glasgow doesn't seem to be too exciting. There's a gothic cathedral and big cemetary, pedestrian shopping area and a few universities, but not much that sets it apart from any other city. Tomorrow I'm off to the Lake District for a couple days and am hoping to relax and see more of the outdoors.
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