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Review: North of Scotland


United Kingdom

Over the sea to Skye

  • By SilverTraveller Martin-Dove

    148 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • Mar 2009
  • Adult family

73 people found this review helpful

Sunday 15 Mar

Rob drove us to Scotland in his new Audi A5 Coupe. We stopped off for lunch in the picturesque market town of Alnwick, which according to Country Life is the best place to live in Britain. After a five-hour journey we arrived at the Kildonan Lodge Hotel in Edinburgh. We got a bus into the city centre and went to the City Art Gallery to look at an exhibition of artworks by Bob Dylan. The most comprehensive and authoritative exhibition of Dylan’s art ever assembled. Later we walked along The Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle stopping at St Giles' cathedral on the way. After a refreshing beer in a traditional Scottish pub, we meandered down to Princess Street and Rose Street looking for a Thai restaurant. We couldn’t find one so ended up eating in a pub on Rose Street.

Monday 16 Mar

After breakfast at the Kildonan Lodge hotel, we got a bus into the city centre. We went first to look round The Museum of Childhood, on The Royal Mile. Described as 'the noisiest museum in the world', the Museum of Childhood is a favourite with adults and children alike. It is a treasure house, crammed full of objects telling of childhood, past and present. We continued down The Royal Mile to Holyroodhouse, where we enjoyed an audio tour. The palace and the abbey were fascinating, with a rich history. After lunch in the restaurant, we walked back up The Royal Mile and visited The National Museum of Scotland, where Rob and I both had a go in formula one racing car. We looked at Greyfriars Bobby’s grave, and had a drink in a Frankenstein themed bar, and then we went to look round Mary King’s Close, hidden deep beneath The Royal Mile. Later we strolled down to Thistle Street and had a Thai meal at the Dusit restaurant. We got a taxi back to our hotel and we played “Who wants to be a millionaire” with the hotel owner.

Tuesday 17 Mar

After breakfast we packed up and set off to Spean Bridge. Our first stop off on the way was at Stirling Castle. We saw some amazing tapestries being woven in the tapestry studio. We also looked round the castle walls, the regimental museum, the Chapel Royal and the Great Hall. Our next stop off point was at Doune castle, a late 14th century stronghold, which was the setting for the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” We stopped at the popular tourist stop, Callandar for lunch at the Mhor fish restaurant, and then we drove on for a few miles to see Hamish, the hairy highland coo! Rob continued driving and we travelled through Glencoe and Fort William to Spean Bridge. We checked into the Old Pines hotel, a four-star hotel set in a backdrop of ancient pine trees. Katy’s brother Rick joined us for dinner.

Wednesday 18 Mar

After breakfast we drove up to see the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, then we went on to the village of Fort Augustus at the south west end of Loch Ness. We walked around a dramatic series of locks on the Caledonian Canal, which steps down to Loch Ness. On the way back to Fort William we decided to take a cable car up the mountain. This is Britain’s only mountain gondola, which allows people to glide effortlessly to 650m up Aonach Mor, just two peaks away from the mighty Ben Nevis! We had lunch at the Snowgoose restaurant, and took a mountain trail to a panoramic viewpoint. The views were simply breathtaking, and this was truly a highpoint of the week, in more ways than one! Later Rob drove us into Fort William, and on to Neptune’s Staircase, the longest staircase lock in the United Kingdom! The views from here of Ben Nevis were amazing! We had dinner at the Old Pines hotel, and after dinner we played a pub trivia game.

Thursday 19 Mar

After breakfast at the Old Pines, we checked out and Rob drove us to the Isle of Skye. The scenery on the way was spectacular, and we made several stops to admire the views. One of our stops was at Eilean Donan Castle, allegedly Scotland’s most romantic castle. The castle was closed to the public, but we were able to walk over the bridge, and around the castle walls. Eilean Donan is now one of the most photographed monuments in Scotland, and a popular venue for weddings and film locations. We drove over the Skye bridge, which opened in 1995 and went to the Broadford hotel, where we had lunch. After lunch we explored Skye in Rob’s car. Our first stop off point was the Talisker distillery, the only distillery on the Misty Isle of Skye. We enjoyed a wee dram and looked round the displays, and Rob bought a bottle of Talisker in the visitors shop. Warmed by our wee drams, we travelled on to Dunvegan castle, the stronghold of the Cheifs of MacLeod for nearly 800 years. We looked around the outside of the castle, and strolled round the castle gardens, through woodland glades, past shimmering pools and burns fed by cascading waterfalls. On the way back to the hotel, we marvelled at the breathtaking views of the mountains and the lochs. In the evening we played pool in the hotel bar, and enjoyed a leisurly dinner followed by Drambuie cocktails.

Friday 20 Mar

After breakfast at the hotel, we walked along the beach to Broadford pier. We saw Curlew, Oystercatcher and Cormorant. Rob then drove us out to Sligachan where we all dunked our faces in the fast flowing river for everlasting youth! We then travelled on to look at Kilt Rock, so named because of the tartan-like patterns in the 105 metre cliffs. We saw a magnificent waterfall and nesting fulmars. Our next stop was at the Storr woodlands, where we hiked up a very steep and rocky incline for a mile or so. We were rewarded with a spectacular, almost lunar landscape, which was truly awe-inspiring. We stayed for a picnic, and were blessed with very mild weather for March. We came down the hill much faster than we went up, and travelled on to Portree for some souvenir shopping and afternoon tea. Portree is the largest town on Skye, and boasts a harbour, fringed by cliffs, with a pier designed by Thomas Telford. Back at the hotel we had dinner, followed by malt whisky. We played knockout whist in the hotel lounge after dinner.

Saturday 21 Mar

After breakfast we packed up and set off for Glasgow. We stopped for a picnic lunch on the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond, which is the largest lake in mainland Britain. In Glasgow we booked into the Kelvingrove hotel, which was only a short stroll away from Scotland’s premier museum and art gallery of the same name. We didn’t have too much time so made a beeline for the controversial “Christ of Saint John of the Cross” by Salvador Dali. In 2006 this famous painting won a poll to decide Scotland’s favourite painting. It is worth £80 million. Katy and I walked back to the hotel through Kelvingrove Park. In the evening, we had a few beers and had a meal at the Thai Siam restaurant.

Sunday 22 Mar

After breakfast at the Kelvingrove, we set off for home. We stopped for a break at Scotch Corner. We arrived home in time to see Rob’s horse Lord Alfred running at Huntingdon. Unfortunately he fell at the second fence. We enjoyed a special Mothers Day meal at home, and played cards till bedtime.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 1 Comment(s)

  • ESW
    over 7 years ago
    I have enjoyed reading your review. It has brought back happy memories of places we have visited in the past.