Thursday, July 30, 2015

Scotland Photos

 So here are some of the photos from the Scotland trip - see the itinerary in the previous post for the details of where we where and when.

This first one of Damon is at the Highland Park Distillery in the tasting room, getting his limited edition bottle of Scotch - doesn't he look so proud!

The next shot of Damon - please note he has his whiskey travel glass around his neck so he does not drop it or lose it - is on our Dufftown Speyside whiskey walk. It is about a 2.5 - 3 hour stroll by 9 distilleries. With a wee sample at each.

After that walk we went to the local Royal British Legion for some music. They are all locals that get together every Monday evening to play a variety of music.

The next morning we went out for a short 2-mile county hike to Giant's Chair - the picture of me is on the trail. As you can see the weather was lovely. We actually had really good luck with the weather, yes it rained off and on over the week and a half, but never really hard enough or long enough to spoil any of our plans.

There are lots of sheep and cows all over Scotland, but this was one of only 2 highland cows we saw - they were grazing in a field next to the castle in Dufftown.

Will post some more pictures in a few more days.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The 2015 Scotland Trip Itinerary

So I can remember when and where we were for this vacation.

Tuesday – Wednesday
Flights: Burlington, Philadelphia, London (Heathrow), Edinburgh, Kirkwall

Hildeval B&B, Kirkwall
Loved this place would definitely stay here again.

Orkney Tailor-Made Tours
David was great! Definitely the best way to see all the sites – have a professional guide drive you around and give you all the info and history on the sites.
The places we visited included: 
The Churchill Barriers
The Italian Chapel
Skara Brae
Skaill House
The Ness of Brodgar
The Standing Stones of Stenness
The Ring of Brodgar
The Broch of Gurness
And a tour and lunch at the Orkney Brewery:

Tour and tasting at the Skapa Distillery
Magnus Tour and tasting at the Highland Park Distillery
Walk around and shop in Kirkwall
Bought a necklace by Ola Gorie
Dinner at the Kirkwall hotel – recommend the ‘Pasta Kirkwall’.

John O’Groats Busses and Ferry to travel from Kirkwall to Inverness.
Royal Highland Hotel, Inverness.
A great location – right next to the train station and 2 blocks from the bus station. 
Attended the Inverness highland games – just a short walk down the river Ness to the playing fields. Although they don’t call them ‘Highland Games’ the ticket actually says “Inverness Gala”.

The Jacobite Buss/Boat tour of Lock Ness and Urquhart Castle.

ScotRail to Keith and then a 20 minute taxi to Dufftown.
Highland Spirit B & B
Would totally stay here again. We were in the Architect room. Lovely view of the garden and one of the local distilleries.
Visited and took the tour at the Speyside Cooperage:
Went on the Dufftown Distilleries Walk (Extended tour)
And had dinner at the Stuart Arms
Where Damon and both tried haggis for the first time – Damon loves it!

Based on local recommendations we went over to the local Royal British Legion for some music – it was fabulous! Locals getting together every Monday – they play a variety of music. There were at least 10 fiddles and 5 accordions along with a number of other instruments!

A shopping visit to the Dufftown Whiskey Shop:
And then a morning hike out to Giant’s Chair
I love these types of walks/hikes – this one along a river and one of the Distilleries.
Taxi to Keith, Scotrail train to Endinburgh (via Aberdeen)
Grassmarket Hotel, Edinburgh
Great location – just south of the Royal Mile and just down a small hill down from the Scotland National Library. A few restaurants and local shops conveniently on the same area.
Went to the tourist information center and got tickets for the next day.

Tour of Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Jazz Festival – concert at the Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile to see Nick Pride and the Pimptones:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Strolling around the Royal Mile, and hitting all the little tourist gift shops.
Bought tweeds at Walker-Slater:

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, for the M. C. Escher and Roy Lichtenstein exhibits.
Strolling around Princes Street, packing up for the trip home.
Bought Hats at Fabhatrix -

Flights: Edinburgh, London (Heathrow), Philadelphia, Burlington