We finally got our rental car today. Now we are free to go where we please.
We had a beautiful drive through Glencoe today. That is until the rain finally caught up to us.
We even found a bagpiper along the road that let us take some photos of him.
The photo above is of a very cool looking old dam. The rain was coming down pretty hard at this point but we couldn’t resist stopping to see it up close.
The B&B we are at is pretty unique as well. It’s from the 17th century. It has a very cute look and feel.
There aren’t many better ways I can describe driving on the left for the first time. Perhaps “nerve-racking” or “scared” offer ample descriptions as well.
We picked up the hoopty in Glasgow.
There were roundabouts everywhere in the city. Entering them wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated. Instead, the difficult part was figuring out the proper exit to take.
After a couple misses, turn-arounds and try-agains, we got to the country side.
Again, my calculations for difficulties proved incorrect. I figured the city would be the tougher task than the country. Rather, it was the narrow roads in the highlands (they call these highways?) that at times scared the poop out of me.
Literally, every time a big truck passed by, I flinched and held my breath. They’d often be over the center line (some stretches of road didn’t even have a center line) forcing me further to the shoulder.
A couple wheel scrapes and curb hops are all I endured. It was odd. At times scary. But, this is the joy of travel: experiencing differences.
Next time, we go to a country that drives on the right side of the road!
The dramatic and picturesque Isle of Skye was our destination for the day.
I’d be remiss not to mention that, while the gorgeous scenery and fun of vacation consumed the bulk of the day, the anniversary of the September 11th attacks were still on our minds. No castles, sheep or photo opps can block that from our minds.
That said, we did what Americans do best. We pressed on and lived our lives, enjoying the freedoms and amazing financial blessings we enjoy every day.
On the way out to the island, we passed Eilean Donan. An extremely small island that holds a gorgeous castle.
This castle dates back centuries, having been defended against clans, Vikings and the English. It eventually was sacked and partially destroyed. Renovation was done in the early 1900s to return it to its beautiful state.
On to Skye. The weather was insane. As we drove around for hours, we had rain, sun breaks, rain, sun breaks and so on. This literally went on all day. The folks at our B&B gave us this head up, so of we found an area we wanted to photograph and it was raining — we’d pull over and wait.
You’ve heard the phrase in Seattle: If you don’t like the weather — wait 10 minutes. This phrase was clearly stolen from Scotland.
See below for lots of pics!
And then the rainbows. So, so many rainbows. The weather was almost a impressive as the high peaks, grassy slopes and whistling rocks near Kilt Rock.
Woolley-Bully let us get right up in his grill for photos. These guys were all over.
Today we said goodbye to our fabulous B&B hosts, Neville and Sonia. They were two of the nicest people we’ve met on this trip. Granted we paid them to be nice to us but they did go out of their way to make us feel at home in their place.
Sonia’s pancakes were the best! I had them two mornings in a row.
It was about 9:45 when we left the B&B and headed out of town towards Loch Ness to track down the mysterious creature from the lake. With some amazing luck and great timing we spotted Nessie right away!
We also stopped by Tulloch Castle and The MacPherson Clan Museum. Alex has some family history there and we were hoping to find out a little more about his family at these two places. Sadly we didn’t learn much and left empty handed.
Our last stop of the drive was at the Wallce Monument. It was closed when we got there so we could not go inside but we did get some neat shots of the outside.
Tomorrow we will be touring Edinburgh on foot and seeing some more amazing sites.
TOTAL STEPS WALKED 7,076
TOTAL MILES 2.79
Today we walked around Edinburgh. There were many sites to see and miles of roads to walk down.
We started off near Edinburgh Castle and walked down the royal mile. It was filled with many old buildings and lots and I mean LOTS of touristy souvenir shops. Most carrying pretty much the same old stuff. Scarves and kilts. Scarves and kilts.. etc.
The churches were amazing. Mammoth compared to our churches back home. The stained glass windows were so colorful.
The wind was super strong today, reports were up to 40 mph gusts. And boy we sure felt those gusts. We’ve sure seen the weather change from summer to fall on this trip. Back in Bristol it was very warm. T-Shirt weather, but in Scotland it’s more like super warm jacket weather. Luckily it did not rain today, we just had to deal with the wind. I’ll take wind over rain any day though.
We found s great pub today called Tolbooth Tavern. We had a beer and hung out for a bit to rest our tired feet.
TOTAL STEPS WALKED 19,103
TOTAL MILES 7.53
We’ve spent the better part of the morning today geocaching around Edinburgh.
Here’s a couple photos of our finds.
So as the day went on we had a little trouble finding wifi and only ended up with two finds today. But hey, at least we can check geocaching in Scotland off of our lists.
We spent another day here in Edinburgh walking aimlessly about.
It was much sunnier today but still quite windy.
We found the Hard Rock Cafe and had a bite to eat with a side of beer.
We also found a couple new places to visit such as St. Andrews Square, where we were unable to find our third geocache attempt and an ice cream shop, where we stopped for a soft serve cone.
Tomorrow we head out to Hadrians Wall and leave this big busy city behind. It’s been nice to visit but I think 2 full days here was a little too long.
TOTAL STEPS WALKED 22,576
TOTAL MILES 8.90
After three nights in the hustle and bustle of Scotland’s capital, it was time to head south back toward and into England.
The morning drive included a nice stop in the borders for a fun photo opp.
Now back in England, we headed toward Hadrian’s Wall. Did you know it’s American English to say toward and UK English to say towards? I already knew that before this trip, by the way. Gabby probably taught me that.
The way’s length was quite amazing as you’d see long stretches of it as you drive between sights.
We stopped at Housestead’s Fort, which has the best preserved fort remnants. Still, it’s all foundation and rubble. Your imagination and help from recreation artists are required just as they are for most of the Roman Forum.
It’s amazing to think about the extended reach of the Roman Empire at its peak.
After poking about the wall for a couple hours, it was off to Durham. Here, there was of course a well known cathedral. It was stunning inside with it’s high bell tower, arched ceiling and stained glass depictions of biblical events.
The town itself was neat but overflowing with drunkards on a Saturday evening. I’d advise hitting this place during the week.
That’s it for now. Two nights in York upcoming then we’re off to finish the trip with three nights in London.