17th - 24th May
24.05.2007 -17 °C
We weren't far wrong in our prediction at cost to get to Gatwick Airport from hotel. Taxi to Victoria Station was £15. Train to Gatwick was £14.95 each. Taxi tried to drive us to Gatwick with a special offer of £70!!
At the airport there was a lot of security. More so than Hong Kong!! We were both only allowed 1 bag each on the plane so we had to do some quick thinking as we both had 2 each of hand luggage. Through security check everyone was made to take their shoes off.
Flight was good and quick to Edinburgh. On arrival we caught a shuttle bus to train station in the city and then a taxi to our B.B. It was a nice place only minus was we were upstairs and taking bags up a bit of a chore! We were a 2km walk to city centre or there was a bus stop right out front. After settling in we chose to walk back to the city to explore on foot even if it was sprinkling with rain-we are use to it now.
We walked up and down the three main streets and then stopped and had a drink in a bar as it was now around 7:00. It does not get dark until 10:00 so there is plenty of light to do things. Shops still close at 5:30.
After our drink we began looking for somewhere to eat. After lots of walking and seeing more of the city we began to head back to the B.B. as we new there was a pub around the corner. On the way we came across an Italian restaurant so stopped there. A good choice. We had a great meal. When we came out it had been raining so we made a quick dash home.
Surprise Surprise on waking we discovered it was still raining. (18/5/07) Had a cooked breakfast and met a nice couple from Orregan-America.
(Me now..) Day two was aimed at viewing Edinburgh and the Castle.
Again we walked into the city centre and boarded the hop-on-hop off bus for a tour of the city. I must say that it is a very impressive city and we both especially loved the old section. The rain did hold off for awhile, but when it decided to fall, we just moved downstairs, going back up top when the sun came out. We alighted the second time around, at the Castle, and spent an enjoyable number of hours viewing a most marvellous place, full of history etc. (Sandy listened to the commentary via audio and related to me).Afterwards we walked the "royal mile" to the palace, but unfortunately it was closed due to "Gov Gen in residence until 1/6".
Across the road is the new modern Scottish Parliament buildings, so we went and viewed, very abstract design. We then waited for a bus which never turned up so as it started to rain heavily, called into a pub for some refreshments. (Every second building was a pub..luv the place).
When the rained ceased we headed back to the B&B stopping for a "Thai" on the way.
19th...After another delicious b`fast we headed off to collect the rental car. Queue took 2 hours, so glad we went early. Back to B&B to collect luggage then headed off to St Andrews.
Trip semi uneventful, arriving early afternoon. Walked the streets, then called in at the info`centre re accom. Obtained a B&B just a few metres from the i`centre in the heart of St A. Lovely B&B £40-00pn each. Toured the town, visited the Old Club House, then had a lovely meal and turned in.
20th...Breakfast provided in the room(fresh fruit/perc coffee/toast etc), then walked amongst the golf courses and undertook the "18 putting holes". I think more practice is req before getting on the course.
We headed off for Loch Ness (Drumnadrochit), via "Perth and Kinross, Fort william and Spean Bridge." Absolutely spectacular scenery, from baron mountains, to Lochs surrounded by forests, then mountains still with snow peaks and ice still embedded in the craigs. A most enjoyable experience. One funny experience along the way, in the middle of nowhere was a vehicle approaching with siren and lights flashing, which turned out to be a bomb disposal unit. We have experienced the normal vehicles with sirens blazing, but never a bomb unit.
We arrived at Drumnadrochit (prev booked accom for two nights)and walked around the small village then enjoyed a meal at a semi pub/rest as the local hotel was booked. The accom was very good, with the manager extremely helpful, and a lovely cooked b`fast each morning.
21st...We headed off for a recommended walk through the woods, to access Loch Ness, and "touch the water". Afterwards we headed off to tour, Urquardt castle and "Glen Affric". The drive through "Glen A" was spectacular, viewing magnificent waterfalls and Lochs & forests. We undertook some "walks", which certainly tested our stamina. It was refreshing to get out of the car and walk again, as we had undertaken so much prior to the previous few days.
After we drove down and visited Fort Augustus, hoping to find a !`net cafe along the way. (Did not happen).
Enjoyed a tour around the village, viewed the canal system, then had a drink and headed back to Drum`it. Enjoyed a meal at the hotel to finish a most enjoyable day.
22nd...Enjoyed another w`ful b`fast then headed off for the Isle of Skye.
We stopped at a beautiful small village/port (Plonkton). Absolutely picturesque, called into the local gallery, local craft fair, then onto tour the island.
Again absolutely magnificent, unbelievable scenery. Waterfalls abound, mist covering the mountains, rain, sunshine, ice covered mountains and sheep. (No fences, just move them off the road if you hit one!! Only jok`n). A wonderful experience, breathtaking. We toured to the top, 2 Staffin", then turned around and headed back. We spent the night at Kyleakin, nothing much happens at Kyleakin.
23rd...Breakfast and then off to Minard Castle, stopping along the way at Nevis Range to undertake a ride on the cablecar to the top of the mountains. It was a fifteen minute ride there and 15 back again. View was again spectacular, but limited due to low cloud.
Our castle experience was everything that we thought it would be. (No ghosts). We are about out of time, so will elaborate at next update re the castle.
24th...Up with a delicious b`fast and on the road by 8-30 to ensure that we delivered our rental car back at Stranraer by 12-00. After a few anxious moments along the way we arrived about 15 mins late. Hence we are updating and catching the Ferry to Belfast tomoz.