Another beautiful day in Scotland. This photograph, which I took at 10am this morning, shows the River Tay and Dunkeld Bridge. The Atholl Arms Hotel is the white building on the right-hand side of the photograph, just beyond the bridge.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
South Queensferry, showing the Hawes Inn. Another beautiful day in Scotland. This April has been the hottest in living memory. One of the best known landmarks in South Queensferry, the Hawes Inn by the shore of the River Forth was a place where young Robert Louis Stevenson spent much of his time. He used to enjoy swimming and canoeing in the waters of the Forth, and would warm up afterwards with a welcome pint at the inn. And it was here that he chose to set the pivotal moment of Kidnapped, when David Balfour meets Captain Hoseason and is tricked into boarding the Covenant.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
To get off the beaten path, and into scenic Scotland, you have to travel on many of the narrower Scottish Roads. These roads are quite safe if driven properly in the correct size of vehicle. On my own tours of Scotland I tend to use the smallest vehicle possible, and yet a vehicle that will still be comfortable for group members. One of the best vehicles for tours with up to nine people is the VW Caravelle.
A few travel tips to help you with your packing for touring Scotland. To enjoy Scotland fully, it is best to be prepared for large daily variations in temperature, and for rain, though it rains far less in Scotland than you might imagine. Scotland's climate is highly unpredictable. Weather patterns shift all the time, and the climate can differ widely in places only a short distance apart. As an experienced Scottish Tour Guide, I'm highly aware of these fluctuations, and that's the main reason for suggesting keeping any itinerary flexible.
Always pack a mixture of warm-weather and cool-weather clothes. A raincoat or parka with a hood is far better than carrying an umbrella. Good walking shoes, already broken-in, are essential. Gloves and a scarf will take up little room in your suitcase, and yet may make all the difference on a cool evening. To pack well for Scotland, you need to grasp the concept of "layering," adding and removing layers of clothing as the climate changes throughout your Tour.
It has been my experience that group members will typically start each day wearing; good shoes or sneakers, casual pants or jeans, a t-shirt, a sweater and a hooded jacket or coat. As the day warms up they will typically dispense with the jacket and sweater, or maybe add the gloves and the scarf if the weather takes a turn for the worst. The secret of packing for an enjoyable vacation is including the right kind of clothing which will keep you comfortable regardless of the weather.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
An old view of kilrenny, a village at the eastern end of Anstruther formerly known as Upper Kilrenny to distinguish it from Nether or Lower Kilrenny which is now known as Cellardyke. A church was founded here in AD 864 by the Celtic Culdees.
Loch Leven Castle is one of the best examples of a fourteenth century keep remaining in Scotland. It stands on an island in Loch leven, and its most famous association is undoubtedly the imprisonment here of Mary Queen of Scots. The Escape of Mary Queen Of Scots.
Edinburgh Castle is haunted by the ghost of a headless drummer who is said to appear only when the castle is about to be besieged. His first recorded appearance was in 1650 just before Cromwell attacked.
Scottish people are called Scots. Things from Scotland are called Scottish, not Scotch, which refers solely to the drink.
James Lind, born Edinburgh, Scotland, October 4, 1716. Established the curative effect of lemon juice on scurvy.
Duncan I was the King of Scotland until he was slain by his cousin, Macbeth, on August 15, 1057. This slaying was the basis for the famous Shakespeare play, "Macbeth."
John Hunter, born East Kilbride, Scotland, February 13, 1728. Wrote The Natural History of the Human Teeth and laid the foundations for dental anatomy and pathology.
The Ghost of Mary Queen of Scots haunts the Talbot Hotel. Her Ghostly figure has been seen walking down the beautiful oak staircase, which was brought from the ruins at Fotheringhay, where she was executed.
Edward I (1272-1307, think "Long Shanks" in Brave Heart, was so wrapped up in his desire to subdue Scotland that on his death bed he extracted a promise from his son: When Scotland was attacked, his body was to go with the army. After Edward died his body was preserved in oiled linen. The promise was kept for the next two hundred years, his large tomb in Westminister Abbey being opened again and again.
Scotch Tape is a result of the 3M company's decision to put adhesive only on the edges of its tape. The tape did not work properly and among the returns was the complaint that the company should take back its "Scotch Tape". A reference to the supposed stinginess of Scots people.
The Scots believed in "Samhanach", a goblin who came out only on Samhain and stole children.
Margaret the wife of Malcolm III (King of Scotland) died on November 16, 1093. She was later declared a saint. To this day in Scotland, the grace cup is called St. Margaret's blessing.
The power of Edgar "the Peaceful" was such that as a sign of his power, Edward was rowed down the River Dee with the oars manned by 8 Kings of tributary kingdoms.
There are three Scottish place names which contain only two letters: Oa, Ae, and Bu.
The Lincoln Monument in Edinburgh's Old Carlton Cemetery was the first statue of an American president to be constructed outside the USA.
Carrying a bagpipe was considered to be as much a crime as carrying arms during the Jacobite rebellion, it was classified an "instrument of war"
In 1969 the U.S. astronaut Alan Bean, an American Scot carried a square metre of the MacBeath (MacBean) tartan with him on his historic Apollo XII space mission to the moon.
The Guinness Book of Records shows that the tallest Scotsman and the tallest "true" giant was Angus Macaskill. Born on the island of Berneray off the island of Harris in 1825, Macaskill was 7ft 9in (2.36m) tall. He was also strong, reputedly able to lift a hundredweight (50kg) with two fingers and hold it at arms length for ten minutes. He died on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, in 1863. A cairn on Berneray commemorates him.
Before the 19th century tartans were not used in the identification of clans in Scotland. The plant badge that the men wore would tell the Scotsman's clan loyalties.
Scotland is the only country in Europe that the Romans could not conquer.
The Scots were the tallest race in Europe, according to the 1909 Census. But the carnage of WW1 changed that. By the 1930s, the average height of men in Scotland had been reduced by 9 inches.
The blue paint that Pictish, and later the Scottish warriors wore in battle was a hallocinogen. It was was the mould from rye.
The first kilts were worn by the Irish not the Scottish. However, many of the Irish moved to Scotland (Alba) and they brought their clothing with them.
Scotland is the only country in the world. that Coca cola is not the best selling soft drink. Irn Bru made by the Barr Company is the best selling soft drink.
Sheep theft is still legally a hangable offence in Scotland.
There are more pipe bands in America than in Scotland.
The word "whisky" or "whiskey" is derived from the Gaelic uisge breatha meaning "water of life."
The original name of Scotland was Caledonia.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Inverkeithing is town and former royal burgh in Fife, Scotland, located on the Firth of Forth. The port town was given burgh status by King David I of Scotland (1124-53) in the 12th century. Inverkeithing is situated only nine miles from Edinburgh Airport. Inverkeithing Parish History.
Dunfermline, the "auld grey town", formerly the capital of Scotland, figures largely in Scottish history mainly in association with its great abbey and royal palace. From earliest times it was a thriving industrial centre with coal mining and later linen weaving; the tradition is maintained today with a variety of new industries. Historical Dunfermline.
Day Tours from Glasgow with itineraries for these tours designed ideally to focus on locations, visitor attractions and matters of particular interest to women. Clients are invited to suggest any favorite locations they care to visit and any specific hobbies or interests that they would wish to indulge during their holiday to be included in the itinerary. Day Tours From Glasgow.
Spent the morning visiting a friend in North Fife, Scotland. The ruins of Ballinbreich Castle can be seen from the road, almost three miles east of Newburgh on a steep bank on the southern shore overhanging the Firth of Tay. The ruins stand on private property but it was originally with the ancient Abernathy family before it passed by marriage to the Earls of Rothes. The Earls of Rothes took from it the title Baron Ballinbreich. Ballinbreich is a Celtic word which comes from of Balan-breac, meaning "town of trout". This is of course a reference to the salmon to be found in the waters there. Tour Fife.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Dear Sandy Stevenson, I went into your web site which gave a large number of Scottish blessings. The one I was looking for however, only had the first line printed unlike the others which were printed in their entirety. It is "Lang may yer lum reek" Can you help me with the other lines or give me a reference as to where I might find it.
Well, the answer is that there are no other lines. "Lang may yer lum reek" means long may we see chimney smoke from your wee cottage, and is used in Scotland to wish a person a long life. I use that phrase all the time in Scotland.
Scotscraig, Tayport, Links and Heath, 6550 yards SSS 72 Par 71, Bobby Jones described the seventh hole at Scotscraigs as "one of the finest par fours I have ever played" In truth he might have applied that accolade to any of a further five or six on this terrific mix of heath and links (despite it being half a mile from the sea). Just fifeteen minutes from the "Home of Golf" Scotscraigs is a highly popular venue, where you stray from the straight and narrow at your peril and pat yourself on the back if you avoid the ubiquitous heather or a host of pot bunkers. If you’re passionate about golf then why not take this year’s golf vacation in Scotland, the home of golf ?
Alexander Balfour, a poet, novelist and miscellaneous writer, was born on the First of March 1767, at Guildie, a small hamlet in the parish of Monikie, Forfarshire. His parents were in humble circumstances; and being a twin, he was supported in early life by a friend of the family, from whom he received such a religious training as exercised a highly beneficial influence on his future character. He was educated at the parish school, and evidenced precocity by essaying composition in his twelfth year. Apprenticed to a weaver, he soon became disgusted with the loom, and returned home to teach a school in his native parish. During the intervals of leisure, he wrote articles for the provincial miscellanies, the British Chronicle newspaper, and The Bee, published by Dr Anderson. In his 26th year, he became clerk to a sail-cloth manufacturer in Arbroath; and, on the death of his employer, soon afterwards, he entered into partnership with his widow. On her death, in 1800, he assumed another partner. As government-contractors for supplying the navy with canvas, the firm rapidly attained prosperity; and Balfour found abundant leisure for prosecuting his literary studies, and maintaining a correspondence with several men of letters in the capital. He had married in 1794; and deeming a country residence more advantageous for his rising family, he removed, in 1814, to Trottick, within two miles of Dundee, where he assumed the management of the branch of a London house, which for many years had been connected with his own firm. This step was lamentably unfortunate; the house, in which he had embarked his fortune, shared in the general commercial disasters of 1815, and was involved in complete bankruptcy. Reduced to a condition of dependance, Balfour accepted the situation of manager of a manufacturing establishment at Balgonie, in Fife. In 1818, he resigned this appointment; and proceeding to Edinburgh, was employed as a clerk in the establishment of Mr Blackwood, the eminent publisher. The close confinement of the counting-house, and the revolution of his fortunes, which pressed heavily upon his mind, were too powerful for his constitution. Symptoms of paralysis began to appear, shortly after his removal to the capital; and in October 1819, he was so entirely prostrated, as to require the use of a wheeled chair. His future career was that of a man of letters. During the interval which elapsed between his commercial reverses and the period of his physical debility, he prepared a novel, which he had early projected, depicting the trials and sufferings of an unbeneficed preacher. This work appeared in 1819, under the title of "Campbell, or the Scottish Probationer," in three volumes; and though published anonymously, soon led to the discovery and reputation of the author. Towards the close of the same year, he edited the poetical works of his late friend, Richard Gall, to which he supplied an elegant biographical preface. His next separate publication was "The Farmer's Three Daughters," a novel in three volumes. In 1820, he published "Contemplation," with other poems, in one volume octavo; which, favourably received by the press, also added considerably to his fame. A third novel from his pen, entitled, "The Smuggler's Cave; or, The Foundling of Glenthorn," appeared in 1823 from the unpropitious Minerva press; it consequently failed to excite much attention. To the Scots Magazine he had long been a contributor; and, on the establishment of Constable's Edinburgh Magazine in its stead, his assistance was secured by Mr Thomas Pringle, the original editor. His articles, contributed to this periodical during the nine years of its existence, contain matter sufficient to fill three octavo volumes: they are on every variety of theme, but especially the manners of Scottish rural life, which he has depicted with singular power. Of his numerous contributions in verse, a series entitled, "Characters omitted in Crabbe's Parish Register," was published separately in 1825; and this production has been acknowledged as the most successful effort of his muse.
In 1827, on the application of Mr Hume, M.P., a treasury donation of one hundred pounds was conferred on Mr Balfour by the premier, Mr Canning, in consideration of his genius. His last novel, "Highland Mary," in four volumes, was published shortly before his death. To the last, he contributed to the periodical publications. He died, after an illness of about two weeks' duration, on the 12th September 1829, in the sixty-third year of his age.
Though confined to his wheel-chair for a period of ten years, and otherwise debarred many of the comforts to which, in more prosperous circumstances, he had been accustomed, Alexander Balfour retained to the close of life his native placidity and gentleness. His countenance wore a perpetual smile. He joined in the amusements of the young, and took delight in the recital of the merry tale and humorous anecdote. His speech, somewhat affected by his complaint, became pleasant from the heartiness of his observations. He was an affectionate husband, and a devoted parent; his habits were strictly temperate, and he was influenced by a devout reverence for religion. A posthumous volume of his writings, under the title of "Weeds and Wild-flowers," was published under the editorial care of Mr D. M. Moir, who has prefixed an interesting memoir. As a lyrical poet, he is not entitled to a first place; his songs are, however, to be remarked for deep and genuine pathos.
The rosebud blushing to the morn,
The sna'-white flower that scents the thorn,
When on thy gentle bosom worn,
Were ne'er sae fair as thee, Mary!
How blest was I, a little while,
To deem that bosom free frae guile;
When, fondly sighing, thou wouldst smile;
Yes, sweetly smile on me, Mary!
Though gear was scant, an' friends were few,
My heart was leal, my love was true;
I blest your e'en of heavenly blue,
That glanced sae saft on me, Mary!
But wealth has won your heart frae me;
Yet I maun ever think of thee;
May a' the bliss that gowd can gie,
For ever wait on thee, Mary!
For me, nae mair on earth I crave,
But that yon drooping willow wave
Its branches o'er my early grave,
Forgot by love, an' thee, Mary!
An' when that hallow'd spot you tread,
Where wild-flowers bloom above my head,
O look not on my grassy bed,
Lest thou shouldst sigh for me, Mary!
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
In July 1802 Thomas Telford was requested by the Lords of the Treasury to make a survey of the interior of the Scottish Highlands the result of which he communicated in his report presented to Parliament in the following year. That report formed the starting point of a system of legislation with reference to the Highlands which extended over many years and had the effect of completely opening up that romantic but rugged district of country and extending to its inhabitants the advantages of improved intercourse with the other parts of the kingdom. Thomas Telford and Dunkeld Bridge.
Queen Victoria more than anyone else popularized the Highlands. She traveled Scotland extensively throughout her reign but no place captured her heart as did the Highland areas of Atholl and Breadalbane. These two ancient areas make up most of Highland Perthshire where mountains, moorlands, forests, lochs, tumbling streams and mighty rivers form some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe. I've tried to capture all of the most memorable areas of her journeys but as she spent an entire 3 weeks at Blair Atholl and Blair Castle alone on just her first visit, her adventures would be impossible to cover in a tour. The Queen kept a diary from the age of 13 chronicling her journeys. What a surprise to come across a book of her diaries and find that I had been walking in her footsteps for years and enjoying so much of the very areas that she talks about most. Queen Victoria's Scottish Highlands.
Dan Brown’s intriguing novel “The Da Vinci Code” has proved a must-read thriller, which has captivated millions around the globe. Now made into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Tom Hanks, the controversial tale is based around a complex code hidden in the art-works of Leonardo da Vinci. The novel features 15th century Rosslyn Chapel, just 7 miles from Edinburgh. The conspiracy theory suggests there are religious relics from the time of Christ, which may well be kept at Rosslyn, under the protection of a secret society similar to the Knights Templar. Da Vinci Code Tour Of Scotland.
The minute you step onto the Island of Orkney, you will notice the clarity of air and beauty of the clouds. Orkney abounds in wildlife, history, and subject matter for art. Birds are aplenty and the air is filled with their sound. The sea will rush up and surprise you and the rainbows will entice you. Art Tours Of Scotland.
This Scottish cycling holiday is available as a seven night self guided level 2 cycling tour through the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park which is Scotland’s first National Park. The region is famous for its fabulous scenery with mountains and Lochs. This biking vacation in Scotland can be adopted for all abilities with some minor adjustments meaning we can cater for beginner and also experienced cyclists. This Scottish cycling holiday is available as a self guided cycle tour. You will be staying in staying in 3 or 4 star hotels and Guest Houses. Cycling Tours Of Scotland.
Posted by Sandy Stevenson at 10:15 PM
A land of myth and mystical beauty. The medieval spires and neo-gothic towers of Glasgow mingle harmoniously with their Italianate and Art Nouveau neighbours. Travel north to the shores of Loch Broom and the rugged beauty of the Inverpolly Nature Reserve: the uniquely sculpted mountains of Assynt rise from Lewisian gneiss; the landscape undulates with hummocky hills and scattered lochans. Ferry to the Isle of Lewis, where the ancient standing stones of Callanish still hold their silent secrets…on the Isle of Harris, the dunes of Seilbost give way to beaches of white sand; in a crofter’s cottage at Luskentyre, the hues of the Hebrides are hand-woven into Harris Tweed. Journey to the Isle of Skye…a fantasy forest of grand pinnacles and jagged rock awaits at Quiraing; a marvelous glacier-carved cirque rests in the heart of the Cuillin Mountains. The isles resonate with the riches of Scottish language and culture. Be enchanted. Highlands and Islands Walking Tour Of Scotland.
Purple and emerald moorland, heather-clad mountains, forests, and sprightly streams where salmon leap offer us a romantic realm for our rambling. And we visit the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, the "Athens of the North," and Stirling, where Mary Queen of Scots was crowned in 1543. We walk alongside shimmering lochs and across hillsides where castles stand silhouetted as reminders of long-ago battles between feuding clans. Trails lead us westward to the fantastically indented coast and to ferries bound for the islands, Kerrera, Mull and Ulva, blue-grey jewels on the horizon. Walking Tours Of Scotland.
These hiking tours are run each day to some of the most scenic mountainous areas of Scotland's Southern Highlands, all within 2.5 hours drive from Edinburgh. All are within the capabilities of moderately fit people and you needn't be an experienced hillwalker. Hiking Tours Of Scotland.
On our open canoe holidays, we explore the magnificent lochs and mountains of Inverpolly in the North West Highlands, one of the most pristine wilderness areas in Scotland. We camp on isolated beaches and islands, ascending the dramatic mountains by hidden routes, a real adventure. Canoe Tours Of Scotland.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Mary Stuart, known to history as Mary, Queen of Scots, was one of the most fascinating and controversial monarchs of 16th century Europe. At one time, she claimed the crowns of four nations - Scotland, France, England and Ireland. Her physical beauty and kind heart were acknowledged even by her enemies, yet she lacked the political skills to rule successfully in Scotland. Her second marriage was unpopular and ended in murder and scandal; her third was even less popular and ended in forced abdication in favor of her infant son. She fled to England in 1568, hoping for the help of her cousin, Elizabeth I. Her presence was dangerous for the English queen, who feared Catholic plotting on Mary's behalf. Mary never met her cousin and remained imprisoned for the next nineteen years. She was executed in 1587, only forty-four years old. By orders of the English government, all of her possessions were burned. In 1603, upon Elizabeth's death, Mary's son became King of England as James I. No Monarch before or since has traveled Scotland as has Mary.
Highlights: Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle, Palace of the Hollyroodhouse, Linlithgow Palace and St. Michaels Parish Church, Stirling Castle, Inchmahome Priory, Dumbarton Castle, Callander, Craigmiller Castle, Lochleven Castle, Falkland and Falkland Palace, Kind Kyttock's Tearoom, Scottish Borders, Traquaire House, Dundrennan Abey, Bolton Castle, Carlisle and Carlisle Castle, Yorkshire Dales, Peterburgh and Peterburgh Cathedral. Fotheringhay Castle, Windsor and Windsor Castle, London City Bus Tour, Westminster Abbey. Mary Queen Of Scots Tour.
One of the most exciting destinations in the world is Scotland, with its gorgeous coast, rugged hills, open sky, its history and culture--they're all the makings of legend. And what better way to experience this grand land than on The Royal Scotsman, a five-star luxury train? This Grand Classic Tour begins at Edinburgh's Waverley Station where you are welcomed aboard to the familiar tune of the bagpipe.
Travel across the magnificent Forth Railway Bridge, one of the first cantilever bridges in the world, visit Strathisla Distillery--home of Chivas Regal--and explore Ballindalloch, one of Scotland's most romantic castles. The sheer luxury of the train itself is overwhelming, with its spacious cabins and lovely dining rooms, open-air observation platform and impeccable staff. The food and wine are famous around the world for their tasty perfection. The train takes a maximum of 36 pampered passengers. Train Tour Of Scotland.
Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle, The Witchery, Mary King's Close, Perth and Huntingtower Castle, Pitlochry, Blair Castle, Queens View, Edradour Distillery, Glamis Castle, Arbroath Abbey, Claypotts Castle, Falkland Palace, St. Andrews Castle and Cathedral, Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh Abbey, Jedburgh Abbey, Glasgow, Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis, Glasgow Haunted City Tour, Halloween in Glasgow and more!
Small intimate Ghoulish tour of Edinburgh, Pitlochry, St. Andrews, Angus, Glasgow, and Peebles . This tour is designed to accommodate only 10-12 people for a more personal experience and to allow you to get the most of your Scottish holiday. Keeping the tour size small gives us the opportunity to veer from the beaten track and to take advantage of accommodations, restaurants and sightseeing venues that would not be available to larger groups. We will stay in delightful city and country bed and breakfast accommodations and travel by minibus. Our goal is to show you the real Scots people and some of the wonderful sights to be seen all over this beautiful country. You will not be rushed from venue to venue and we spend as little time on the bus as possible. Tour Haunted Scotland.
This 7/8day tour of sacred Christian sites is led and guided by Jackie Queally who has led tours of early Christian and prehistoric sites since 1999. She is the original tour guide to Rosslyn Chapel and has written four booklets and two guides on this and other historic and sacred aspects of Scottish sites. She has also produced audio files on the ley lines of Scotland, having studied them for many years with experts in that field. Her collaborator and dear friend Ivor is an experienced tour guide in Scotland who organizies the logistical and travel matters for the tours. This combination ensures an exhilarating and not to be forgotten experience. It is the spiritual and magical quality of the sites that will leave you with lasting impressions. The historic and "energetic" elements of the sites are explained to you personally. There a number of significant ley lines you can dowse with pendulums of rods made available to you if you wish to connect at that level. This tour covers many sites that are complimentary to Rosslyn and Jackie can explain why this is so. The sites often stimulate and refresh people in a very deep manner. Tour Sacred Scotland.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Small intimate tour of Edinburgh and the Royal Scottish Highlands limited to 8-10 people in order to provide a more personal experience. In keeping the tour size small we are able to take advantage of accommodation, restaurant and sightseeing options that would not be available to a larger group. With a small tour size we can veer off the main tourist areas and get a real feel for this warm wonderful country. We will not rush you from venue to venue and each tour is designed to spend as little on the minibus as possible. We will stay in delightful and elegant city guest houses and fine country house hotels. Includes all accommodation, breakfast daily, all listed meals, all entrance fees and admissions, all taxes and guided minibus travel.
Features include: Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, Palace of the Holyrood House, Royal Mile Shopping, City Bus Tour of Edinburgh, Dunfermline Palace and Abbey, Falkland Palace, St. Andrews Castle, Cathedral and Old Course, Glamis Castle, Crathes Castle, Craigevar Castle, Balmoral Castle, Glenlivet Distillery, Inverness and Loch Ness, Spean Bridge Woollen Mill, Highland Folk Museum, Pitlochry, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, The Queen's View, Blair Castle, Dunkeld Cathedral, Beatrix Potter Garden, Scone Palace, Balhousie Castle and Blackwatch Museum and much more. Tour Royal Highlands Of Scotland.
From the Grampians to the west coast, the Highlands to the Isles, no stone has been left unturned as you embark on a journey where you will witness from a unique perspective the contrasting lifestyles and scenery that Scotland has to offer. Riding on average 200 miles a day, there is plenty of time to enjoy the many attractions that are on show around the route. With our expert knowledge, we can plan these into your tour. Perhaps you want to visit as many castles or distilleries as possible. We will package them according to your preferences, all you need to do is ask.
Miles: 170 – 230 miles a day.
Time in the saddle: Approx. 5 hours a day. Roads: Mixture of A, B and single track. Optional daily ride outs can be included to extend number of days.
From your start point, you pass from the gentle rolling countryside of Scotland’s central belt, gradually climbing into the breathtaking beauty of the Grampian Mountain Range. You will experience your first taste of Scotland’s Highlands; high peaks, stunning glens, bubbling rivers and sweeping open roads. Take time out to visit the Balmoral Estates, the Highland Home of the Royal Family and pause to take a specially arranged tour around arguably Scotland’s most famous distillery, Glenfiddich, before continuing to your first night stop at the Highlander Inn in the Heart of Speyside.
Heading west, you contour the beautiful Moray coastline before passing the Highland capital, Inverness. A short ride along quiet, sweeping roads takes you to Ullapool, the boarding point for your scenic ferry to the Hebrides. Arriving in Stornoway, route around the whole island, taking in the peaceful, pure and timeless scenery of this oasis of calm before your second night stop in the island’s capital.
The ferry carries you “over the sea to Skye”, alighting you at it’s Northern tip. You will then ride along Skye’s dramatic landscape of harsh coastlines passing spectacular mountains famed for their climbing challenges. Past Dunvegan Castle then onwards in the shadow of the Cuillin hills and, via the Skye Bridge, you will return to the mainland. Ride past Plockton, a hidden gem with its palm tree-lined seafront, before routing to your next stop at Torridon.
A circular route from Torridon takes in the grandeur of the Northern Highlands. Hugging the unspoilt west coast, you will pass secluded bays with golden sands, quaint villages and rugged terrain. Before continuing inland. Our carefully selected route displays the Scottish Highlands in all its glory, whilst allowing you to ride on some of this area’s most scenic and quietest roads. Highlights include the Inverewe Gardens, Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls if Shin. Before riding to the haven of Plockton.
From Plockton you head south, taking in some of Scotland’s best motorcycling roads. Pausing at the picturesque Eilean Donan castle, featured in many films including “Highlander”. You will soon pass the awesome sight of the UK’s highest peak, Ben Nevis. South from Fort William, you will be awestruck by the sheer magnitude of Glen Coe, steeped in bloody history. Then you cross the lonely, wide-open moors of Rannoch on roads that seem to have been custom built for motorcycling, winding your way through Rob Roy country; beautiful glens and stunning lochs; before descending once more into the lowlands finally arriving at your start point.
Minimum Per Person Price: 660 Pound Sterling (GBP)
Maximum Per Person Price: 780 Pound Sterling (GBP)
Airfare is not included in the tour price. Ferry fares and motorcycle hire or travel insurance are not included in the price. Motor Cycle Tours Of Scotland.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The Dupplin Cross is a carved, monumental Pictish stone, which dates from around 820. It was first recorded by Thomas Pennant in 1769, on a hillside in Strathearn, near Forteviot and Dunning. It can be viewed inside St Serf's church in Dunning.
The Croft Moraig stone circle, Perthshire, Scotland, is a megalithic site comprising three concentric stone circles. Croft Moraig translates from the gaelic as the Field of Mary.
Oronsay, also sometimes spelt and pronounced Oransay, is a small island south of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It is linked to Colonsay by a tidal causeway. The island is best known for Oronsay Priory, its 14th century ruined Augustinian priory, probably on the same site as the original 563 building, and the Oronsay Cross, originally carved on Iona.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Sunday, April 08, 2007
With over 6,000 miles of rugged coastline, nowhere in Scotland is more than 45 miles from tidal waters, and seven of the biggest towns and cities are seaports. No wonder then that the sea has shaped Scotland and in turn how the Scots have helped to shape maritime history, trade and communications. Scots and the Sea is a unique and compelling account of a small, sparsely populated country's relationship with the most powerful force on earth. It is a celebration of the courage and endurance of fishermen and their families, the selfless bravery of lifeboat volunteers and the individual brilliance of leaders like Admiral Cochrane, who helped establish free nations across the globe. The illicit activities of scoundrels like Captain Kidd also provide a taste of the darker side of the story. Scotland's proud maritime tradition is traced through this volume, which examines the development of trade, the founding of a Scottish merchant navy and the pressures towards Union with England. It explores ports, harbours and shipyards, and outlines the vital role Scotland has played in shipbuilding and marine engineering - from the galleys and longships of early history to clippers, steamships, ocean liners, hovercraft and oil rigs. Also recounted are the exploits and achievements of Scots in all these fields, including those of James Watt, William Symington, Henry Bell and Robert Stevenson. Finally it takes a look into the future, where Scottish research into wave and tidal power could become vital in providing a source of sustainable energy. Over the years, many Scots have made their living and their fortune from the sea, others have lost their lives to it,nScots and the Sea is a tribute to all of them. Scots and the Sea: A Nation's Lifeblood.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
A beautiful day in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. Spent the day in my hometown of Anstruther, watching Anstruther Lifeboat on exercise. The Anstruther Lifeboat Station was founded in 1865, and the present boat is a 12 metre Mersey Class Fast Carriage Boat called The Kingdom of Fife. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a Registered Charity relying entirely on Voluntary Contributions, so please visit the Anstruther Lifeboat Station and buy something from the shop. Tour Anstruther.
One hundred years ago, the first tentative steps to introduce motive power into the fleet of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution were taken when a small petrol engine was fitted to a pulling lifeboat. Since those early days, when motor lifeboats were small open craft with single engines, the RNLI has come a long way. Modern lifeboats are now complex and technologically advanced craft providing the skilled and highly-trained volunteer lifeboat crews with a sophisticated rescue tool. This unique book celebrates a century of RNLI motor lifeboats and includes details of every one, with descriptions of each class. RNLI Motor Lifeboats: A Century of Motor Life Boats.
Sometime after 1948, a collection of 39 photographs was borrowed from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's London headquarters by the American explorer, writer and film-maker, Amos Burg, in all probability for a National Geographic article that was never published. These photographs illustrated the RNLI's history from the 1920s to the end of the Second World War, an era which proved to be one of the RNLI's busiest times as crews around the country repeatedly answered calls to wartime casualties. RNLI wartime records are scarce, so photographs in this collection are of special value. The collection includes pictures of Henry Blogg, probably the most famous lifeboat man of all time, and of one of his Gold Medal-winning rescues. The photos were discovered by Charles Campbell, among piles of paperwork in a shed in the grounds of Burg's house. Each photo had the words 'please return to the RNLI' stamped on the back, so that is exactly what Campbell did, personally delivering them to the RNLI headquarters in Poole 55 years after Burg took them. Each photograph from the 'lost' collection comprises an individual chapter, supported by a narrative description of the rescue depicted. Lost Photographs of the RNLI.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Bridge of Teith, River Teith, Doune, Scotland, is a fine two arched bridge, later widened, but first built in 1535 by Robert Spittal, the Stirling tailor of James IV's widow, Margaret Tudor. Photographs from a Tour of Doune.
St Monans is a town in the East Neuk of Fife named after the legendary saint Monan. Situated close to Anstruther, and Pittenweem, this small picturesque fishing community rests on a hill overlooking the Firth of Forth Estuary, with views over to North Berwick, the Bass Rock and the Isle of May. St Monans contains many historical buildings, most notably the now defunct Windmill that once powered a salt-panning industry, and a 14th century church that sits on the jagged cliffs above the water on the western side. St Monans once had a thriving fishing fleet, now long gone. Pittenweem Parish History.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Dunning Parish Church, Perthshire, Scotland, is the largest of the Stewartry churches. Of plain gothic style, the church’s foundation stone was laid in 1908 and building was completed in 1911.
Ardoch Parish Church, Braco, Perthshire, Scotland, opened for worship in 1781 as a chapel of ease, the church was originally a rectangular building. The bellcote was added in 1836 and a chancel built on the east end by William Simpson of Stirling in 1890.
Heart of Glasgow is still regarded as the quintessential book on Glasgow. It stays strictly within the bounds of what has always been referred to as 'the City', that is the area resembling a cross and consisting of the High Street from as far north as the cathedral down to Bridgegate on the Clyde with the east-west thoroughfare stretching across the High Street through the Trongate and down what was to become Argyle Street. Here, and in the surrounding closes, courts, backlands, feus and glebes all human life was to be found. Jack House's seminal work is presented in the form of a tour ensuring that it will appeal to Glaswegians and visitors alike. On it he introduces the reader to many places, some familiar, some not so, and sadly today, many now long gone. This all acts as a wonderful counterpoint to foreword writer Jack Maclean's Glasgow of today. Since Jack House first wrote this book the city has changed dramatically but within the heart of it, change has been less obvious and the medieval layout of the city still remains. These are the streets that Jack takes the reader through in a book which is neither guide, nor formal history, but something in between the two. It is a journey every visitor to Glasgow should take. The Heart of Glasgow.
The Literary Traveller in Edinburgh is the first comprehensive, fully illustrated, literary sightseeing guide for natives and visitors alike. Easy to use and easy to read in its attractive format, it is the essential guide for all bookworms and literary pilgrims. For centuries, Edinburgh has been home, inspiration and muse to writers. Robert Louis Stevenson, Muriel Spark, Sir Walter Scott and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were born in the city. John Buchan, J.M. Barrie and Robert Burns lived there. Visiting literati who praised and condemned it include Dickens, Defoe, Tennyson, Thackeray, Dr Johnson and George Eliot, while poets Robert Garioch, Sorley Maclean, Norman MacCaig, Alan Bold and Hugh MacDiarmid drank Edinburgh pubs dry in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. The city has inspired classic and controversial works of literature such as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Regeneration and the novels of Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. Edinburgh's main railway terminus, Waverley, was named after the novel by Sir Walter Scott, and how many other cities can boast a memorial to a native author that dominates its skyline as does the Scott Monument on Princes Street. Literary Traveller in Edinburgh: A Bookworm's Sightseeing Guide to the World's First City of Literature.