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Exploring Scotland!

 

What comes to mind when you think of Scotland?

An elderly man in a kilt playing the bagpipe? Scotish whiskey? The Loch ness monster?  

Well, I decided to explore everything that makes Scotland.. well.. Scotish!

Scotland is a picturesque scene of mountains draped in a carpet of greenery, flowing endlessly into the far distance. Huge fresh water lakes surrounds majestic mountains covered in snow and disappears into the grey clouds..

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We decided to rent a car and explore Scotland in two days..

“A bit optimistic there young lady!” was one Scot’s reply when I excitedly told him about our road trip plans.. Well, I’ll have to put it to the test and prove him wrong..

Our road trip started in St Andrews… Ladies will know this place due to the fact that Prince William (who graduated with a masters of arts degree in geography) met his duchess, Kate Middleton (who graduated with a masters degree in art history) in 2003 on campus. St Andrews University is the third oldest English university in the world dating back to 1413!

Golf enthusiasts will know St Andrews as the place where golf started about 1400 AD. Apart from all the golf courses and the famous “Old Course”, this sea side town has some incredible historical landmarks, loads of golf shops and of course pubs.

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West beach (Famous for the opening scenes of the film Chariots of Fire, West Sands extends for almost 2 miles)

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St Andrews Cathedral is a ruined Roman Catholic cathedral in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland which was built in 1158.  The ruins indicate that the building was approximately 119m long, and is the largest church to have been built in Scotland.

From St Andrews we headed up to Inverness, just outside the town is the famous fresh water loch (lake) Ness. Loch Ness is the largest fresh body lake in Britian and reaches a depth of 227m. There are dozens of boat trips taking curious and over excited tourists on the lake all standing with cameras in anticipation to capture a glimpse of Nessie. One, two or three hour cruises takes you around the whole lake and some other historical sites. For our folk who is not to familiar with Nessie, she is a very large aquatic creature resembling something between a dinassaur and horse. First spotted in 565AD and a last recorded sighting in April 2016, makes Nessie a very, very old monster..

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There is an abundance of B&B’s everywhere in Scotland… the one more quant and cosy than the next. We were welcomed by a warm and friendly couple who gave us heaps of advice and served the most delicious Scotish breakfast (with black pudding and all!) Thanks to Gordon and Miranda from GreenLea B&B for the wonderful and welcoming stay!

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From Inverness we headed to the Highlands and to the town of Dornie where the famous Eilean Donan castle is. Many wil regocnise this castle on shortbread tins as well as in the following movies: Bonnie Prince Charlie starring David Niven (1948)
The Master of Ballantreee starring Errol Flynn (1953)
The New Avengers (1976)
Highlander (1986)
Loch Ness (1996)
James Bond – The World is Not Enough (1999)
BBC One Television Idendity (1997 – 2002).

The castle is beautifully preserved with most of its interior and furniture still in tact!  A must visit if you want to experience the midevil times.

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After exploring the castle and quick lunch we headed to the Isle of Skye (apparently a must see when you visit Scotland)! Apart from a few B&B’s and exquisite scenery, mountains, lakes and waterfalls and one small road on the island there is not much hindering this unpolluted place.

The Ferry Pools is one of the most beautiful natural sceneries in an area called Glen Brittle, located in a national park (free access yay!) one can ponder and wonder around the crystal clear streams and waterfalls. Just a travel tip.. Wear comfy shoes, it takes about a 20min hike to get there, doggies and kids love this place! Oh and if you google search Ferry Pools the images does not look like that!

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Scotland is more or less as big as the Mpumalanga province and consists out of 790 offshore islands..

Because of this you will find numerous ferries transporting cars and trucks across lochs reducing time and distance between destinations. It turned out to be a very easy and convenient option for our First-Time-Ferry-Tommy-Tourists.. 

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From Isle of Skye we headed back to mainland where we had to make a quick stop at the Glenfinnan Viaduct, this one is for all the Harry Potter lovers! Glenfinnan Viaduct is a railway viaduct on the West Highland Line in Glenfinnan, Inverness-shire, Scotland
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From Glenfinnan we took one of the most scenic routes in Scotland on the A82 through Loch Lomond & The Trossachs national park to Glasgow.

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Back in the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle we finally made our stop at 11:30pm in Glasgow..

Now where do you think I can find that Scotsman……

Be sure to do a Whiskey tour when visitng Scotland, there are numerous companies offering day packages which includes transport (highly recommended!), tasting fees etc.

Some well known whiskey distilleries are: Glenfiddich, Talisker, Glengoyne and Glenlivet just to name a few!

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Glengoyne Whisky and Chocolate Tasting 

The 145th Open Golf Championship was held at the Royal Troon  10 – 17 July 2016. We were lucky enough to spot and follow some big name players like Rory Mcilroy, Justin Rose and Phil Mickleson. Access to the event was super easy and organized and trains and buses was never crowded or late.

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Edinburgh – the capital of Scotland and Glasgow (which is bigger than Edinburgh) boasts with a variety of shopping spots, restaurants, bars and night life.

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Scotland is a like a colourful buffet offering everything and anything for every tourists taste buds.. from hiking and fishing to adventuring into mountains and caves to history buff hopping to learn about William Walace, ghost tours, shopping, golfing, pub hopping, learning to play bagpipes, visiting art galleries, museums and the Glasgow science centre or exploring a few of the two thousand castles there is something to do and see for every visitor..

Just remember to pack your rain coat wherever you go! Visiting Scotland in Summer (July and August) is best with temperatures at an average 19 °C. But don’t be fooled, Scotland is known to have four seasons in one day! January and February are generally the coldest months in Scotland, with the daytime maximum temperatures averaging around 5 °C to 7 °C.

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Highland-Coo

Greetings from a cold and wet Summers day in Glasgow! xoxo

 

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