Part 2-Scotland tour






Why do I love Scotland?  Let me count the ways...


Edinburgh Castle

View from the Castle
Our tour started with a visit to Edinburgh Castle.  This is a stock shot you're looking at because it was raining that morning.  It added the necessary atmosphere to really appreciate the magnificence of that stone structure.  Climbing up the hill was a bitch, and the million and one stairs in the castle were brutal BUT  so worth it.  Our guide was named Richard Campbell and he was wearing a kilt, natch, and spoke with that lovely accent that made me want to throw myself at him.  My roomie kept telling me to close my mouth 'cause I was drooling:) I should have asked for a photo but I was too embarrassed.   Dumb me...

After the castle, we went to visit Holyrood Palace.  The Queen resides there one week during the year.  It's an actual working palace where she entertains dignitaries and handles local business issues.  Balmoral Castle is her summer or whenever getaway place.  Apparently, she loves it and goes as often as possible.  We weren't able to see it up close because she was there.  


 
Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace
St. Andrews

Our next stop was   St. Andrews, whose Royal and Ancient Golf Club gave us the rules of the game.  I was surprised that it was a public course and anyone could play, so long as they got a tee time.  The wait list is a mile long. I'm not a golfer but I was impressed by the history and beautiful course.  My sons would have knelt down and kissed the greens so I bought them some souvenirs.

Highlands

We drove through Braemar, home of the Royal Highland Games, on our way up to Inverness.  The mountains were stark and broodingly magnificent.  Outlander fans will be happy to know the view is just as beautiful as described in the books.  I was quite content basking in the shadow of those craggy outcroppings.  Our driver did a great job of keeping the bus on the road.  Some places were so narrow I was sure we'd topple over.   



We got to Inverness late in the day, and again, it was cloudy and drizzling.  Par for the course, from what I understand.  I'm posting a few stock shots for a better view.

Ruins of Inverness Castle

Shops and homes beside Loch Ness
The next morning we were off to see Culloden field where the highlanders were crushed by the Hanovarians. The visitor center recounted both sides of the story in a photographic and talking tour.  It was very touching and I have to give kudos to Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series for opening out eyes to this site and what it meant to so many.  I know I had never heard of it until I picked up her novels.  Amazing what one person can do, right?  Her books were for sale in the gift shop so I guess they appreciate her as well. 


Culloden Battle Monument

Finally, we made our way down to the lowlands, enjoying more of the view.  I wish we had more time in Scotland.  I could have used another week but it's impossible to do see it all in one tour.  I will go back someday.  Got to save up first:) 

I got my first glimpse of the hairy highland cows (pronounced helan koos).  They are sooo cute and fluffy.  We got to pet a few. 
Highland Cows

Rainbow over Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond was the last stop for the day and then we were off to Glasgow.  To be continued...

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