Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

h1

Day One Hundred and Sixty Five: Ireland

July 4, 2012

Weather: raining.
Money: £3 lunch + £8 car hire + £4 bus + £5 bus + £2.50 taxi + £8 second lunch + £10 accommodation = £40.50
Vehicle types Hope slept on today: 12
Current country: Ireland
Current city: Dublin

We had a really annoying day with transport today. You’d hardly believe it. This morning we drove to Edinburgh from Glasgow to return our hire car by 10am. The petrol light was on the whole 50 miles, but we had prepaid for a tank of fuel on arrival back so didn’t want to get any more than necessary. We made it with 6 miles worth left on the clock which is pretty amazing.

We caught a taxi to the bus station but then arrived there three hours before we needed to be there to catch the bus back to Glasgow.

The bus arrived in Glasgow at 3pm and we caught another bus to the airport. The flights were much cheaper out of Glasgow, that’s why the ridiculous travel.

We then waited at the airport for two hours before boarding the plane to Ireland. We were met at the airport by Aoife which was so lovely of her, and she even had dinner on for us! She made lasagne, which is amazing, because I’ve been wanting it for a while now! After dinner we went for a Guiness pint, which I’ve never had before, and I loved it and therefore think that I am suited to live in Ireland.

Woo hoo for Ireland! Here is an updated map.

20120703-211359.jpg

h1

Day One Hundred and Sixty Four: Glasgow

July 2, 2012

Weather: 14oC, mostly fine
Money: £9 breakfast + £11 bus tour + £7 drink and snacks + £13 dinner + £8.50 movie = £48.50
Days left in Scotland: 1 😦

Today we got ready slowly and got a delicious breakfast at a restaurant across the way. We are staying at something quay which is on the riverbank, surrounded by a movie theatre, bowling, bingo and loads of restaurants. It’s a good location, probably half hour walk to the centre of the city.

Anyway, we got breakfast and then wandered into town to catch one of the hop on, hop off buses. The tour was good. Some of the ones we have done have a boring commentary, or none at all. This one was quite well done. We got off first at the Botanical gardens and had a look around. We walked along the street and up to the Glasgow University which is super old.
20120702-112516.jpg
20120702-114842.jpg

The next time we got off was in the center of the city where Lisa and Hope made me go shopping.

We caught the bus back to the stop near our house and went out for an Indian buffet for dinner. We’ve just got back from a trip to the movies to watch Snow White and the Hunter, which is good and worth watching!

Tomorrow we have an interesting day with a drive to Edinburgh to return the car, a bus back to Glasgow and then a plane to Dublin to see Aoife!

20120702-115153.jpg

h1

Day One Hundred and Sixty Three: Whisky and Haggis

July 1, 2012

Money: £13 accommodation + £9 lunch + £7 Whisky tour + £15 mexican dinner + £20 shopping trip = £64
Weather: 13oC, drizzle
Current city: Glasgow

Today started with a huge Scottish breakfast at our lovely B&B. It was everything you could imagine. Woo!

We left Fort William at around 11am and headed South to Oban. It is a super cute town which we ended up spending three hours in. We did a Whisky tour and sampled enough whisky for me to decide I don’t like it, then we had a delicious lunch with HAGGIS (photos to come Kate and Andy!) and it was surprisingly good!

We headed to Glasgow via Loch Lomond which was a great drive but did take some hours. Our Pegasus car is doing pretty good and we’ve only given him one drink of petrol which is good, seeing as it is more than $2 a litre here in the UK.

We are staying at a hotel in Glasgow with no Internet but its super cheap and clean. Therefore, I will have to come back and upload photos another day when I’m not in a Mexican restaurant!

Love y’all!

h1

One Hundred and Sixty Two: Isle of Skye

June 30, 2012

Weather: 18oC, beautiful!
Money: £27 accommodation + £3.50 breakfast + £8 lunch and snacks + £7 dinner + £8 car = £53.50
Hours driving: 7
Current city: Fort William

Here in Scotland, I feel like a real tourist. Hiring a car and driving around to all the scenic locations, stopping in rest lanes for photos and being totally impressed by sheep crossing the road… This is the life! Today we explored the Isle of Skye. It is so beautiful! Today was forecast for rain so we didn’t have very high hopes, but we lucky all day and it only started raining in our last stretch of driving toward Fort William which was amazing.

Our first stop today was a Neist Point. A guy we talked to at breakfast recommended the best spot to get photos from, so up a muddy cliff we went, but it was worth it. Shame Lisa almost fell off!20120629-234850.jpg

We drove into Portree which is the biggest city on the island with a staggering population of 2500 and had lunch by the water which was lovely.

Our next destination was Elgol which sounds like it belongs in Lord of the Rings. It was also pretty, but probably the highlight of our Elgol visit was the sheep that we had to follow up the hill because they were changing paddocks. Fun little sheepies.
20120629-235533.jpg20120629-235541.jpg

The rest of todays driving was the journey from Skye to Fort William. Its so nice to drive here. The scenery is breathtaking and I feel like I have my camera out the window all the time!

Here are a couple more photos and a map from today.

20120630-000044.jpg

20120630-000100.jpg

20120630-000110.jpg

20120630-000349.jpg

h1

Day One Hundred and Sixty One: Drive Day

June 30, 2012

Weather: 10oC, raining mostly
Money: £16 accommodation, £8 car, £4 lunch, £13 dinner, £23 fuel, £5 chocolate = £69
Hours in the car: 9

Today we set off from our accommodation in Thurso toward the Isle of Skye. As you will see on the map, they aren’t really close and we definitely did not take the most direct route. However, we didn’t anticipate it taking quite such a long time when we set out. Oh well, the drive was so beautiful.

We made a few stops on the way. The first one was in Tongue where we found some more Highland Cows so we stopped to get some photos. So cute.

20120629-223804.jpg

Our second stop was in Durness where we found a chocolatier so we had a real chocolate hot chocolate and some truffles. We also stopped by the Smoo Caves in Durness which were pretty cool, but we couldn’t take the tour because the guide was at the dentist 80 miles away. Secluded area much?!

20120629-225433.jpg

The rest of the photos are from random stops we made in scenic areas. The whole place is scenic really, but we had to capture some bits at least! Note in one of these photos that Lisa is chasing sheep in her Nessie hat. They were very scared and one ran into the fence trying to get away.

20120629-223903.jpg

20120629-223910.jpg

20120629-223925.jpg

20120629-223931.jpg

We are staying at a really funky hostel in the middle of no where on the Isle of Skye. It’s very Riverbend like. But has a great feel and the people seem pretty friendly!

20120629-224031.jpg

h1

Day One Hundred and Sixty: The Orkneys

June 28, 2012

Weather: 12oC, drizzly
Money: £16 accommodation, £8 car, £55 tour, £3.80 lunch, £5 dinner = £67.80
Times I regretted the decision to go to the Orkneys: 0

Today, we dedicated the day to go out to the Orkney Islands, off the North East coast of Scotland. We had to leave Inverness at 6am to drive the three hours to John O’Groats to get tickets for the day, and by the time we got there, it was thoroughly raining and very cold. We deliberated in the car for about half an hour before deciding that we’d driven too far to not go. So, off we went.

The Orkneys are 7 miles from mainland Scotland and have a crazy history. They used to be part of Norway’s territory but they gave it to Scotland as a kind of dowry and never got it back. There are 70 islands, only 18 of which are inhabited. There are lots of Neolithic ruins on the islands and these date back more than 5000 years, apparently. About 20,000 people live there, and while the weather was miserable on Scottish mainland, the Orkneys were pretty chilly but not raining!

So, our first destination was the main town of Kirkwall, population 7000. This was our lunch stop and we walked around and had a little look at the town. There was a cool cathedral there, and lots of little craft shops. We got a sandwich from the supermarket for some cost cutting.

20120628-083712.jpg

Our next stop was Skara Brae. This is the ruins that are 5000 years old. They are really well preserved because they were covered in sand for hundreds of years and it was only some years ago that a massive storm uncovered the top of one of the structures and they started excavating. There are also other areas on serious islands where they are currently excavating to discover more hidden treasures!

20120628-083855.jpg

20120628-083922.jpg

20120628-083956.jpg

The Ring of Brodgar was our next stop. This is a similar setup to Stone Henge, except you can actually touch this! It’s just a circle of stones. Seems people thought it was very fancy, but I wasn’t overly awed. It was ok.

20120628-084237.jpg

Our last stop was the Italian Chapel. During WW2 there were Italian prisoners on the Orkneys, due to its role as a base for the armed forces. These Italians we given a lot of privileges and basically were allowed to work and they built this chapel. One more history bite – there is an area called Scapa Flow, which is the area in between a number of islands where all the war ships were harbored. Some sneaky monkey came in from Germany and sunk a British naval ship. So, they built these barriers (now roads) to block entry into the harbour. The Italian prisoners volunteered to help even, because they connected four of the islands which were previously separated. Don’t quote me on this. It’s a bit rough. Anyway, here is a photo of the chapel and one of the causeways.

20120628-084355.jpg

20120628-084403.jpg
Tonight we are staying in a town called Thurso which I know nothing about. Seems nice enough though, and only for one night!

h1

Day One Hundred and Fifty Nine: Loch Ness Monster

June 27, 2012

Weather: 20oC, so nice til about 6, then rain.
Money: £19 accommodation + £8 car + £5 lunch and snacks + £13 dinner + £5 groceries = £51
Current city: Inverness, population 55000
Men in kilt tally: 8
Monster sightings: 1

Yes, we saw the Loch Ness Monster. Relatively familiar face, but in the right place… We’ll call it a success.20120626-221245.jpg

So Inverness is pretty close to Loch Ness and we decided to drive around it today. It’s long and skinny, probably 30km long. I decided early on that I needed to jump in and swim around looking for Nessie. Only, there were two problems: it was freezing cold, and there were only very limited places where you could actually get to the water. Oh well. It’s pretty, even without swimming.

20120626-221951.jpg

20120626-224201.jpg

We stopped at Foyers Waterfall on the way along the loch. It was pretty nice but no waterfall will ever be as cool as Iguazu, so maybe I should just give up the search.

20120626-224252.jpg

Another cute place we visited was Invermoriston which had a shop and a bridge. It was pretty. I got some more beautiful photos of us.

20120626-224401.jpg

20120626-224407.jpg
I talked about castles yesterday? Well, there was one we called into today on the west side called Erquhart Castle near Drumnadrochit. We didn’t go in because it cost £7, but we could peer at it over the fence!

20120626-224511.jpg
When we got back to town we got dinner at the Castle Tavern and I had a delicious steak and ale pie and a local ale which wasn’t wonderful. Oh well.

Tomorrow, hopefully the weather will be wonderful and we will go to the Orkneys. Woo!

20120626-224622.jpg