Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category


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.



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.

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!



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!


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.

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.






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.


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?!


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.





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!



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.


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!




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.


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.


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


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.



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.


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.


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!

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!



Day One Hundred and Fifty Eight: Scottish Highlands

June 26, 2012

Weather: 17oC, glorious
Money: £19 accomodation, £3 lunch, £6 dinner, £8 car hire = £36
‘Heelund coo’ photos: 23
Times Lisa squealed with excitement: 358

So today we set off from Edinburgh for Inverness. We ended up leaving at about lunch time after organising for my dispute form to be lodged with the bank. We also collected our car, a bad boy called Pegasus. He is cool.

We took google maps’ route 2, the less highwayish one, and more touristy. The drive was amazing. We spent about an hour in a national park with green and a river and cows and sheep and mountains. Super sweet. This is a ski resort we stopped at for some photos. It’s hard to imagine it with snow!



The Scottish Highlands are full of castles and heaps of old stuff. Maybe just the UK in general actually. But we stumbled on this castle in our travels today. We had some frivolities here which resulted in Hope falling over. Needless to say, we laughed a lot.


Here’s another viewing area. Beautiful. Very beautiful.



Something that was so wonderful today was our first encounter with Highland cows. They are SO cute. We had to pull over to get some photos. Hope had a little game of ‘hey, cow’ too, which was good. I love this guy.


One more thing: this is 11:15 today. 4 hours further North means even less darkness!



Day One Hundred and Fifty Seven: Edinburgh Castle, M&S and Chop Chop

June 25, 2012

Weather: 16oC, rain, sun, rain, sun, rain, sun. More sun though!
Money: £16 castle entrance, £7 felafel, £21 clothes, £24 chop chop, £16 accomodation = £84
Kilt count: 5

Today, Edinburgh Castle was priority number one. It’s super cool. So old and such a funky history. I might become a historian in my next life. It cost a lot to get in though. But worth it, I’d say. This is a view of the castle from town and then the rest are from up top.





After the castle, we went on a shopping adventure. Julie told me that all English women get their underwear from Marks and Spenser so we went to see what the fuss was about. It’s good there. Fun and cheap and big! We also went to some other shoppies and some of us spent too much on clothes.

Hope liked this hat. She looks so smug.


Also, I have a new game. It’s to take photos in a special hat in from of Scottish things. Here I am in front of the Scott Monument and the Olympic rings!



Edinburgh have pretty much closed down their CBD to install tram tracks everywhere. I wonder, speaking of the Olympics, if they hope to have them done by then. If they do, I wish them good luck. It’s quite messy as we speak!

Tonight we had dinner at a restaurant that featured on the Gordon Ramsey show F Word. It was dumplings and other Chinese food. It was very good. Chop Chop. That’s what it’s called. Worth checking out for you Scottish readers!

Here is a last photo for you. 11:15pm from our room. Pretty and only just dark.


Oh no, one more thing. Some loser in Colombia managed to drain my Euro on my travel money card. Thanks for that. Don’t worry, Commonwealth Bank are being fairly helpful. All good, refs!


Day One Hundred and Fifty Six: Maybe She’s Just Easily Pleased

June 24, 2012

Weather: 16oC
Money: £18.60 accomodation, £16.60 bus, £7 lunch, £13 dinner, £8 souvenirs. $101.12
Kilt count (male only): 2
Hours on a bus: 9.5
Country tally: 13
Current city: Edinburgh

Scotland is amazing! You should see Edinburgh! It’s so beautiful!

We had a nice bus ride today. Normally I would sleep a lot. Today I did a bit, but mostly I peered out the windows at the coolest small towns and crazy scenery. I think I should add Scotland to my favourites list – I realise that’s getting pretty long by now, but I don’t care. Maybe I am easily pleased, but there’s some degree of epic at work!

So we parted company with Julie this morning, for at least 20 days when we might arrive back on her doorstep. She’s so good to us!

And, we arrived to glory at 6:30pm. It stayed light til after 10 too. Can you imagine!
These are some photos out the bus window.



Looks like Boat Harbour and Smithton hey!