Monday, January 23, 2023

Scotland V

You'll be glad to know this is the last post from our first big trip to Scotland;   Only about a dozen after that to get us through our second bigger adventure to Scotland 10 years later!  I hope you won't get bored or tired of Scotland!

Finding accommodation in Edinburgh in August, when the Edinburgh Festival is on, is pretty well impossible, so we stayed in a B&B west of town near Linlithgow, and commuted in by train, an easy short ride.  It was our most luxurious B&B and we loved it!

The first of these photos is Linlithgow Palace, designed to be a more luxurious place than Edinburgh Castle, rebuilt initially by James I in the early 1400s.  Both James V and Mary, Queen of Scots were later born there.  This photo shows St. Michael's Parish church, built earlier than the palace, with its striking modern spire on the top, replacing a stone spire that collapsed.  The palace is through the gate; you can see the spire in the top photo of the palace as well.

The highlight of the visit was of course a trip into the historic high street of Edinburgh, with the Edinburgh Tattoo in the evening.  It took place in the open quadrangle in front of Edinburgh Castle, and cemented our love of Scottish bagpipe music (which I can hear playing in the distance as I write this.  Some months later after I was approached for permission, this photo was published in a Scottish tourist brochure!  I guess I got the evening lighting just right.

Of course we also had to walk down the hill to visit Greyfriar's Bobby, a Skye Terrier who was said to have slept at his master's grave in the Greyfriars churchyard for 14 years.

Eventually we headed east again along the south side of the Firth of Forth to Tantallon Castle, with its enormous red sandstone curtain wall closing off the headland, protected by cliffs on the other three sides, overlooking the North Sea.  Lots of brutal medieval history here!

In the southeast corner of Scotland are the ruins of four enormous Border Abbeys, all built under the patronage King David I during the 1100s.  They met their end during the Reformation 400 years later, but their ruins are popular tourist attractions today.  It's amazing this much of the ancient building has  survived for 900+/- years!

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), perhaps the greatest, certainly the most popular Scottish author lived near Dryburgh Abbey and it was here that he chose to have his tomb, a rather unique arrangement!

We then faced a long cross-country drive to return to Glasgow for the flight home, but along the way we spotted large areas of the landscape that looked like this.  This is moorland managed for grouse hunting by burning in patches, aimed at keeping heather habitat of different ages to keep the grouse happy!  And of course no trees in sight.

We also  drove some of those famed one-lane Scottish roads with their pull-off spaces and their sheep of course.  The trick, while driving on the wrong side of the road, was to use the pull-off spaces in such a way that you barely had to slow down for oncoming traffic while swerving in and out of the pull-off.

It was an awesome trip lasting about two weeks and all four adults were still talking when we got home!

For those who have asked, we did this trip in July as I recall, and stayed in B&Bs the whole way, which we reserved in advance.  Breakfast in the B&Bs, dinner at a restaurant (often it was a pub meal), and for lunch we'd pick up sandwiches in those little grocery outlets that are all over Britain.  We took comfortable clothes and stopped to do laundry once, in Inverness.  Of course you have to be prepared to drive on the left hand side of the road and the right hand side of the car which I found came naturally.  You also have to be prepared for cool weather and horizontal rain; umbrellas are a necessity!  We picked up and dropped off our rental car right at Glasgow airport.  Any other questions, feel free!  


  1. I enjoyed all your Scotland recaps and can't wait for more!

  2. I also am looking forward to more!. C

  3. I thank you so profusely for taking me on your Scotland tour ... and you saved me a boatload of money in the process!
    The countryside is so beautiful and all of your tours and pictures are so much appreciated!
    I, too, look forward to more travels that you do!

  4. That looks like a wonderful trip, thank you for presenting the five installments. There aren't many countries I've ever wanted to visit, but Scotland has always been high on the list.

  5. Great to see it all. The tattoo would really inspire.

  6. The Abbey Ruins always manage to steal a scene in any series filmed in Scotland!

    Great series, FG. I look forward to more.

  7. I'm not certain I could so easily adapt to driving on the "wrong" side of the road. What a wonderful vacation you had, the scenery is incredible. I definitely would want to see the Tattoo - I'm assuming our RCMP Sunset ceremony has, at least in part, its origin in such an event.

  8. Stew, This is where I first met you - with your Scotland Lecture Series at BALL in Owen Sound - and I am so glad I did...

  9. What a fabulous trip, and now you say there is a final one a decade later? I look forward to it!

  10. This all really inspires me. I am hoping some day to go to Scotland.

  11. We'll never get there so i am grateful for your recaps. ❤️

  12. The ruins of the Abbey are impressive. I used to want to see Scotland because my Morton ancestors came from there.