Thanks to Electric Scotland and Icelandair we had a marvelous trip to
Scotland. Sometimes it seems unfair that we won because we have
frequently traveled to Scotland since 1987 when we first visited our
daughter who was in the U.S. Navy and stationed at Holy Loch. But
then - who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? I am an avid
reader of Nigel Tranter so this trip we were able to concentrate on the
more obscure tourist attractions I have read about but never had the
opportunity to visit.
Our trip to the U.K. on Icelandair was one of the best we have taken so
far. The flight was on time (in both directions), the service
excellent and there was no delay in retrieving our luggage. We will
not hesitate to fly Icelandair again.
Bobbie and I arrived in Glasgow on Friday, April 27, 2001. After
getting our car we headed to Haddington where we spent the first three
nights. On the way we visited Rosslyn Chapel where we marveled at
the stonework. I have visited many cathedrals but none of them
compare to Rosslyn in stonework. Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446
by Sir William St. Clair who was a knight templar. There is a theory
that as the Knights Templar were the protectors of the Holy Sepulcher in
Jerusalem, when they left Jerusalem, they took the Holy Grail with them
and secreted it in the masonry of Rosslyn Chapel. Several years ago
electronic soundings were conducted in the chapel. This
investigation did not reveal the hiding place of the Holy Grail but the
lady in the shop stated that it did disclose that twenty (20) knights in
full armour are buried in the floor of the chapel.
From Haddington, we toured the East Lothian area visiting Tantallon,
Dirleton and Dunbar Castles. Bobbie and I love to travel the
"B" roads because of the scenery and animal life you
encounter along these pastoral lanes. The pheasants were out in
force and one stretch of the road contained hundreds of rabbit warrens in
the enbankment. And- hundreds of rabbits were scurrying in
their holes as we drove along.
From Haddington we drove up across the Firth of Forth bridge to Kinross
visiting Blackness Castle along the way. While in Kinross we visited
the Douglas stronghold, Lochleven Castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots was
held prisoner. This castle is located on an island and to visit it
you must take a small motor launch. In our 18 day trip, this was the
only time we encountered rain, the rest of the time the weather was
absolutely gorgeous. It delayed our boat trip out to the island by
about 45 minutes. While in this area we visited Burleigh Castle and
drove up to Abernethy to see the Irish round tower. There are many
round towers in Ireland but only two in Scotland. The other round
tower is in Brechin. The Abernethy tower had a unique feature - it
had a neck manacle to chain miscreants to the tower. We have now
seen both round towers in Scotland.
Then, it was on to Stirling for several days. We have been to
Stirling several times but never visited the Wallace Monument. My 64
years old legs and knees made it to the top of the monument where I was
rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. We
took one day and drove to Doune Castle and then on to Inchmahome Priory
which is located on an island in the Lake of Menteith. This is the
only lake in Scotland - the rest are lochs. This also required
another boat trip. This priory is noted for accomodating Mary, Queen
of Scots, for safekeeping when she was a young girl.
I am a retired policeman from Washington, D.C. and I belong to the
International Police Association. This trip coincided with a U.K. -
I.P.A. weekend in Renfrew. I was able to visit with some old friends
and make some new ones. This weekend consisted of more sightseeing
and gala dinners with evening entertainment. At the conclusion
of this event, we took 3 day trip up to Perth with two other Scottish
police friends and their wives. Our mode of transportation for
this jaunt was a police van which accomodated the six of us very nicely.
In Perth we visited the Black Watch Museum in Dalhousie Castle,
Huntingtower Castle and several old cemeteries, one of which is the burial
place of David Douglas, the renowned botanist, who the Douglas fir is
The remainder of the trip we stayed with our friends, Bill and Freda
Petherick, who live in Dundonald, Ayrshire. The Petherick's
house has a beautiful view of Dundonald Castle which sits high on a hill
about 400 yards away. Again, we took some days trips. As a
member of the Clan Douglas, I was extended an invitation from Jim Fleming
who lives in Douglas to tour the Douglas Museum and St. Brides Church.
Jim gave us a marvelous tour and I was especially impressed with St.
Brides Church which has the oldest public clock and is the burial place of
many of the Douglas's. The church contains two small heart shaped,
leaden caskets containing the hearts of James "The Good" Douglas
who fought with Robert the Bruce at Bannochburn and Archibald "The
In the interest of not boring your readers more than I have, I could go on
and on as I left out 4 or 5 other castles, the Antonine Roman Wall
and several cathedrals we visited. I am sorry we couldn't get
together while we were over there but look foward to meeting you on a
future trip. Again - thanks to you and ElectricScotland for making
all of this possible. We had a great trip!
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