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Tour of Scotland

Ladies and gentlemen,

I'd like to tell you about a tour of Scotland I made with my wife in 1997.

We live in a town called Seligenstadt not far away from Frankfurt/ Germany. So we took a plane from Frankfurt Airport to Edinburgh where we hired a car and started to visit "the best in Scotland".

We first went to Bridge of Allan near Stirling where we stayed at the "Royal Hotel" (we stayed there for three days). We visited "Wallace Monument" which is of some interest if you know the "Braveheart"-movie.

Afterwards we went to the "Old Town Jail" of Stirling where we enjoyed a really entertaining guided tour.
On day 2 we felt "A touch of the Trossachs": In the "Trossachs Visitor Centre" in Calander we got some information on the life of Rob Roy Mac Gregor, then we went to Loch Lommond and Loch Katrine (steam boat trips!).

Day 3 was our "Edinburgh day": Of course we had a tour of the wonderful castle, later we walked down the "Royal Mile" which was especially interesting because it was the time of the "Edinburgh Festival" (many artists and musicians everywhere). On our way back to Bridge of Allan we stopped at Linlithgow Palace which can be really called a "princely palace", and at Blackness Castle, one of Scotland's most important strongholds.

On day 4 we left the "Royal Hotel" and went westwards. We stopped in Dundee in order to visit "Discovery Point" which tells the exciting story of Scott of the Antarctic and his ship, the "Discoery". Unfortunately it rained cats and dogs on this day, so it wasn't too much fun walking around in Dundee. Next we stopped at Glamis Castle, well known because e.g. Shakespeare's Macbeth is said to be a former "Thane of Glamis". By the way it is one of the most impressive places we visited on our tour of Scotland.

Very picturesque is Dunnottar Castle on the east coast because it is built on a rock in the sea. Next, we passed Aberdeen and drove to Huntly where we found our next place to sleep: "The Castle Hotel" which has a very pleasant atmosphere and is a good place to stay. We can especially recommend the "Steak and Kidney Pie" they offer in the restaurant.

On day 5 we followed North East Scotland's Coastal Trail, starting at Tolquhon Castle, then visiting Slains Castle (Bram Stoker was inspired to write "Dracula" when he visited this place) and Kinnaird Head Castle (lighthouse exhibition). Afterwards we enjoyed some sunny moments at the "Cliffs of Pennan" before finishing our day with a visit of the "Glenfiddich Distillery" (no admission fee!).

Day 6 was one of the highlights of our tour, because it was the day of the " 156th Lonach Gathering", really great and very traditional Highland Games. Over night we stayed at the "Boat Hotel" in Boat of Garten (in the Cairngorm Mountains).

The next day, we went north to watch wild salmon in their natural habitat near the Falls of Shin, but we weren't lucky: all the salmon seemed to have vanished. Another extraordinary place we went to was Dunrobin Castle, one of the "Great Houses of Scotland". We continued our journey north and found the very nice (and very small) "Dunbeath Hotel" in Caithness.

On day 8 we reached the most northern point of our journey: "Duncansby Head" near John o'Groates (steep cliffs, rough sea, bad weather...). And it's really true: In this part of the country you can go (nearly) all day without meeting a soul on the road (if you use the right road). Returning to the north east coast we found a very good and expensive hotel in Brora ("The Links Hotel").

The next day we travelled from north east to north west Scotland; passing the Corrieshalloch Canyon we came to our next hotel in Achnasheen, the "Lledgowan Lodge" which was built as a shooting lodge in 1904 and converted into a country house hotel keeping most of its original charm (friendly atmosphere, good food).

The Isle of Skye was our destination on day 10. We had a look at Dunvegan Castle and were fascinated by Skye's wonderful landscape. On our way back to Achnasheen we visited the "Highlander" (Eilean Donan Castle, where  a part of the "Highlander"-movie was filmed).

On day 11 which was a very warm and sunny day we first went to Inverewe Gardens and later on to Gruinard Bay where we had some fun on the beach.

Leaving Achnasheen on day 12 we returned to central Scotland: We saw monsters and more around Inverness and Loch Ness, passed Fort Augustus and finally arrived in Aviemore (Cairngorm Mountains again) where we decided to stay for two nights.

"Back to nature" was our motto for the next day: We visited the "Highland Wildlife Park" not far away from Aviemore.

On day 14 our journey led us south: We stopped at two other "Great Houses of Scotland", namely Blair Castle and Scone Palace where Scottish kings used to be crowned on the "Stone of Scone".

We found a little hotel in Kinross for our last night in Scotland.

On the last day we discovered Scotland's National Aquarium "Deep Sea World" and used the Forth (Road) Bridge to get back to Edinburgh Airport.

We liked this tour of Scotland very much and can only recommend it to all of you who want to see plenty of Scotland in only two weeks.

Michael and Stefanie Knedlik, Seligenstadt, Germany.

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