May 4 – 7: London and Trip to Edinburgh and Scotland
Had a wonderful time in London. Shari went to ChristianDior museum in the Victoria-Albert museum. Dave and I went to an Arsenal football game We had to buy new emergency glasses for Shari and also an emergency dentist appointment for Shari but that all ended well. Had wonderful home-cooked meals and also took the train to Woking to visit Ann and Norman. Norman doesn’t get around well on his own as he as water on the brain but his mind is sharp. Then we were off on a train to Edinburgh. Walked for many kilometres and saw the Edinburgh castle, Calton hill and enjoyed great meals.
Day 2 on the road to see Scotland: Today started out rainy and stayed that way. We made three major stops today – First was to rent a car – ended up with a BMW 2-door car with only 10 miles on it.. Obviously we were the first drivers. Managed to cut pretty close to a few curbs but fortunately no accidents our first day. Second stop was the Loch Leven National Nature Reserve. It would have been great to shoot birds here but the wind was howling and the rain wouldn’t stop. Neat place nonetheless and the coffee was warm. Last stop was a tour of the Edradour distillery – the smallest non-micro distillery in UK, I believe and much of the process is managed manually. Some interesting varieties but we decided not to make any purchases.
MAY9 Last Day at Pitlochry: Today we walked quickly thru a nature reserve, then went to on a tour of Blair castle (owned by the Duke of Athole), traveled through the forest around Kinloch Rannock and ended up at the Queen’s view. It had obviously snowed overnight as the mountain tops were all adorned with snow. At Queen’s View I met another tourist who was flying his drone so I flew mine as well. Great fun. Aerial images are not yet in the gallery below.,
May 10: Great Drive today into the Cairngorn National Park in which we stopped to visit a wildlife park. Then we travelled up to Inverness, did a little shopping, and drove almost the entire way back to Spean Bridge (our B&B) on single lane roads where the locals dash about and I head for the nearest dirt rut to escape. Exciting, what?
May 11, 12, 13: Travels from Spean Bridge to Kyleakin (Isle of Skye) to Sligachan (Isle of Skye). Due to some unfortunate hotel experiences, we had no internet last night and, since the hotel wasn’t working for us, we moved further into Isle of Skye (and closer to the Uig ferry terminal we need to reach tomorrow morning. It has been 3 adventurous days. On May 11, we visited the train at the Glenfinnan Viaduct, then the lower waterfall at Glen Nevis, we visited Mallaig (a fishing harbour where the steam train stops and turns around) and had supper at Roy Bridge’s lounge. On May 12, we ended up at Kyleakin on the edge of Isle of Skye, after visiting Plockton, the Eilean Donan castle, Strathcarron and several Coos (Shari says the Scots refer to the long-haired bovines as such). Today we toured the Isle of Skye visiting Cullin Hills, Portree, Old Man of Storr (crumbling basalt hills), the Quiraing in northern Skye, and the Fairy Pools.
May 14 – Ferry boat to Tarbert on Outer Hebrides; After a hair-raising rush to make it to the ferry port at Uig (our initial GPS setting was wrong), we made it onto the ferry. Today we concentrated on seeing the Isle of Harris after our boat landed around 11:00 am. The seas were really calm and we chatted with several locals who said this was quite uncommon. It was also warming up quite nicely so that was a relief too. What good fortune!. We looped around the roads of Harris looking for a Harris tweed weaver and finally met Rebecca at the southern end of the isle. Don’t know what I’ll do with the material I bought but it’s definitely authentic. Then we had to drive over 50 miles north to Stornoway to our hotel by the harbour. Stornoway is quite large by island standards and not too shabby either but definitely feeling it when roads get congested. The day was frequently spent waiting for cars, sheep and cows that blocked single lane roads and trying to capture ocean birds that didn’t cooperate.