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Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

Rabbies Tours bus

Actually, we’re already back. We went to Edinburgh on Sunday in late April for a first night, then joined the three-day, two-night Rabbies tour to Arran early the following morning. We finished the holiday off with another two nights in Edinburgh, returning home on Friday afternoon. Mostly the weather smiled on us (always a benefit in Scotland), the tour was great, and there’s always things to do in Edinburgh whatever the weather.

The tour was a three-day, two-night affair. Starting in Edinburgh early on Monday we drove over to Glasgow for another pickup then south to the Ayrshire coast. The target at the end of the day would be Brodick, the main ferry port on Arran, but we visited other places along the way.

Whitelee Wind Farm

First was the Whitelee Wind Farm…. an unusual attraction I’ll admit, but apparently it’s the second largest in Europe and has just over 250 turbines; it can generate a lot of electricity. Scotland is aiming to produce 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2022, and apparently they’re well on track to achieve that. (One of those small blobs at the bottom of the windmill is a person.)

 

 

Then we went to Culzean Castle, which is actually an 18th century stately home, where we spent several hours and had lunch; and finally we visited Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet. We saw the Auld Kirk of Alloway and the Brig o’Doon as well as the memorial gardens. Read Tam o’Shanter for more about the Kirk and the Brig. (Warning! it’s long, and in Scots…. but very evocative.)

 

After that we did the drive to Ardrossan where, at six o’clock, we boarded the CalMac ferry ‘Caledonian Isles’ for the 55 minute crossing to Brodick. We ate our evening meal on the ferry, as we had been advised that places to eat in Brodick might close pretty early in the evening.

Goat Fell, Arran, from our guest house window – first evening

We were booked into a guest house (Hunter’s) in Brodick which was delightful. We met the proprietor, Caroline, who was very friendly and chatty, and who showed us to our large, comfortable room at the front of the house overlooking Brodick Bay . The weather that first day was delightful – sunny with blue skies – but not that warm as there was a chill wind blowing. Still, the weather gave us excellent views of the Scottish landscape during the day, and the view from our room of the bay and Goat Fell, the highest mountain on Arran, was pretty special.

 

We went out for a drink later at the Douglas hotel, just over a quarter of a mile away, which we discovered a) served food and b) seemed to be still doing so at 8:30 or so. A quick look at the menu revealed things we would enjoy so we decided that would be our dinner location for the following evening. Then it was back to the guest house to bed, for a fairly early start the next day.

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A Virtual trip…

WeeDram_0144

The Wee Dram

Still no real trips, unfortunately – but this afternoon I was able to do a virtual trip.

We went over to Bakewell, in the Peak District, about 10 miles from where we live. There are a lot of good things about the town – it’s very attractive, there’s a Rohan shop (I wear a lot of Rohan gear) – but best of all is The Wee Dram. It’s a whisky shop, specialising in single malts, and they claim to have over 620 expressions in stock. (An Expression, in this sense, is a particular version of a distillery’s whisky.) I’ve never counted them but there are a lot of different bottles on display – the picture above is of their shelves.

As readers of this blog will know I’m a regular traveller to Edinburgh and I’ve visited some good whisky shops there. I’ve done the same in Glasgow and Inverness; but I reckon the Wee Dram in Bakewell is the best of them all.

So that was my virtual trip – with my feet firmly rooted in Derbyshire, for a few minutes I was travelling around Speyside, the Islands and the Highlands before settling on Islay as my destination, and a new bottle of 10-year old Laphroaig will remind me of the trip. Well, until it’s gone; at which point I shall have to repeat the exercise.

Here’s a link to their website. Slainte!

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