Up at 6:15, breakfast will be at 7:30. Wrote up another blog. Down to the bus stop outside by Hotel by 8:10 to be picked up by Discover Scotland Tours. They arrived on time and drove us to the City Centre where we changed vans and started off on on our tour. There were only two other people in the van, Moritzio and Jessica a young couple from Orlando and our driver Cliff. It was a 16 seat van so we all had good seats and it was very comfortable. Our first stop was at Loch Lomond one of the largest lochs in Scotland. We also stopped at a a hill overlooking Tarbett named for the place where the Vikings hauled their boats between lochs. Incidentally an unnamed loch is called a lochan.
|Looking back at Tarbett|
Back in the van driving through some beautiful countryside. I couldn't enter all my pictures but will try to put in as many as I can. We entered the town of Argyll, the ancestral home of the Campbell Clan. There is a castle there called Inverary Castle. It was destroyed by fire in the 1975 and members of the Campbell Clan from all over the world made contributions to the restoration totalling about 1 million pounds. The current Duke of Argyll lives there in a portion of the castle and it it is open most days for public viewing for a fee of 8 pounds. I took a picture of the castle then walked back down to the town.
|Inverary Castle - Argyll|
|Piper at Argyll|
I walked around, there wasn't a lot to see but I picked up 2 shot glasses my traditional souvenir when I travel. Then I sat on the waterfront and had an ale in my Caledonian glass and some cheese. It was very peaceful. We were back on the bus at 11:45 (yes I had a beer before lunch) and drove through the start of the highlands. We drove by Loch Awe one of the longest in Scotland. Some of the mountains had snow on the top of them. The highlands are very old mountains and have been worn down by glaciers and erosion. Any mountain over 3000 ft is known as a Monroe named for the gentlemen who surveyed them all; there are 282 of them in Scotland and only 3 in England. Mountains between 3000 and 2500 ft are called Corbetts. The highest mountain in Scotland is Ben (meaning mountain) Nevis.
We saw some Ayrshire cattle and lots of sheep. We stooped and saw Kilcurin Castle the original seat of the Campbell Clan which was abandoned in 1760 after being struck by lightening.
We came to a fork in the road; Right to Crianlarich and left to Oban. Crianlarich was the first place Carol and I had stayed when we first visited Scotland in 1994. So by turning left towards Oban I was entering new territory. We stopped on the way at a small church called St. Conan's Kirk. It was built in 1930 by Walter Campbell who didn't want his Mother to travel too far to go to church. He died during the construction and it was finished by his sister. It looked like it could have been built in the 1600's as it's style was certainly not modern.
It was a magnificent piece of architecture with its own cloisters here which is unusual for a small church. Also a nice display of rhododendrons and azaleas here and on the side of the road.
We drove down through Connell which is a fair size community and then on to Oban. It is the gateway to the western islands as ferries leave from here on a regular basis. We got off the bus at 1:15 and I wanted to have haggis one more time. I stopped at a restaurant called Cuan Mor where I ordered a starter of haggis, black pudding with mash and cream. I also had one of their amber ales and to mark the occasion I ordered a dram of Ardbeg Scotch Whisky. For the first time in all my time eating haggis I was disappointed. The black pudding and haggis came separate in a little pastry shell. They just weren't what I was expecting and were extremely small. The mash and cream were good and so was the Ardbeg but then it should have been at 4.50 pounds. I finished my ale sitting outside of the restaurant looking out at the ocean.
|Haggis and black pudding|
|Looking out to sea|
We were back on the van at 2:30 and drove towards Glencoe. On the way we stopped at Stalker Castle located on an island, for some pictures and a coffee. Actually I had an ice cream.