Greetings from Scotland! (Part 2 -Aberdeen and Inverness)

To backtrack a bit, I didn’t get any pictures of the Queen Mary 2 from the crossing, but Brian did.



Queen Mary 2 – Docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia – 10 September 2016

Here’s a photo of the boat from our New England and Canadian trip in 2013.


SI Exif

Queen Mary 2 – Bar Harbor, Maine, October 2013

Back to Scotland.  After leaving Edinburgh, our first stop was Stirling Castle and the site of the Battle of Bannockburn (June 1314).  Stirling is probably the grandest medieval castle in Scotland.  It was restored by King James V for his wife, Marie de Guise – parents of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.



Stirling Castle – 19 September 2016



Stirling Castle – 19 September 2016



Stirling Castle – 19 September 2016



View of Stirling Castle from the Bannockburn Battle Field

Adjacent to Stirling Castle is the site of the Battle of Bannockburn. The first real victory for the Scots – lead by Robert the Bruce – over England and King Edward II.



Site of the Battle of Bannockburn (June 1314) – 19 September 2016



Statue of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots – Battle of Bannockburn – 19 September 2016

After Stirling and Bannockburn, we drove to Dunnottar Castle.  This was probably the most picturesque castle we saw on the entire trip.  Again, it was a medieval ruin, but it was situated on a cliff overlooking the sea, like something straight out of Macbeth or Lucia di Lammermoor.



Wild Rose on the hike to Dunnottar Castle – 19 September 2016



Haymaking – Hike to Dunnottar Castle – 19 September 2016



Dunnottar Castle, Scotland – 19 September 2016



View from Dunnottar Castle – 19 September 2016



Dunnottar Castle – 19 September 2016



Dunnottar Castle – 19 September 2016



View from Dunnottar Castle – 19 September 2016

From Dunnottar, we drove to Aberdeen and stayed overnight at the Marcliffe Hotel, and as coincidence would have it, we were in the ‘Dunnottar Suite.’

The following day was the drive to Inverness.  First stop was Craigievar Castle.  My hands still hurt from clutching the steering wheel on this drive.  A one-lane winding road with hairpin curves and zero visibility of on-coming vehicles.  I seriously considered abandoning the vehicle and seeing if there was an Uber driver somewhere in rural Scotland.

So while this is supposed to be the finest example of ‘Scottish Baronial-Style’ architecture, all I could think was ‘It’s an ugly pink building.’ (It really wasn’t leaning like this; I was still recovering from the drive.)



Craigievar Castle – 20 September 2016

After Craigievar, we drove to Loch an Eilein and the Rothimurchus Forest for hiking.  This area was gorgeous and really what one thinks about regarding Scottish lochs.



Castle on the Island – Loch and Eilein – 20 September 2016



Loch and Eilein – 20 September 2016



Loch and Eilein – 20 September 2016



Mossy Tree – Loch and Eilein – 20 September 2016



Loch and Eilein – 20 September 2016

From here, we drove to the Battlefield of Culloden – the bitter defeat of the last Scottish Jacobite uprising against the English in 1746.



19th Century marker for the Battle of Culloden – 20 September 2016



Restored peasant cottage on Culloden Moor – 20 September 2016

From Culloden, we drove to our hotel in Inverness – the Rocpool Reserve Hotel.   The hotel was very nice – and the restaurant was great – but the best part about this hotel was the hot tub on our balcony; a godsend after the morning’s drive from hell.

Next up:  the Isle of Skye, Glencoe, and a brief stop en route to Hogworts.

Greetings from Scotland! (Part 1 – Edinburgh)

So the big adventure in 2016 was a trans-Atlantic sailing from New York to Southampton, England, and then eight days driving around Scotland.

We spent a half-day in New York and saw ‘The Humans’ on Broadway.  It won the Tony for Best Play and I can certainly see why; it was extremely compelling.

The sail-out from Brooklyn provided another postcard-perfect view of the Manhattan skyline…



Manhattan, New York – 8 September 2016

The crossing was eight days, with a stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  There was some rain, but no heavy seas; it was generally uneventful.

On our arrival in the UK, we flew from Southampton to Amsterdam, then on to Edinburgh, Scotland.  After picking up the car – an SUV, actually which was NOT fun to drive on tiny country roads – we made our way to Linlithgow Palace.  This medieval palace was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Like almost all the castles, monasteries, and palaces we visited, it was mostly in ruins.  But it was an outstanding example of Scottish gothic and medieval architecture.


Statue – Mary Queen of Scots – Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, Scotland



Courtyard Fountain, Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, Scotland



Architectural Detail – Linlithgow Palace, Scotland



Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow Scotland

I think the highlight of the three days in the environs of Edinburgh had to be Holyrood Palace.  As I’ve always been fascinated with Mary Queen of Scots, it’s been a must-see.  It did not disappoint.



Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland



Statue of David Rizzio, Holyrood Palace Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland



Fuchsia – Holyrood Palace Gardens – Edinburgh, Scotland









Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland


Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland



Architectural Element – Holyrood Abbey Ruins – Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland

After we finished at Holyrood, we walked up ‘Arthur’s Seat’ for some spectacular views.



Arthur’s Seat from Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland




Ruins of St. Andrew’s Chapel – Halfway Up Arthur’s Seat – Edinburgh, Scotland



Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat

After Arthur’s Seat, we walked to Edinburgh Castle.



Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland



Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland



Soldiers’ Dogs Cemetery – Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland



St. Margaret’s Chapel – Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland

The following day, we took a trip to Inchcolm Abbey – a 30-minute boat ride into the Firth of Forth to get to this medieval monastery.



Inchcolm Abbey, Scotland



Inchcolm Abbey, Scotland



Inchcolm Abbey, Scotland



Inchcolm Abbey, Scotland

Next up – Aberbeen and Inverness…