I took Lynn to Scotland (her ancestral homeland) for her 60th birthday present (a few weeks early). Oldest daughter Megan came along too (paying her own way). Aside from the first day and the next-to-last day in-country, the weather was abysmal, but we had fun in spite of it.
We drove almost 700 miles on twisty, winding, sometimes-narrow roads (on the “wrong” side of the road, in a giant van with the steering wheel on the passenger’s side!); from Glasgow through Stirling to Pitlochry, then to the Highlands and the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, participating in a trainride to – and tour of – the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown and a whisky-tasting in Elgin. From there we drove through Inverness and down along Loch Ness to Fort William, out past the Glenfinnan Viaduct and out to Mallaig for lunch. Then we drove down to Oban, through Kilmartin Glen and to the Kennacraig ferry terminal for a ferry ride out to the Isle of Islay. We stayed in Bowmore, took tours at the Lagavulin and Bruichladdich distilleries, and had dinner in Port Charlotte. We sailed back to the Kennacraig Ferry terminal, drove to Tarbert, to Inveraray, past Loch Lomond to Edinburgh, and back to Glasgow for the flight home. Nine days in-country – far too much in too-short a time.
We took as many pictures as we could in the rain, toured three distilleries (Glenfiddich, Lagavulin, and Bruichladdich), did a formal whisky-tasting at Gordon and MacPhail headquarters in Elgin, saw many castles, ate wonderful meals, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. My detailed trip journal is on-line at the FamilyTreeHouse.
On the down side, we saw only one piper, but we’ll go back another year in August and catch THE Tattoo (massed pipers in unison) at the castle in Edinburgh for sure!
If you’re considering a trip to Scotland, we whole-heartedly recommend consulting Secret Scotland, a two-person business providing prepared and custom itineraries for folks who want to see the country but don’t want the forced-march of a commercial tour. Check them out! We had them build us a custom itinerary and the utility and detail was amazing!