Scotland Tourism and Travel Guide
This travelogue is excerpts from my parents trip to the UK in 1988. It contains lots of information on traveling to the UK if you read between the lines.
Wednesday, September 21. Today we will go to the Forte Hotel Albany in Glasgow. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. From the airport we saw Glasgow Cathedral, where people were doing archeological digs, the Royal Infirmary, the Robert Peel statue, he started the police force which is why they are called Bobbies. We saw some 15th century houses and were told that Glasgow University is 500 years old. We saw the Sir Walter Scott statue in George Square, the University of Strathclyde and a couple of stone lions, the post office and went to Pizza land for lunch of mushroom soup and a salad. We saw some securitor cars (like Brooks armored cars, sort of). The Taxis are box like designed so a gentleman could sit erect without removing his opera hat. We visited John Smith and Son, Ltd., booksellers, who maintain a five floor store, books galore, but they didn't have the one book I asked to buy. We saw both single and double decked buses, and found that the term for umbrellas is brollies (if more than one), but a brolly if only one. We saw the Clyde river. Later we went to Pollok Park to see the Burrell Collection (see below), Highland Cattle and they were brown not black and saw where the police train their horses and dogs.
The Burrell collection in Pollock Country Park Glasgow - Statuary including Auguste Rodin's The Thinker, stained glass panels, Roman 2nd century Warwick vase with 18th century reconstruction, daggers, knives, spears, Chinese vases, suitsof armor, swords, pottery, jugs, tankards, pewter, silver, glass, tapestries, paintings, furniture, a canopied bench, clothing ca 1650, artifacts 3500-3100 bc, embroidery, religous articles, misericords (hinged seats for church stall), Piscina (French ca 1500 drains for absolutions at an altar), alabasters, an English fireplace ca 1550, a Jack clock late 16th century.
On September 22nd, we took pictures of Loch Ness and Loch Lomond as we drove into the Scottish Highlands which cover about nine million acres (but very few people). Excellent grouse hunting and fishing for salmon in the Highlands. It was raining today. There was a 90 pence toll for the bridge over the river Clyde and then we drove thru Dumbarton, Crianlarich, Balloch and Stirling. The names seem unfamiliar to us. Scotland is mostly Calvinistic Presbyterian.
We passed by Ballantine whisky distillery and also an Old Smuggler and the Rock of Dumbarton, an island in the middle of the Clyde river. We saw more sheep than I ever need to see again all over Scotland and many cattle too. Oh, I nearly forgot, our guide told us that Crossing Guards are known here as Lollipop ladies. He also mentioned that in Scotland Juries have 15 people, England 12 like us. In Scotland, there are only two possible verdicts, guilty or not guilty. In England, there are three, guilty, not guilty and not proven.
We noted Loch Lomond is fresh water, 600 feet deep, 26 miles long. Fish are abundant and is a breeding ground for seagulls. We also here passed the Thistle Bagpipe works. And found that a detour is called for a diversion. At the end of Loch Lomond we saw a fine waterfall coming down the side of a mountain. This was at the North end of the lake. Logging is the big business in the Highland, which are about 120 miles north of the mouth of the St. Lawrence river.
We went on through Glencoe village where we saw more seagulls towards Inverness and got to Fort William where we had a lunch stop. This is near Ben Nevis, the highest point in Britain at 4406 feet. We went through the Speam valley where there was a statue in memory of the Commandos who died in World War 2 between 1939 and 1945. Then on past Loch Lochy and South Laggan in a valley where army pilots once been trained to fly low as if in combat. Through Invergarry and then stopped at Caledonian Canal to let several boats through and on to Fort Augustus and finally Loch Ness at 2:35 pm.
Loch Ness measures 24 miles long, is a thousand feet deep, one mile wide at its widest and no we didn't see Nessie the Loch Ness monster. Think she was taking an after lunch siesta. I'm told that she often does.
On through Whitebridge, approaching the North Sea. Very windy and were told it gets dark by 3 pm in December. At the end of Loch Ness we had seen a young man windsurfing and we also saw a beautiful rainbow. there were stone walls along the roadway at Dumblair and we passed two railroad bridges, one metal, one stone, in the Spey valley. Here we did see another longer and brighter rainbow.
In Inverness we went to the James Pringle Ltd woolens factory. We were now about 500 miles north of London England. Now we will head south towards Perth, passing through the ski resort of Aviemore. Our hotel for the night in Aviemore was the Coylumbridge. Tomorrow we go on to Edinburgh and stay at the Utell George hotel.
Friday, September 23. The time and miles fly past. We leave Aviemore at 9 am and ride to Perth on A-9. We see snow fences and snow gates which close off the side roads to keep the highways clear. Past Calvine and Blair Athol and Buar. We went through the factory where the looms were set up and operating and saw the intricate weaving method. They wee weaving the plaid patterns which we were later offered as yard goods for sale in the retail section. They were made in about 60 inch wide pieces by whatever yards in length you might need. I bought a MacKinnon plaid necktie there. We stopped at Blair Castle, home of the Duke of Athol. Blair Castle dates from the 12th century.
At Blair Athol, we visited a distillery where Scotch whisky is produced. we saw the large copper vats used in the process and were given small sample bottle when we departed. Beck's Scotch is very smooth. The guide in the distillery was wearing a kilt. We noticed the unusual way his shoes were laced, a sort of open lacing not over the tongues as we lace our shoes.
The Scottish Highlands have sheep, sheep, some cattle and some more sheep, a few horses and sheep. Then we stopped at Teymouth Castle near Kenmore on Loch Tay. Passed fields of yellow rapeseed used for cooking oil and for cattle feed. the farmers are subsidized for growing it.
We went through Killin, a resort area town and saw the Swedish Lutheran church there, and a picturesque waterfall and some rapids Passed by the Queen Elizabeth forest park and so into Callendar for lunch at 1:00pm. Left at 2:15 and we are now leaving the Highlands. Drove through the Trossachs, privately owned, through Stirling and went to Stirling Castle. This Castle is situtated on a 150 foot craig. It was prominent in the Scottish wars of succession in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was the home of the Stuart kings between 13790 and 1603. James VI of Scotland or better known as James I of England lived here. Other buildings worth visiting, Argyll''s lodging and Cowane's Hospital, the Church of the Holy Rude and the Cambuskenneth Abbey. The Abbey was founded in the 11th century, however the present building is a 15th century building with a open timber roof and five sided apse in the choir. Mary Queen of Scots and James VI was crowned in the Abbey. We could see the Wallace Memorial in the distance. Notes say we went by Bannockburn, a battle site, and a 4:15 we took M-9 the last 35 miles to Edinburgh, after stopping at Holyroodhouse, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.
Saturday, September 24th. We saw the home of Alexander Graham Bell near charlotte Square, that of James Young Simpson who first used chloroform instead of ether, the Royal Bank of Scotland, the physicians College, the Scott memorial, Robert Louis Stevenson's home at 17 Heriot Row and went to Edinburgh Castle. From the Castle we could see the Firth of Forth which flows into the North Sea, the Scottish United Services Museum, medals and flags, the Great Hall which is full of spears, swords, armor and pistol and 440 feet above sea level. Next we visited Holyrood Castle which has 247 rooms and the Holyrood Abbey. Incidentally, Rood means cross.
On September 25, we leave Scotland to Chester England. We drive through Galashiels and Loanstone and Moffat and Broughton where we see sheepdog trails. On A74 towards Carlisle, through Ecclefechan Village and left Scotland at Gretna.