When we left off on part 3 we were in Chester England en route to Scotland. We still had our rental car. The drive from Chester to Stirling was mostly on the main motorway so was easy. The scenery was nice along the way. Still lots of round abouts but we were getting to be pro’s at that by this time. We stopped at a place to get gas along the route and I couldn’t believe this place. It had a full market with a meat counter and bakery with all kinds of local food. A huge gift shop. This place was enormous. We bought a little snack for the road there. We got to Stirling in mid afternoon and checked into the hotel. Our hotel was within walking distance to Stirling Castle, so off we went. We spent quite a bit of time at Stirling Castle. I wondered if there would be a point in this vacation when one of us would say “Don’t show me another castle”. That never happened. We loved them all. After the castle we walked into the downtown area and had a browse around the town. By the time we walked back up the big hill to the hotel we were pretty much done in so had a bite to eat in the hotel pub and called it a day.
Next morning we set off for Oban which is a fishing village on the east shore of Scotland. We passed through lots of loch’s along the way. Arrived in Oban in time for a late lunch and had the best fish and chips of our trip. So good. We toured through Dunollie Castle in the afternoon. It is a small castle in ruins overlooking the water. There is a small museum there which is in the house built by the McDougall clan when they abandoned the castle in 1745. Then we went to our accomodation for that night. This is what we had been waiting for! One of the highlights of this vacation for sure. We stayed at Barcaldine Castle! Oh my it was stunning. The castle was built in 1609 by the Campbell clan and is said to be haunted by the ghost of Donald Campbell who was murdered in the castle in the 18th century. Barcaldine is also called the Black Castle. It is currently a luxury B & B and wedding venue. We absolutely loved it and were very sad to leave it. Our room was the Lochnell Room. It had a beautiful four poster bed and was furnished with lovely antiques. Our hosts were delightful and provided a really special breakfast. This was a splurge for sure so we could only stay the one night. But we felt we could not go to Scotland and not stay in a castle! We did not see Donald’s ghost by the way. Our room was the turret room on the top left of the picture below.
After leaving Oban we drove to the Isle of Skye, another treat. Just before the bridge over to Skye you come to Eilean Donan Castle. You can’t pass by this one! This is so worth seeing. We spent a few hours touring the castle and then had a bowl of soup in the tea shop. The morning was lovely and we got through our tour before the weather turned rainy. Over the bridge to Skye we went. The Isle of Skye has a really neat vibe to it like I have never experienced before. We made our way to our B & B and checked in. It was a very old stone house turned B & B. It was lovely. Our hosts had even made reservations at a nearby restaurant for us which was delightful. Next morning the weather was terrible. Big rain and big wind. But you can’t let that stop you. Off we went to tour around Skye. The next day the weather was still not great but much better than the day before. I really enjoyed Skye. You can see what a harsh place this would be in winter. Very tough people live there. You have to go if you ever get the chance.
The castle in the picture below is Eilean Donan. Below that is the Old Man of Storr on Skye.
Next we were off to the Loch Ness area. We stayed in Fort Augustus just to the south of the Loch. Quite touristy but fun. Everywhere you go in Scotland the scenery is just so special as is the food and the people. An experience of a lifetime for sure. Then we went to Aberfeldy and stayed there for 5 nights. It was nice to stay put for a few days. We had a little cottage so were able to get some groceries. We did take 1 day off and just rested. The rest of the time we explored Aberfeldy, the surrounding area, went to Dewar’s for the tour of the scotch distillery, took some walks, had an afternoon tea, it was great. We felt somewhat rested up when we left there for our last 3 days in Edinburgh. We drove to the airport in Edinburgh and returned the rental car. We were very proud of ourselves that we returned the car after 3 weeks of driving Wales and Scotland and there was not a scratch on it or ourselves. Quite the experience! We got a taxi into Edinburgh to our hotel in the Old Town. Our hotel was the Hotel du Vin which is located in an old insane asylum. So quirky and fun! And the location was perfect. It was just around the corner from the museum which we visited the first afternoon. We had 3 days in Edinburgh and needed every minute. Loved Edinburgh Castle so much! We went there first thing in the morning when it opened and that was the right move for sure. The crowds were starting to get very big by the time we were almost finished there. We spent a goodly amount of time there and then walked down the mile to Hollyrood Castle. That was neat too. Then a long walk back up the mile back to the hotel. Next day we just wandered the city and met up with some friends who were also visiting Edinburgh. We went to a little pub and had a beverage and some food and compared notes about our holidays. So fun. On our last full day in Edinburgh we took a city bus out to Roslyn Chapel. We definitely ended on a high note. It was super interesting and I highly recommend it.
This is Edinburgh Castle.
Early next morning we had to leave the hotel by about 5:30 AM so we had pre arranged a taxi. Off to the airport and the long, long flight back home. We were gone for 5 weeks but it seemed like a lot shorter than that. I was in no way ready to end the adventure. I could have stayed longer. We did get a good taste of Wales and Scotland but there was so much more to see and experience there. When we booked this trip, I booked it with the thoughts that this would be once in a lifetime trip. Now that I have had a taste of the UK, I really want to go back. Not sure how or when I will pull it off as it is a very expensive place to go but I will find a way!