Anybody who travels for the experience and not just the destination knows not just that unplanned things will happen–many of them less-than-desirable–but also, in a way, welcomes those things. Because the bad times make just as much of an impression, and a story to tell later on, as the good ones. Continue reading
<Sigh> This is it: Doune Castle. It turned out to be our last destination in Scotland and, although I still had a bunch of fun things up my sleeve and we were looking forward to seeing our English friends, it was hard to leave what is very likely our favorite country. I feel like I can breathe again in Scotland, with less people than in the States and most of them friendly; majestic scenery; and also, of course, no deadlines looming over my head. One year later and I still miss Scotland just as much as I did the second we drove over the border and into England. Continue reading
Those of you who have read the Outlander series will no doubt recognize the name Glenfinnan as the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed on the Scottish mainland in his failed attempt to take back the throne, in what is now known as the Jacobite Rising of 1745/1746. Continue reading
Let me just start by saying that we didn’t see the Isle of Skye. Instead, we drove through Skye and will absolutely have to return and stay another day. When I was planning the trip, at some point I looked at Doug and said, “You know, I’ve always wanted to see Eileen Donan Castle.” I know it’s a huge tourist attraction and the most-photographed castle in Scotland (and quite possibly the entire U.K.). However, I still wanted to see it with my own eyes. Continue reading
I have to get this one just right because my husband is descended from the MacAulays of Lewis and he’s very, very proud of his Scottish heritage. Continue reading
I had never heard of Golspie or Dunrobin Castle before I started planning this family trip. I was simply searching for castles that we hadn’t been to before and were intact and interesting for all of us. When I saw Dunrobin Castle online, I knew we simply had to go. It reminded me of the chateaus in the Loire Valley; specifically, Chenonceau, which I had been to. In order to fit a visit to Dunrobin Castle into our plans, I was forced to cancel our two-day stay at the Rua Reidh Lighthouse on the west coast in Wester Ross (a little Game-of-Thronish sounding, right?) and move our trip north. Continue reading
While I love discovering the places that are off the beaten path, most trips with kids invariably involve visiting at least one known tourist trap. I knew that we had to visit Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle with Becky and James, even though Doug and I had been there before. Therefore, we spent the morning of our second day in the Inverness area driving down to Drumnadrochit to see both Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. Continue reading
As I was starting to plan our family trip to Scotland, two different friends asked me if I’d ever read Outlander. I hadn’t–didn’t even remember hearing about it, avid reader that I am. But two recommendations were enough for me and I went to the library to check it out (quite literally). The day I was planning our time in Inverness was the day I started reading Outlander. Those of you who have read (or watched) it, understand how serendipitous this is. I’m probably the only person you’ve heard of who was going to Scotland FIRST and THEN began reading Outlander, right? Continue reading
Edinburgh has been one of my favorite cities, from the first time I looked down from High Street to the Firth of Forth beyond the city. In grey weather, it’s lovely. In good weather, it’s simply breathtaking.
A year ago today, this New Jersey MacAulay clan landed in Edinburgh, for the start of an 18-day journey around Scotland and England. Like most of our big (read–expensive) decisions, I’m not quite sure when the genesis of the vacation occurred.