Scotland Is Calling: Doune Castle

IMG_5443<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

Scotland Is Calling: Skye, Eileen Donan & Spean Bridge

IMG_5153 (3)

Driving through Skye: Beware of sheep and narrow roads…

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

Scotland Is Calling: Dunrobin Castle, Ullapool & the Ferry to the Isle of Lewis

IMG_4746 (2)

Golspie

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

Scotland Is Calling: Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle & The Black Isle

Nessie James Hat

Hang on to your hat, James!

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

Scotland Is Calling: Inverness, Culloden, Clava Cairns & the Cairgorms

IMG_4631

As you head north, Scotland gets even more breathtaking.

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