Almost 2 weeks without an update doesn't mean that we haven't been doing anything. In fact its the exact opposite, we've been on the road non stop since the 17th July and I'm just grabbing a quick chance to write up the diary before we launch in to our next tour of the North West Highlands.
During the last 2 weeks we have been taking the chance to update our notes on the attractions around about the Inverness area. We were hoping to get a good look at the developments at the new Culloden Visitor Centre, but it doesn't look as if there is much hope of the new facility being completed in 2007.
Whilst visiting Culloden we made the small detour to visit Fort George so that we could enjoy a leisurely tour and make full use of the audio guides. Fort George covers a large area and we found that it took almost 2 hours to complete the visit if you stop to listen to everything that is said in the commentary. During our visit the staff were preparing the parade ground for the Fort George Millitary Tattoo. Unfortunately, we were too late to get tickets this year despite trying to order them back in May!
Whenever, we visit Inverness we try to spend at least a day on the Black Isle as we know so many lovely places to visit in this corner of Scotland. And when we visit the Black Isle we always make a trip to the Culbokie Inn as it serves one of the best pints of IPA (Indian Pale Ale for those that don't know). Normally we are lucky with the weather and can sit outside enjoying the sunshine and the views over the Cromarty Firth to Ben Wyvis, but this time we were forced inside by a cold wind. Inside the Culbokie Inn is not quite so pretty, but this is a no-nonsense local pub which we enjoy for the friendly people and good beer rather than the decor.
We did get some good weather in Inverness and that gave us a chance to try out some more of the forest walks around the Reelig Glen. We were enjoying the walks so much that we lost track of our time and our intention of ending the walk with a sample of wine at Moniack Castle was missed because we forgot to check the closing times. A gulp of luke warm bottled water was no compensation.
15th July 2007 -
Another week of clocking up the miles with a trip around our favourite part of Scotland, Argyll. Yet again we were re-visiting our selected B&Bs to keep in touch with them and we also had the opportunity to inspect some new properties.
Our 3 day tour took us all over Argyll from south of Tarbert to the lovely little village of Port Appin. Driving in Argyll is always a pleasure when it involves the wonderfully scenic route along the A816. Even in the middle of July, this road was almost empty. So many visitors fall into the trap of touring Scotland via the well-worn tourist trail of the A9 / A82.
Ach well, Secret Scotland customers know where to find the best places to visit in Scotland. One little tip that we will give to anyone visiting Inveraray is to seek out the Fern Point Hotel. This hotel, situated in the oldest building in Inveraray, has been newly refurbished and it includes a great seafood restaurant.
3rd July 2007 -
Mike's turn to update the Scotland Travel Diaries and I've certainly travelled a lot in the last 2 days, Stirling, Callander, Alloa, Dollar, Aberdeen, Aboyne, Ballater, Braemar, Blairgowrie, Pitlochry, Dalguise and Dunkeld. Delivering postcards, double checking route directions, researching some alternative roads and visiting a fabulous new B&B.
It's always very flattering when we are contacted by B&B's to ask if we might consider them for our guides and we are always on the look out for new places that offer something special. Sometimes we find a place with a great location, an interesting history, a quirky feature or owners that go to exceptional lengths to give a quality service. When I visited Glendavan this week I was delighted to discover it had all of these elements.
Originally a hunting lodge built in 1885 for Alexander Ogston, the Milne family have lovingly made this house into one of the most luxurious B&Bs that you could ever hope to find. Glendavan offers a spacious bedroom and 2 large suites (each with a lounge and one with a conservatory as well). The rooms are packed with the "WOW" factor and the bathrooms are exceptional. I haven't visited many B&B's (or hotels for that matter) which can boast a bathroom with a chandelier.
The great thing about Glendavan is the way it delivers the creature comforts of a 5 star hotel with the relaxed atmosphere of a B&B. If you want anything you either help yourself or you ask and you're wishes will be accommodated. Of course, this doesn't come cheap, but it does come at price that represents good value for occassions that merit something special.
So where is it? Well if you buy the Secret Scotland Guide to Royal Deeside you can find out!