27th March 2007 -
It's been a busy week with too many diversions for us to manage to cover much distance on the road, but next week promises to be more interesting as we are heading down to the Solway coast, another of Scotland's hidden corners which is full of great finds.
When going down to this part of Scotland, we always try to fit in a visit to Kitty's Tearoom in New Galloway. Kitty's Tearoom is one of those quaint places where it feels like time has stood still in all of the best ways. The food is well priced, the staff are courteous and the local customers are full of great banter. New Galloway is also a lovely place that is very easy to miss as it sits on a road that doesn't get much traffic other than the locals and the more adventurous tourists.
One visit we did fit in last week was a quick trip to Stirling Castle to check on the progress being made to the renovation of the Royal Apartments. Major renovation has already taken place to the Great Hall and its vaulted wooden roof is an impressive sight. You can easily imagine how splendid the hall would have looked at banquet times with the five large fireplaces roaring away. The Royal Apartments are still a long way away from completion, but you can view the renovation process and it is in some ways more interesting to see the buildings in this state as you know that what you are viewing is original stonework.
The weather in Scotland has been great this last week so we are looking forward to hitting the road again and showing you more from our travels.
19th March 2007 -
One of the benefits of travelling around Scotland to visit B&B's for our guides, is that we meet and make friends with so many great people. So this weekend we travelled over to Anstruther in Fife to re-visit Alistair and Lesley who own the lovely Troustrie House B&B.
Alistair and Lesley are dedicated to the principles of Green Tourism and they have been planting a small forest of willow, alder, ash, hawthorn, holly and Scot's pines in the field adjacent to the house. During a telephone chat some weeks ago I volunteered to help out with this as I have had lots of experience of planting trees on National Trust projects around Ben Lawers, Killiecrankie, and Culzean. I also very kindly volunteered Aurelia's services too!
Despite gale force winds, it was a very enjoyable weekend and a great chance to travel around the many pretty villages of East Neuk again. Lesley did us all proud with a fine spread of home baking and we had a very comfortable night in the luxury of Troustrie House, always one of our favourite places.
On our return from Anstruther we took a very indirect route via Crail, Hill of Tarvit and Falkland Palace. The restoration work at Falkland Palace is an ongoing project, so it is always interesting to see the latest developments. It's a pity that Fife is so often overlooked by tourists, as its many pretty villages are wonderful to explore and they compensate for the lack of dramatic scenery that can be found in the Highlands.
4th March 2007 -
It was such a lovely day yesterday that we decided to head across to Edinburgh and re-visit Edinburgh Castle. The capital was looking beautiful in the spring sunshine and it was a great chance to get some more photos.
Our original plan was to visit Edinburgh Castle and then head over to Stirling for some more photos. To save us some time walking about Edinburgh, we decided not to follow our own advice to leave the car near Dean Bridge and opted to use a metered car park near the Castle instead. The visit to Stirling never happened as we became too engrossed in the many exhibitions that Edinburgh Castle has to offer - and then came back to a £5.80 parking fee...Ouch!!!
We were once again very impressed by the quality of the displays in the Castle. We went with the primary purpose of visiting the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Regimental Museum, just opened in the summer of 2006. It is a very well presented museum about this cavalry regiment also known as the Scots Greys for their white/grey horses. A large part is dedicated to Sergeant Charles Ewart who, during the battle of Waterloo, managed the gallant capture of a French standard and Eagle. Needless to say, Mike and I have different opinions about Sergeant Charles Ewart!
While in Edinburgh, we took our time to take lots of photos around the Castle and in the town, below are a few samples.