Edinburgh Journals

All around Scotland

An April 2003 trip to Edinburgh by Jehcekah

Scotland Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland More Photos
Quote: Scotland has always been a place of mystery to me. Photographs of Scotland seem to always be of castles and foggy mountains and I was interested to see how the real thing lived up to the photographs.

All around Scotland

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Overview

Scotland Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
Scotland has always been a place of mystery to me. Ever since I first learned about the tale of the Loch Ness monster, I was intrigued. Photographs of Scotland seem to always be of castles and foggy mountains and I was interested to see how the real thing lived up to the photographs. The weather in Scotland in May was quite pleasant. While we did encounter many days of rain, the temperature was very mild and we did see the sunshine every-so-often. The country is very accessible by car and if you feel comfortable driving on the "wrong" side of the roads and car, you should consider renting a vehicle. There is a lot to see in Scotland and most of it is spread out over vast countryside...Read More

Ardgowan Lodge

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Hotel

Ardgowan Lodge Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
We were shocked when we arrived at Ardgowan Lodge and saw the refurbished stables in their beautiful forested setting. The Bed and Breakfast is surrounded by lush forests and is not far from the very quaint town of Beauly. The owners have worked hard to make the place very special. The garden is stunning and the rooms are not only immaculate but are decorated to the highest quality. Our room had one double bed and had an ensuite bathroom. There are tea and coffee-making facilities and a television in the room. The owners show a "feature film" every night on one of the channels. The night we were there, they showed Loch Ness, a film from 1996, starring Ted Danson. The subject matter mak...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Ardgowan Lodge
Beauly
Edinburgh, Scotland
01463 741745

43 Esslemont Road

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Hotel

Quote:
The proprietors of this Bed and Breakfast, Wilma Hogg and her husband, are the sweetest people in Edinburgh. Their refinished Victorian home serves as their two-room Bed and Breakfast on the south side of Edinburgh in Scotland. We stayed in the ensuite double room, which had a king-sized bed and was pleasantly decorated. There is a private car park in front of the home, which serves as a great amenity because driving around the big city of Edinburgh is pretty awful. Every morning Wilma serves a full English breakfast with your choice of coffee, tea, or juice. Should you have questions about how to get around town or what to see, Wilma has an abundance of information. She also provides a map o...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

43 Esslemont Road
43 Esslemont Road
Edinburgh, Scotland
44 (0) 131 667 1642

Tolquhon Castle

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Attraction

Tolquhon Castle Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
Tolquhoun was established in 1420, when the original tower was built. In 1584, the rest of castle was built by William Forbes and his wife Elizabeth. Most of the castle is of the newer construction. The castle is in ruins now, but most of the outer walls are in tact. It is located on a large area of land, which is forested and farmed. While we were there, the castle was under construction, but it did not interfere with our sightseeing. Bring an umbrella because there are no ceilings and you will get wet if it rains. There is also a small gift shop and free parking. Admission: Adult £2.20; child 75p; concessions £1.60. Please note: Children under the age of 16 must be a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Tolquhon Castle
15 miles north of Aberdeen, on the A920
Edinburgh, Scotland

Loanhead Stone Circle Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
Driving along the castle trail, we noticed that our map was marked with various stone circles and historic sights. We stopped at a few of these, including Loanhead. This stone circle (4000-4500 years old) is located just off of a local road, among a campsite. There is no admission charge. Information about the circles and the area is given on a plaque near the site.

Near Daviot, 5M NW of Inverurie off the A96

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Loanhead Stone Circle
Near Daviot, Aberdeenshire
Edinburgh, Scotland

Dunnideer Hill Fort

Attraction

Dunnideer Hill Fort Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
This "hill fort" is now just a wall on top of a large hill surrounded by farmer's fields. If you can climb up the hill, you will get a great view of the countryside. Scattered around the hill are smaller fragments of the remains of the fort, which was occupied until the 18th century by the Tyrie family. If you look carefully you can make out the remains of the ramparts around the brow of the hill. These form the earliest fortification of this hill, an Iron Age fort dating to the 1st millennium BC.

It lies one mile West of Insch, in Aberdeenshire

Directions:
Follow the signs to the car park at the bottom of the hill.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Dunnideer Hill Fort
12 miles northwest of Inverurie and near Insch
Edinburgh, Scotland

Leith Hall

Attraction

Leith Hall Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
This mansion is part of the National Trust properties and it is where we joined to get our membership and free entrance to the other Scottish National Trust estates. There is a guided tour of the mansion, which was built in 1650 with subsequent additions made throughout the years. The interior is decorated in a style from the 20th century with many interesting Victorian pieces. The tour is lead by volunteers who are usually retired women from the area. Throughout the mansion grounds are gardens, trails and plenty of places to make a picnic. There is a sign that says you need to pay for parking, but we were never asked for money. Huntly, Grampian Phone: 014640831216 ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Leith Hall
Huntly, Grampian
Edinburgh, Scotland AB54 4NQ
(01464) 831216

Craigievar Castle

Attraction

Craigievar Castle Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
This fairly-tale castle is as much of a treat on the inside as it is on the outside. There is a guided tour included in the admission price and the property is part of the National Trust. It was built by William Forbes in 1626 and it remains much as it did when it was occupied by the Forbes family. If you are into ghost stories, I recommend visiting this castle. The Blue Bedroom is the haunt of one of the Gordon clan members, who fell from a window. He has been pushed to his death by "Red" Sir John Forbes, a noble. Several people heard the step of the unfortunate Gordon climbing the stairs to the Blue Bedroom, as if he was living the moment before his death again and again. There ar...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Craigievar Castle
Near Kintocher, Aberdeen
Edinburgh, Scotland

Castle Fraser

Attraction

Castle Fraser  Photo, Aberdeen, Scotland
Quote:
The castle dates from 1575 and incorporates earlier building.

Unfortunately, the guidebooks have incorrect closing times listed and we missed out on touring this castle. We did visit the gift shop, which was very large and had many nice Scottish souvenirs. We also had tea in their tearoom, which was wonderful.

Phone: 01330 833463

website

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Castle Fraser
Inverurie
Aberdeen, Scotland AB51 7LD
+44 0844 4932164

Slains Castle

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Attraction

Slains Castle Photo, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Quote:
Finding Slains can be a bit confusing. We parked our car near the docks in Cruden Bay, where there are many beach homes and boats. There are no signs leading to the castle, so you will have to keep your eyes open. After we walked down from the castle, we realized that there was a much better place to park and walk from. But our way up was too adventurous to pass up! We walked along the edge of the hill just up from the beach, when we came across a large valley, which we climbed down and up to get to the castle. It was messy, but FUN! Anyway, we got to the castle and we were STUNNED by its beauty! It is picture perfect! (Check out the other photo on my main Scotland travel page) The ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Slains Castle
1 Mile From Cruden Bay
Aberdeen, Scotland

Spynie Castle

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Attraction

Spynie Castle Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
This castle is a former bishop's residence which was built bit by bit throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. The most impressive part of the ruins is the six stories tall David's Tower. Within the east wall of the stout tower are five vaulted chambers, one above the other, built into the thickness of one wall. These mural rooms are just large enough to take a bed, and probably served as housing for visitors. The inner walls and vaults in the tower have collapsed leaving only a thin outer wall. It has required repairs in recent years. The garret and upper works are gone, replaced by an ugly Plexiglas roof that keeps the rain off of the plaster walls, which are in surprisingly good repair. A ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Spynie Castle
Elgin
Edinburgh, Scotland
0131 668 8926

Urquhart Castle

Attraction

Urquhart Castle Photo, Drumnadrochit, Scotland
Quote:
Definitely one of the most popular attractions in all of Scotland, Urquhart Castle sits on the infamous Loch Ness. The castle is now in ruin, but it dates from the 1230s. Most of the existing buildings date from the 14th century and include the Grant Tower (16th century) the best-preserved part of the complex. There is a brand-new visitor center, which includes a large gift shop, cafe, and multimedia presentation of the history of the castle and area. Adjacent to the visitor's complex is a free car park. Address: 2M S of Drumnadrochit on the A82 Phone: 01456 450551 ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 9, 2004

Urquhart Castle

Drumnadrochit

Scotland's Castle Trail

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Scotland's castle trail is a chance to travel around the Aberdeenshire and Grampian area's castles and ruins. We didn't have enough time to see all 11 castles on the trail, so we only hit some of the highlights. A map and information on each of the castles is available on the website listed below. One tip: Check opening/closing times for the castles before driving to them. We found that even the guidebooks had incorrect times printed in them. All of the castles on the trail charge an admission fee. Some of them are part of Historic Scotland and some are part of Scottish National Trust. Both of these groups offer a membership (for a fee), which includes free entrance to their attract...Read More
Quote:
We took this route from Aberdeen to Inverness, stopping at many of the towns along the way. The trail includes the towns of Aberdeen, Balmedie, Newburgh, Cruden Bay, Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Pennan, MacDuff, Banff, Portsoy, Cullen, Buckie, Spey Bay, Lossiemouth, Burghead, and Findhorn.

We were fortunate enough to have a warm, sunny day for our drive. The highlights of our drive on the trail were Slains Castle (near Cruden Bay) and the coastal scenery of much of the drive.

I am including tips on some of the various places that we stopped along the way to Inverness.

Address: Aberdeenshire and Grampian Counties