Scotland Journals

Kilts and Cock-a-leekie: A Yank Wanders Through Scotland

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A June 2008 trip to Scotland by Green Dragon

87 W Bow Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland More Photos
Quote: Three weeks in the highlands and islands of Scotland in June/July 2008
Flying into Glasgow Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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Oh, I was so excited! I had to work a half day on Friday, but jumped out of there as soon as my boss said I could, and away we went! We started this trip by getting to the Jacksonville Airport (JAX) 3 hours early, per recommendation, and had a quick bite for lunch at Quiznos. We had very little trouble getting our boarding passes and getting through security, everything went rather quickly, especially for a Friday afternoon, and I was pleasantly surprised to have a 1.5 hour wait at our gate. The plane boarded a bit late and then sat for about 20 minutes on the tarmac before we went, so we arrived 40 minutes late – not tragic, but it did mean we had to make the mad dash through Philadelphia (PHL) ...Read More
Edinburgh Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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We went to collect our bags – well, some of them. My bag and D’s were missing, so we filed a claim and waited for K and C. K’s bag was also missing, so we had 3 of the 6 checked bags. What a wonderful start! D’s medications were in his bag, so this might turn out to be a very bad thing – he takes stuff for his heart, his blood pressure, his diabetes, etc. We went to call the taxi I had pre-arranged to get us to Edinburgh, but the number wasn’t working. We did, however, find a minivan taxi that would fit all 6 of us (if we had had all of our luggage, it wouldn’t have fit, though!). Jim was quite nice and chatted to us all the way over about politics, energy crisis, The Knowledge, etc. He took u...Read More
Halfway up Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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We woke up refreshed (or mostly so) and decided to make some tea and go in a search for breakfast. Ha! We forgot it was Sunday morning! So, while we saw hundreds of girls walking around in pink bra tshirts, bras, and the odd corset, (some wrapped in thermal blankets on top of that, for a truly surreal look) we wandered around Victoria street looking for something that would serve us food. Everything was, of course, closed – foolish Americans! Looking for a Denny’s in Scotland – that’s not right!!! J We wandered around street after street, and finally decided that perhaps the Royal Mile, Tourist Tat haven that it is, might actually cater to foolish tourists like us. So we climbed up the ro...Read More

Monday, 6/16: Takeaway?

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St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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This morning started around 10 am and I tried to call about the luggage, both the one found and the one not yet found. The number I was given was always either busy, or a recording answered. I left a message, and called FlyBe; they gave me the courier number that had our found bag. They said it would be delivered by 2pm today, excellent! I called Enterprise to arrange for our car the next day. I had reservations at the airport, but they said they couldn’t come pick us up in the city, so they would have to transfer my reservation to the city office. So I called the city office, and luckily they informed me that they couldn’t waive the CDW insurance there, only the airport could, so back to ...Read More

Tuesday, 6/17: Highlands, Here We Come!

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Cairngorm Mountains Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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We got up early for our taxi ride through the city to Edinburgh Airport to pick up our cars. The taxi drivers had trouble finding the Enterprise office, and let us on a merry chase around the mulberry bush, but eventually we found it. We were upgraded from the reserved Standard sizes to a minivan and a Standard (later known as the Car from Hell), which worked out fine. The last week of the trip, one of the cars had to fit me, J, M and D and our luggage, while K and C dropped theirs off and went to wander around London. There was a problem with my credit card covering the CDW, which would evidently have been a problem even if we hadn’t been upgraded. The coverage only goes up to $50,000 vehi...Read More
Clava Cairns Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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This morning I made another effort to find someone who knew where my luggage was. I called Premier Courier, and got hold of an angel by the name of (I believe) Lorraine. She, finally, was willing to actually make an effort to find out what happened to my luggage. She called me back in about 10 minutes, and said she had found the bag. And then the heavens opened up and the angels started singing down from above! The problem was that Servisair had sent the paperwork for my bag, but not the bag itself, so it thought it was done, and closed the file. Premier had the paperwork but no bag, so couldn’t deliver it. What a mess! Lorraine was able to assure me that they would deliver my bag tomo...Read More

Thursday, 6/19: Aberdeen Hell

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Unicorn in hiding Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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This morning Scott was filling in for Dolly in breakfast duties, and our plan was to Dunnotter, Aberdeen and Aberlour, possibly followed by Cawdor Castle, Culloden, and Clava Cairns. I knew it was ambitious, but not by how much.We got on the road, without our handy-dandy and much-needed GPS signal. Evidently there is a local RAF base, and they block out signal in town. It was fine once we were in the mountains, but by then we had taken the south road, which would take us much longer. The Car from Hell was giving K trouble, and wouldn’t shift gears easily. It completely refused to shift often, and didn’t have enough oomph to get up hills, even in first gear. It put us all on edg...Read More

Friday, 6/20: Ferry Tales

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Dunrobin Castle Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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Dolly was back serving breakfast this morning, and we were sad to go. Jane had been so sweet and helpful, we vowed we’d be back some day. The two cars went their separate ways – K and C were intent on turning in the Car from Hell in for a more angelic model, while the rest of us climbed in the minivan and headed up towards Dunrobin Castle. If we missed each other there, we would meet in Wick around 4pm – we figured it probably wouldn’t take all day to make the trip, but it would be nice to ramble along. Our first stop was Culloden (on GBHC), as we hadn’t had time to visit that the other day. The visitor’s centre was amazing, and had a lot of very interesting stories, artifacts, ...Read More
Italian Chapel Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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This morning we had a great breakfast. Morag puts out a selection of interesting jellies/jams, such as lime and lemon, as well as black currant, marmalade and apricot. There was a couple from Oxford also eating breakfast with us, who specialized in prehistoric archeology. We figured they had been to Orkney many times, but no, this was their first visit. How could they not have visited earlier? The guy had just retired, and had lived all his life just a short distance away in Oxford. I suppose the differences between Americans and Europeans is that Americans think 100 years is a long time, while Europeans think 100 miles is a long way.We visited the Tomb of the Eagles and the Ita...Read More

Saturday, 6/21 Part II

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Stenness Standing Stone Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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On the way back to the B&B to pick J up for dinner, we stopped at Coween Hill to climb up to one of the local burial sites/passage tombs. I stayed in the car, as my evil Ecco shoes still wanted to chew my feet up, but K and C made the long, steep climb up to this hilltop site. It had a standing stone or two, and a passage tomb, but by this time C had seen enough. It’s another rock, and another cairn, joy. She was less than impressed by such sites by now. I do realize that after a bit, it’s hard to see yet ANOTHER ruined abbey, pile of rocks, old cemetery, Victorian manor house. It happens to all of us, but it wears off fairly quickly for some (like me). The dim days were beginni...Read More
Skara Brae Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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The second day we visited the Ring of Brodgar first, hoping for some better weather than the night before, but it was still threatening to take off with us, especially when I spread my arms and fanned out my shawl. I think I looked like a really fat, green, fuzzy eagle. The stone circle itself is huge and very impressive, but the icy wind and rain made us less than happy to be there. Seriously, this is summer solstice? I’d hate to see winter solstice. Of course, the light would be so low at that time of year that I wouldn’t actually SEE winter solstice, would I?Next was our appointment at Maes Howe, a Neolithic chambered cairn. The path up to it was surrounded by fencing and barbed w...Read More

Monday, 6/23: Horton Hears a Smoo?

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Isle of Lewis Photo, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
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Oh, I hate getting up early, early for a long day of travel! But, the good news is that it’s already light out at the 4 am wake up time. We skipped breakfast, as our hostess was still sleeping and we could get food on the ferry, except for K and C, who would wait until after the ferry trip. And guess what? The bloody sun was bloody shining. Sure, now that we are leaving, it decides to come out and taunt us like a bratty kindergartener. We’ll show that contrary orb. We’ll just enjoy it all that much more now that he’s deigned to arrive, showing off like a braggart.I seriously debated running over to the Ring of Brodgar for some brief sunny shots of the stones, and K was thinking the...Read More

Tuesday, 6/24: Tragedy Strikes C

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Calanais Stone Circle Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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Graham’s wife, Jean, served us a yummy breakfast and we headed out around the ‘loop’ that first day. We saw the Arnol Blackhouse Museum, where they had both the blackhouse set up, but also a later vintage house. This later house could easily have housed my great-grandparents (even though they were from Ohio). It was filled with flowered wallpaper, peeling in places from the damp, lace table covers and chintz décor. My great-grandmother was the McKenzie, so I kept picturing her everywhere along this trip, even though to my knowledge she never set foot in Scotland. After Arnol, we moved on to Dun Carloway, a pictish round tower ruin. K, C, M and I climbed up and scrambled about. It was easily acc...Read More

Wednesday, 6/25: The Golden Road

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Sheep Maze Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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K and C were going to get up early to go see the sandy beaches in the sunlight, but alas, the weather refused to cooperate and was once again overcast and windy, with frequent promises of rain. We went into the breakfast room, surprised to see a group of young men finishing up their meal. We didn’t think there were enough rooms in this B&B to fit us and them! However, Jean told us they were staying in one of their other properties, a self-catering place, working on contract at the airport. K and C went off to Uig in search of beaches and longhouses. The rest of us went searching for beaches as well, but headed south to Harris instead. It was rainy on the way down, and very misty...Read More

Thursday, 6/26: Over the Sea to Skye

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Looking out from Dunvegan Castle Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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Oh, how we were tired of cold, windy, rainy mornings! We didn’t want to hear one more time how we had JUST missed 7 weeks of glorious weather. We would be happy with just one day of no rain. But alas, we were in Scotland, and I don’t think we got one all sunny day the entire trip. That’s our luck, I suppose.We set off for Tarbert just after breakfast, as we had a ferry appointment at 11:50. Once again, the trip there was wet, misty and rainy. K and C took a stab at finding Luskentyre Beach before getting to the ferry, while we just relaxed and hung out near the ferry terminal, kind of pooped out about adventure at the moment. And I certainly wasn’t up for another bout with tha...Read More

Friday, 6/27: Three Chimneys – Yum!

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Scottish Traffic Jam Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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Sunshine? Yes, sunshine! Woohoo! Alas, it was not to last, but it was nice to see the landscape of Skye, as beautiful as it always is, in the dappled sunlight peeking through the clouds now and then. We had 1:00 lunch reservations at Three Chimneys near Dunvegan, so decided to come at it from the south, and did a circle to Struan. There was a little B road that avoided Portree, so we got adventurous and took that. It was there that we came across our first true Scottish Traffic Jam, a herd of sheep in the road. We had previously seen several individual sheep (cavorting, of course) in the road, but this was the first full herd we had seen taking over the road. They were quite reluctant to...Read More
Duntulm Castle window Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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Today was our day to explore the Trotternish Peninsula, the fabled Quiraing, Kilt Rock, and the Old Man of Storr. Of course, we hoped for lovely weather, and of course we were disappointed. There were moments of sun and moments of not-so-wet, but for the most part it was rainy, misty, and windy. However, we weren’t waiting around for some mythical sun. Off we went, forging ahead into the dim, grey beyond!As per Hazel’s, our B&B hostess’ advice, we drove around the peninsula in a counter-clockwise direction. We got off at the Old Man of Storr, and walked up the muddy, slippery, but lovely wooded trail to see the famous rock formation. We climbed and climbed, slipped and slid, but ...Read More
The Quiraing Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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The beach itself was very rocky, but had all sorts of fascinating bits, some incredible colors in the algae, and the pier was rather pretty. It all looked rich and saturated in the overcast skies. I watched birds playing in the rocks, looking for lunch for a bit, while J combed the beach looking for interesting rocks.We took a small road into the Quiraing for a while, and saw some spectacular scenery. This is the area that always looks misty and otherworldly in the photos you see of Skye. It is like it’s out of another time, another place, another reality. It was truly the land of the fae, the fairies, the wee folk. We stopped after an overload of beauty, and went back. This was not ...Read More
Fairy Glen Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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J had a migraine, so we left him at home to go chase the little sun we saw peeking through the ever present clouds. Today we were heading south to explore that part of the island, but first we went to see Trumpan Church on the Waternish peninsula. This was a nice seaside ruined church with some lovely graves on the edge of nowhere. On the way back we visited Shilasdair Dye and Yarn Shop (www.shilasdair-yarns.co.uk), where she hand dyes all her fibers, many from locally gathered plants. We got a fascinating tour of her workshop, and purchased some items from her. I got some yarns for my friend who knits. And of course K had to go scramble among the rocks at the shore to gather some of the a...Read More
The Lone Piper Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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I had a strange dream last night; I was hosting a party and it was pouring rain, but I forgot to unlock the door. All my guests were outside starting a riot and heading off to Spain. Hmmm.Hazel once again wowed us with her breakfast. She made Scottish pancakes for all, which are sweeter and thicker than the American version. She also served this crystallized ginger preserve with them that was simply delectable, and very addicting. K practically growled when we tried to take some of hers. Take-away?We bid a sad farewell to Hazel, and headed down through Portree, Sligachan and Broadford. We stopped so I could get some last photographs of a fabulous waterfall near Sligachan...Read More

Tuesday, 7/1: Columba’s Island

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Fingal's Rock Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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I tossed a lot in the night as the bed was a little hard, and there was no sheet. However, we discovered in the morning that the duvet cover came off, so I had a sheet and we could spread the duvet under both of us to add some to the comfort of the bed. We went down for breakfast, and chatted with the other guests. One was an Italian cyclist who was cycling to Iona today and off to Oban later on, and whom we considered an idiot for doing so in the rain. We had seen him briefly the night before as we were checking in; he had just showed up and was inquiring about vacancies. The other visitor was Ian, the Mobile Librarian. He spent each month driving around the Isle of Mull, stopping f...Read More
Isle of Staffa Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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While the weather was drier, it was not much less windy, so the morning cruise to Staffa didn’t launch again. Hopefully it would work in the afternoon, as this was our last day on the island and I really wanted to see Staffa and Fingal’s Cave. I spent the morning walking around the beach a bit, exploring a small graveyard up the road, and having lunch with M at the Keel Row again. Like I said before, the lunches were great, and the honey chicken baguette I had was yummy.Around 2pm, J and I wandered down to the dock at John’s advice, and were able to catch the cruise that was going to Staffa. The Calmac Ticket Office Clerk, Janis, called the pilot to verify that yes, he was indeed launc...Read More

Thursday, 7/3: Glen Coe is Calling

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Sound of Mull Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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John had thoughtfully left us some cereal for breakfast, and told me where to grab the milk from in the fridge, so we looked hopefully at the sun peeking through the clouds, and set off on the thirty mile Evil Single Track Road. I was in the driver’s seat this trip, D having done his time on the way in. It wasn’t as bad when it wasn’t raining and you weren’t tired from a day of travel. However, there were still some nail-biting moments, though it’s harder to bite your nails when they are embedded in the steering wheel, I must say. The scenery, now that we could actually see it, was stunning. The tall mountains were green and gold, and simply took your breath away. The sun was creeping down ...Read More
Doune Castle Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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While the bed was much softer and more comfortable than previous places, there was a slight angle on my bed, which made me feel as if I was mountain climbing all night. I fixed that for the next night by stuffing one of the extra blankets under the edge of the mattress, no worries. There was also lots of light coming through which made it difficult for me to get to sleep, but it wasn’t too bad.Breakfast was pretty standard, though the mushrooms were canned and not fresh and the haggis was very dry. I guess I’m spoiled. Not everyone can cook like Jane and Hazel, I suppose, we should be happy it was yummy. It was plenty of food, regardless, and more than enough to charge us up for the d...Read More

Saturday, 7/5: Not-so-Stirling

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Rose  Photo, Stirling, Scotland
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My last day in Scotland, sigh. In all honesty, I was tired of living out of my suitcase. I was tired of traveling with my family. However, I could have easily set up house somewhere and settled right in. My first guess would have been either Portree or Grantown-on-Spey, as there seemed to be plenty going on in either place to keep me happy, and plenty within easy visiting reach for many years to come. I love them to death, but I would have had to send my family back first. I could bring the friends back, but the family had to go. OK, you get the point.We had several options for our last day. Should we go on a cruise on Loch Katrine or Loch Lomond? How about Loch Etive? Perh...Read More

Sunday, 7/6: A Case of Mistaken Identity

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Loch Tay Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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This was it. We are leaving the bonnie shores to our mundane lives once again. Three glorious, wet weeks in Scotland were coming to a close. I had to get up the next morning and go to work, at both jobs, no less. We got all packed up and left, and then it hit us. Which airport did we fly into? GPS said there were two Glasgow Airports, one at Paisley and one at Prestwick. I had no idea which was ours. I knew it started with a P, big help that was. Our tickets simply had the airport code, GLA. No help there, either, as the GPS didn’t know airport codes. I kept calling myself stupid for not researching or knowing this.The question racked my brain all the way down, though I di...Read More

Conclusion

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Near Ullapool Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
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CONCLUSIONScotland is the land of the brave, they say. Yes, they would have to be to drive those roads! The people were, for the most part, incredibly nice, helpful, warm and welcoming. The food was mostly great, often mediocre, but occasionally horrible. The scenery was spectacular, breath-taking, and many more words which I have over-used in this account. My favorite day was the drive along the north coast of Scotland. Who knew such beauty existed there? I can’t wait to go through my pictures and relive the vistas. My favorite place to stay was the Lodge at Edinbane, followed closely by Kinross House B&B in Grantown-on-Spey. My favorite place was Skye, but that’s a fai...Read More

87 W Bow

Hotel | "Wonderful Self-Catering near the Royal Mile"

87 W Bow Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
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This is a fantastic place for a group of tourists. It may be a little expensive for just two, but we had a group of 6 and it was perfect.There are two apartments, on the third and fourth floors. The bottom apartment had a double bedroom and a room with two single beds. The double room had a canopy bed, its own bathroom, and a little room on the way to the bathroom with another day bed. The bedroom had a sitting area with a couch, as well. The apartment has a large living room (and internet access!) as well as a kitchen, dining room, another bathroom and washer and dryer.The upstairs apartment has two singles, a living room, kitchenette, bathroom and dining area. The livin...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

87 W Bow
87 West Bow, Victoria Street
Edinburgh
+474 18358 23248

Kinross House B&B￿

Hotel | "Incredible Welcome, Delicious Breakfasts"

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http://www.kinrosshouse.co.uk/Kinross House was rather easy to find, a left shortly after you get into town and you are there. The welcome Jane gave us was very warm, helpful, and a delightful feeling of home. We had four different rooms, and they were comfortable, well appointed, nicely decorated and clean. She has a computer available for guest use, and a cozy lounge for relaxing in with a nice picture window. The place is within easy walking distance of 'downtown' Grantown-on-Spey (such as it is) and within easy driving distance of the Grampian Mountains and park.Breakfasts are incredibly tasty, and ordered the evening before for full personalization. Jane makes this gr...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Kinross House B&B￿
Woodside Avenue
Grantown-on-Spey
+44 (1479) 872042

Mill of Eyrland

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Hotel | "Nice Place, Mediocre Location"

Mill of Eyrland Photo, Orkney Islands, Scotland
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http://www.millofeyrland.co.uk/OK, if you don't have a real address (as in something to put into mapquest or GPS), please have good signage. We drove by this place twice in the darkening afternoon looking for it, because the sign was on the wall, but the same color as the stone wall and practically covered with vines. However, once we got in, it was great. Morag was a polite hostess (if a little reticent after our last hostess), and the rooms were beautiful.We had four rooms - two single rooms, a room with two singles in it, and a double. The double was in the loft with the two singles room, and they shared a big bathroom and shower. The double had it's own lou...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Mill of Eyrland
Stenness
Orkney KW16 3HA
+44 1856 850136

Hal o' the Wynd

Hotel | "Convenient and Clean"

Hal o' the Wynd Photo, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
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http://www.halothewynd.com/index.htmlHal 'o the Wynd is in a great location, and has warm and friendly hosts. It's nothing special, nothing fancy, but clean, has good food, and is reasonably comfortable. We arrived on the ferry and the place is literally within sight of the parking lot when you get out. Just turn right, there it is. It is within walking distance of all the shops in downtown Stornoway, and is over 300 years old. The hosts run the place and a self catering place nearby.We had four rooms, which included two single rooms on the top floor, a family room on the middle floor which included a double bunkbed and a double bed, and a room with two singles...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Hal o' the Wynd

Stornoway
+44 1851 706073

Lodge at Edinbane

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Hotel | "Great Hosts, Great Food, Great Location!"

Lodge at Edinbane Photo, Isle of Skye, Scotland
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http://www.the-lodge-at-edinbane.co.uk/This was our favorite stop in Scotland this summer. The hosts, Hazel, Pete and Cal, are wonderfully warm and welcoming. They have a restaurant and pub on site, and we ate there frequently. Granted, there aren't that many other options in Edinbane, but Portree was only 20 minutes away if we wanted other options. And the food was fantastic!This is an old hunting lodge, and supposedly haunted. My husband heard knocking at night in the closet (I wear earplugs) and couldn't find anything that would be making it, like vents or something. We had four rooms all together - two rooms with two single beds each, and two single rooms that had dou...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Lodge at Edinbane
Edinbane
Isle of Skye IV51 9PW
+44 1470 582217

Seaview Bed and breakfast

Hotel | "Clean, Convenient and Comfortable"

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http://www.iona-bed-breakfast-mull.com/This B&B is very easy to find as there is only one road to the ferry, and only about 7 buildings. John is very welcoming, and the decor is delightful in a marine theme. The beds were a little hard, but there is a duvet that helps if you sleep on it. We had a double room and two singles, and they were super clean and neat. They also had full cable, which was unusual in our experience, and internet access as well.Our room had a lovely view of the bay from the window, and we got to see the tide come in and out. The breakfasts were tasty, and had lots of choices. John also helped me arrange for a trip to the Isle of Staff...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Seaview Bed and breakfast
Fionnphort
Isle of Mull PA66 6BL
+44 1681 700235

Craigbuie Guest House

Hotel | "Clean and Comfy, Nice Location"

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www.craigbuie.comThis was a nice find in a nice village. Killin has one main street through town, over the Falls of Dochart, and this place is two blocks past that, near the end of the street. it was built in 1888, and newly renovated on the top floor where we stayed. There are three flights of stairs, but the rooms were worth it. We had a family room that was almost two separate rooms (one had a double bed, the other a single and a bunk). Each had separate TV sets, and their own windows. There was a dining table in one, and it was very comfy. The single bed leaned a little, but I was able to fix that with a blanket under the mattress. The other two rooms on that floor were doubles...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Craigbuie Guest House
Main Street - Killin
Perthshire FK21 8UH
+44 1567 820439

Khushis Victoria Street

Restaurant | "Yummy Food, Scary Staff"

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We were staying down the street and decided to try this place out, as the aromas were tantalizing.The decor is stunning and a bit over the top, but the food did not disappoint. We had lamb sag, garlic naan, and all sorts of drinks and appetizers. It was all over quite delicious. And the staff was great for the most part - until it came time to leave. We had to ask several different times for our check, and then when my friend tried to get a box for her leftovers, the waiter kept trying to collect her plate and throw them away. We had seen other diners get boxes for the leftovers, so he wasn't just trying to take them in the back to box. We teased her about it the rest of the trip. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Khushis Victoria Street
9 Victoria Street
Edinburgh
+44 131 220 0057

The Craig Bar

Restaurant | "Wonderful Pies, Great Characters"

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www.thecraigbar.co.ukThis place was a hoot! It was all of one block from our B&B, and the owners are fun folks. The place is owned by Robbie and his mother Beryl, and they serve tasty pies of all types (Robbie will give you a running commentary on their preparation), pints, warm fire talks, and lots of types of whisky. Lots of local RAF folks come in, and the place is decorated with RAF paraphenalia. We went there a couple times while in the area, and felt at home each time. We were treated like the locals and welcomed warmly.There is a warm crackling fireplace in one room, a large TV in another, and billiards and other games in the back. Doggies are welcomed, and the...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

The Craig Bar
Woodside Avenue
Grantown-on-Spey
+44 1479872669

Oakwood

Restaurant | "Wonderful French/Scottish Food!"

Oakwood Restaurant Photo, Inverness, Scotland
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We happened upon this place by accident, on our way down to take a Loch Lomond Cruise. It was signposted before we got there, and is also an antique/curio store. The cook knows her French cooking, and her husband makes the wood benches outside by hand.

We had an incredible meal there, and even better desserts. My husband had chicken breast stuffed with haggis in a black currant reduction, and he loved it - and he's hard to please. I had a wonderful Fisherman's lunch with salad veggies and locally caught smoked salmon. For dessert was honey and whiskey creme brulee that melted in your mouth, and cranachan ( a traditionall Scottish dessert with huge sweet raspberries, oatmeal and yogurt).

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

The Three Chimneys Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Incredibly Tasty Food, Lovely Service, Great Atmosphere"

The Three Chimneys Restaurant Photo, Isle of Skye, Scotland
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http://www.threechimneys.co.uk/We had heard of this place long before we went on the trip, and made reservations for lunch to save money, as it is expensive. But it is worth the price! We came a little early for our reservation, but had no problem waiting for a while. It is set on a lovely little area in Skye with a beautiful view of the bay, and a blackhouse museum next door.When we were shown to our table, we were a little nervous as none of us had a lot of experience with high level dining, but the staff made us feel at home. They weren't over-solicitous or snobby, and they were always there with what we wanted or needed.For starters we had the seafood bisque...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

The Three Chimneys Restaurant
Colbost, Dunvegan
Isle of Skye, Scotland
44-1470-51258

Maggie Dixson's

Restaurant | "Touristy but Tasty"

Quote:
Maggie Dixson's was right around the corner from our apartment on West Bow, Victoria Street, which means it is about two blocks from Edinburgh Castle in the Grassmarket area. That means it's touristy. No problem - we were tourists. It was also quite tasty, and just what the doctor ordered for our first meal in Scotland.We had just arrived from Glasgow after a long travel day and night, at least 24 hours worth. We wanted pints and pies and we wanted them now! So we went into this place, which was already getting crowded around 4pm.We had steak & ale pies, pints of cider, and some rather punchy conversation. The booths were very tall, giving us some privacy to act loopy. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Deacon Brodie's Tavern

Restaurant | "Touristy but Tasty Part II"

Quote:
Yes, it was touristy, but the food was relatively tasty and the atmosphere well-engineered. We had venison steak, smoked salmon and prawns in rose marie, and some ciders. It was very crowded both upstairs and downstairs, and the tables are very close together, but the food was worth the price.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Deacon Brodie's Tavern
435 Lawnmarket
Edinburgh EH1 2NT
+44 131 225 6531

Original Roslin Inn

Restaurant | "Mediocre at Best, Stuffy"

Quote:
Our group of six had fish and chips and steak & ale pie, and they were adequate – nothing special. The batter was the thick breadcrumb style. The dining room did rather remind of a great auntie’s parlor – rather stuffy and formal, too quiet for comfort. There weren't any other patrons until we were about ready to leave, and the waitress acted as if it was too much trouble for her to actually serveus.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Original Roslin Inn
4 Main St.
Roslin EH25 9LE
+44 131 440 2384

Allargue Arms Hotel (The)

Restaurant | "Kinda Creepy!"

Quote:
This was a peaceful place despite the name. The food was decent, but I think the poor lad serving us was brand new at the job. K was brave and tried the sweet & sour pork, while D tried the stir fry. I think the rice was ready to try out for the shotput competition at the local highland games. I had the soup and sandwich, it was filling and warm, though that may have simply been in response to being out in the Cairngorm mountains and the cold wind. They seemed confused when we took out credit cards, but evidently they had just gotten a new machine.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Allargue Arms Hotel (The)
Corgarff
Strathdon AB36 8YP
+44 1975 651410

Weigh Inn

Restaurant | "Disappointing"

Quote:
It was close to the ferry entrance, so we decided to stop for a bit of dinner. There was a wedding reception going on, and many men in full kilt regalia. We even saw the bride and groom arriving in a late model classic car of some sort. Unfortunately, that meant we were more or less ignored out on the patio while the rest of the staff catered to the wedding party. I had the taglieterre carbonara, but it was linguine instead, and very thick (sticky). It wasn’t great, but it was filling. I’d been on the lookout for the famed cock-a-leekie soup everywhere I went, but hadn’t found any yet. It took a while to get our check, as the waitress stopped coming out to us, so I had to go in and ...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Weigh Inn
Burnside
Thurso KW14 7UG
+44 1847 893722

Dil Se Indian Restaurant

Restaurant | "Wonderful Spices, Open Late"

Quote:
http://www.dilserestaurant.co.uk/

We found this place looking for late night dining when we arrived on Orkney. It was recommended by our B&B hostess, and when we finally found it, we were glad.
We had Roshni lamb and chicken biryani. The spices were tasty without being too hot, and the service was great. Of course, we were almost the only people in the place late at night, but we never felt hurried out. It was close to 11pm as we left, and the sun was still not near setting.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Dil Se Indian Restaurant
7 Bridge Street
Kirkwall KW15 1HR
+44 1856 875 242

Kirkwall Hotel

Restaurant | "Snotty Service, Good Food"

Kirkwall Hotel Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom
Quote:
http://www.kirkwallhotel.com/food.htmlWe went into Kirkwall and picked a place at random along the dockside street – the Kirkwall Hotel. At first they were snippy because we didn’t have a reservation, but we got a table. Service, on the other hand, was evidently harder to get. The food was great, but at first they completely forgot our soup (we ordered lentil soup), and we had to flag down one of the servers to find out what happened to it. Then they admitted they had forgotten to put in our order at all, so gave us dessert on the house. It seems there was no one server assigned to any table, so things fell through the cracks – and as big as we were, it seems we were crack-fallen. Th...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Kirkwall Hotel
Harbour Street
Kirkwall
01856 872232

Standing Stones Hotel

Restaurant | "Mediocre at Best"

Quote:
Standing Stones Hotel in Stenness. Standard fare – fish and chips, crab cakes, not bad. The place was mostly empty, but we were there for a late lunch at 2pm. It is the ONLY place open for food service in the town of Stenness, so unless you want to drive 20 minutes to Stromness or Kirwall, this is your only option.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Standing Stones Hotel
Stenness
Orkney KW16 3JX
+44 1856 850 449

Empire Chinese Restaurant

Restaurant | "Highly Spiced Chinese"

Quote:
Back in Kirkwall with everyone for dinner, we decided to try the Chinese place as a break from the pub food and Indian food we had hitherto been surviving on. Well, the Chinese certainly know how to use pepper and garlic, let me tell you! It was almost (not quite, but almost) too much pepper for me – black with encrusted pepper yummy umm yumm!

Service was quick and the food was ALL good. I think someone else had garlic prawns that were to die for. Many people were eating, even though it wasn't a large place.

That set us to practically comatose, so off to bed we went.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Empire Chinese Restaurant
51 Junction Road
Kirkwall KW15 1AR
+44 1856 872300

Smoo Cave

Restaurant | "Tasty Burgers"

Quote:
This was a short stop on the trip from Orkney to Lewis, and worth it. The soup we ordered was warm and chunky, very tasty (pea soup). We also had thick, juicy burgers with it before we went down to explore Smoo Cave. Don't walk - drive. It's a couple blocks down and a narrow bridge to walk over with cars right next to you. There is a parking lot, use it! :)

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Smoo Cave

Durness, United Kingdom

Duone Braes Hotel

Restaurant | "Tasty Seafood"

Quote:
We went back to find someplace that might be open for dinner, and settled on the Duone Braes Hotel, not far from Dun Carloway. We were salivating at the garlic mussels on the menu, but they were out, so we settled for salmon and scallops with roe. He really liked his scallops, and the roe added great flavor. The service was a bit on the formal side, as this was a hotel restaurant, and we felt like we were in the golf and business deal crowd, but it was a tasty meal.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Harris Hotel

Restaurant | "Tasty and Surprising"

Quote:
After a long drive on the Golden Road, we stopped for lunch at the Harris Inn. I treated myself to a steak and black pudding sandwich (which was very tasty and savory) and a pint of cool, clear cider. Ahhh, cider never tasted so good and refreshing. The rest of us had venison burgers that were very juicy, and soup. The service was quick, the tables cozy, and the pints were sweet :)

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Harris Hotel
Scott Rd - Tarbert
Isle of Harris HS3 3DL
+44 1859 502154

Balti House

Restaurant | "Delicious! "

Quote:
J and I decided to try the Indian place for dinner, Balti House, and it was fabulous. I had the chilli garlic lamb, and J had the chicken tikka curry. It was spicy, but not hot, lots of flavor, very tender. The couple next to us was from Sweden, it took us a while to figure out what language they were speaking (we had to ask, finally). The waiter, though obviously of Indian descent, was born and raised here in Stornoway (his brother had been from Aberdeen, the one that helped K and C the other night). There was a guy that sat next to us on the other side that looked a little strange, like he was homeless. He muttered a bit from time to time and had trouble talking when he ordered, perhaps he was ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Lodge at Edinbane

Restaurant | "Delicious Home Cooking"

Lodge at Edinbane Photo, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Quote:
The Lodge at Edinbane is both a B&B and a restaurant, as well as a local pub. Hazel, Pete and Cal run the place and do the cooking, with local girls helping out. The food is home made and delicious, and the company is fun. Locals do hang out there (as we were serenaded one night by a shepherd, we know).

We tried the mussels, and they were buttery and garlicky and delicious. Yum! I had a chicken leek and mushroom pie, while K and C both had beef boulognese, which was one of their specials.

The atmosphere is warm and welcoming. I think there is only one other dinner option in Edinbane at another hotel, but we never ventured out to try it, the food was too good here!

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Lodge at Edinbane
Edinbane
Isle of Skye IV51 9PW
+44 1470 582217

Columba 1400

Restaurant | "Hot Teas and Sweet Scones"

Quote:
We stopped off at this place on the way to the Staffin Spillway, on the Trotternish Peninsula on Skye. We had hot chocolate, tea and coffee, and some sweets - cookies and scones. The cafe is huge, and offers soups, all sorts of sweets and teas, and some local educational material about the wildlife and trails in the area.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Columba 1400
Staffin
Isle of Skye IV 51 9JY
+44 1478 61 1400

Sligachan Hotel

Restaurant | "Filling and Unusual"

Quote:
We had lunch in the Sligachan Hotel, and I had some Cullen Skink soup – it’s like a smoked fish chowder, and very tasty, full of lumps and chunks. I also had a roast veg, pesto and feta grilled sandwich, and was quite full. I had a cider that was something 70, and a bit sour – I didn’t care for that one very much.

The hotel restaurant had a nice view out the back window, even though it was pouring down rain, and a skylight. It was a large restaurant, and probably filled in a lot each night.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Sligachan Hotel
Sligachan
Isle of Skye
+44 1478 650 204

Keel Row

Restaurant | "Great Lunches, Crappy Dinners"

Quote:
We ate at this place three times. I think it's the only restaurant in town open for dinner, and it suffers from such a monopoly. The lunches were great, but the dinners were bad.The first night I had venison, and it tasted like chewy beef. The desserts were all ice cream, which I can't have because it hurts my teeth, though my husband said they were good. There was a fairly limited menu.For lunch the next day, we had delicious stacked burgers for lunch, and they weren’t cooked to a hockey puck. They were piled high with cheese, bacon and stuff, and were very juicy and tasty.We decided to give it another try for dinner, and regretted it. I had the steak (which ...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

The Reef Restaurant

Restaurant | "Wonderful Seafood"

The Reef Restaurant Photo, Isle of Mull, Scotland
Quote:
We decided to head off to Bunessan for more variety in dinner choices; and our gamble paid off! We tried The Reef Restaurant, and had a delicious meal. J tried the butternut squash soup, which was very rich and frothy. M ad D had lamb rump, while I had the salmon. J had the salmon/mussels bouride – it was all great, with a very nice presentation, flavor, and service. Dessert was great as well, with cappuccino crème brulee, dark chocolate and drambuie cheesecake, and sticky toffee pudding. I had the cheesecake, and it was not too sweet, wonderfully good. It was definitely a meal worth a 6 mile drive down the Evil Single Track Road.The restaurant is located right on the crescent that ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Falls of Dochart Inn

Restaurant | "Hit and Miss"

Quote:
The first time we had lunch here, it was a great lunch – brown trout, open salmon sandwich on focaccia bread. The place is a maze of a pub, several rooms opening into each other, and lunch was served on wooden platters. It was very tasty, lots of food, and well served.

The second time we had lunch, the only place they had to sit was near the very smoky fire, and on little pub tables. We had burgers that were so burnt they were hocky pucks, and cullen skink soup that was thin and runny. I was less than impressed this time.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Falls of Dochart Inn
Gray Street
Killin, Perthshire FK21 8SL
+44 1567 820 270

Old Flax Mill (The)

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Incredible Food, Wonderful Carvery"

Quote:
http://www.craigbuie.com/flaxmill.htmThe Old Flax Mill is run by Adrian and her husband (never caught his name – Alan?), and is a great place to eat, we highly recommend it. The atmosphere is great (having been an old mill). There is a choice of the number of courses, up to three. The first is cold, home made appetizers such as shrimp in sweet chilli and cilantro, artichoke salad, salmon in sour cream sauce and honey, mussels, smoked salmon, chick pea salad, etc. Everything we tried was delicious, and you basically take a plate and take whatever you want to fill it up. There were probably at least 25 different dishes to choose from, though labels would have been helpful on some of the...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2008

Old Flax Mill (The)
Craigbuie Guest House, Main Street, Killin
Perthshire
+44 1567 820434