Monday, October 10, 2011

Scotland/England Autumn 2011 Trip Summary

Our autumn trip to Scotland and England is coming to an end.  It’s time for me to review what we’ve done and where we’ve been.  The numbers (and photos) will tell the story:
42 days...
6 in England in four different B&Bs,
4 days in Scotland’s Orkney Islands in two B&Bs,
7 days in Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands (timeshare self-catering),
24 days in Crieff in central Scotland all at Merlindale B&B, and
1 day in Edinburgh at the Airport Hilton.
Our auto was a Vauxhall Astra 1.8 automatic (with really uncomfortable seats).
We put on 3500 miles @ an average of $10.25 per gallon.
22 rounds (total of 316 holes)

8 nine-hole rounds
13 eighteen-hole rounds

1 ten-hole round (it’s a long story)
14 different courses all in Scotland
6 parkland courses

3 heath or moorland courses
5 links courses
5 courses new to us and a total of 87-1/2 miles walked on golf courses.
Attractions visited:
15 historic (castles, etc.),
24 religious (cathedrals, abbeys, kirks),

10 shopping or commercial sites,
2 distilleries,

7 nature or gardens, and
  14 ancient (stone circles, cairns, etc.).
Eating out:
15 restaurants,

7 pubs, 
33 tearooms or coffee shops (including Starbucks in St Andrews, Elgin, Edinburgh, Blackford, Stratford upon Avon, Oxford, and 2 on the motorways), and
2 take-aways (fish and chip shops)
Out of all of our touring we have a few “bests” for the trip:
The best golf was at Moray Old GC and at Buckpool GC both on the Moray Firth in the north of Scotland (although golf is always best with our Scottish family John and Jacky).
The best meals were at Anderson’s Restaurant in Boat of Garten, Hess Bank Inn (near Lancaster), Breihz in Perth, and Mario’s Restaurant 27 in Ripon, England.

The best tearooms or coffee shops were Birsay Bay Cafe on Orkney, Betty’s Tearoom in York, the Watermill Bakery in Blair Atholl, and Badger’s Hall  Chipping Campden, England.

Our vote for best attractions go to all the ancient sites on Orkney (specifically Maeshowe Cairn, Skara Brae Village, the Broch of Gurness, and the Stennes Standing Stones), Castle Mey owned by the Queen Mum, Bilbury Village in the Cotswolds, and Branklyn Gardens in Perth.
As you can tell from our list and photos the trip was full with plenty of sunshine, miles an hour of wind, a few buckets full of rain, and tons of good times.  Our golf, whether brilliant or dreadful, was aways interesting and enjoyable.  The food was, with the exception of a weak panini here and there, mostly delicious and plentiful enough that even though our walking shoes got well worn we didn’t lose much weight (Damn!). As we do on each of our trips, we look forward to getting back home to George the Cat with a twinge of regret that we have to leave our second home, Scotland.

Over the next few months I will keep “Have Pen and Camera, Will Travel” updated with accounts from our autumn six weeks in Scotland as well as any new travels.  For now, Slainte!  (“Good Health” in Gaelic)

Photos from Top: Our Vauxhall in the rain, Kenmore GC in Highlands, Harburn GC near Edinburgh, Anne the caddy at Orkney GC, Anne on the links at Moray New GC, club captain at Buckpool GC, Ripon (England) Cathedral, Bell's Distillery tour, Broch of Gurness (Orkney), Badger's Hall at Chipping Campden, Anderson's Restaurant in Boat of Garten, Ring of Brodgar (Orkney), Bilbury Village in the Cotswolds,  lily at Branklyn Garden in Perth,  Castle Mey on the Pentland Firth.