What’s it like to travel to a place that’s almost home? What do we do when we get there? These are reasonable questions and present the thesis for this first post in our Fall 2013 Scotland trip.
The flights from Portland to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Edinburgh were very pleasant,
|A lovely sunrise from about two hours west of Amsterdam.|
if you can forget that we paid extra for the sort of upgraded seats (four inches more room) and had to pay $100 a bag for two extra bags. We arrived on time in Amsterdam, but were clear across the terminal from our departure to Scotland. We barely had time for a latte and cheese roll
|Amsterdam airport coffee shop.|
before we had to board our plane to Edinburgh.
In Edinburgh we picked up our rental car, a snazzy new Ford Focus that’s getting about 35 mpg.
We made the drive to Crieff in plenty of time to meet Jacky, our B&B host/sister,
for lunch at a local hangout called The Lounge. The afternoon was spent unpacking and getting our golf clubs ready for golf on Friday.
Friday’s golf was a quick nine at St Fillans where we’re members,
|Anne tees off on the 3rd at St Fillans.|
then back to the B&B so I could prepare a dressed up pasta dish for a dinner for ten in the evening. Dinners for 10 or 15 are not unusual for this B&B
|Jacky's pialla, cooked in a special pan about 2-1/2 feet wide, fixed for dinner the night before the big dinner.|
--at this one were the family of the house (John, Jacky, daughter Ailsa), Booney (the Romanian live-in helper),
Ailsa on the left and her father, John on the right.
four ladies from Canada, and us.
Pork chops, pasta, potatoes (always potatoes), salad, broccoli, and plenty of wine. A grand time was had by all.
Saturday for us was a touring day. We did a little shopping at House of Bruar, had hot chocolate and cake in Grandtully,
|Scottish Chocolate Centre, Iain Burnett the Highland Chocolatier.|
visited both a kirkyard
|Logierait Kirkyard: mortsafes used to keep bodies from being dug up by body snatchers.|
and a Hieland Coo.
We had been recommending one of our favorite pubs to the guests we met at the B&B, so we stopped in for a light lunch at the Moulin Inn.
|The sign reads, "Moulin Inn, Scottish Pub of the Year, 1696."|
Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest...and boy did we need it. We did manage to go out for coffee and some writing time around noon and then drive the six miles out of town to the Innerfeffray Library, the oldest lending library in Scotland.
|Chapel left and the white Innerpeffray Library on the right.|
People visit the library connected to an old Drummond family chapel to research the hundreds of old Scottish books in the library.
We had a nice visit with a charming curator/librarian who showed us the new books--the ones printed after 1800.
Our agenda for the next few days was golf, golf, golf: two courses we’d played before and one new to us. We had great fun playing the fine Downfield course in Dundee
|Downfield GC, Dundee.|
Step into the hazard, my friend.
and the Strathmore course at the edge of the Highlands.
|Strathmore GC, near Alyth.|
Playing the third day at Piperdam GC near Dundee was work--hard work for a couple of reasons. First, the course quite hilly for me, the walker (Anne, with an injured foot, got to ride in a buggy).
Second, we both had great difficulty trying to dissect the design problems of the course. When I talked to the club pro after the round I asked, “Who designed the course?” He replied, “That’s the problem, no one designed it, they just sort of put it together around the views.”
|Piperdam Golf and Liesure Centre, Fowlis, Dundee.|
While the course is lovely, it has some serious problems as a golf course. The pro did assure us that plans had been approved to rectify most of the glaring design flaws over the coming winter.
Good flights, meeting old and new friends, shopping, touring, golf and a little work are a great way to start our Fall 2013 Scotland trip.
|A fall walk to Crieff town centre.|