Saturday, October 24, 2015

Travels in Scotland: Part Four--Home Again, Home Again

     We are now back at home in Canby; we are not yet in this time zone, though.  It seems it’s getting more difficult to adjust from jet lag—thankfully, we still have a couple of weeks before we switch the clocks out of DST.  As wonderful as our travels are it is still nice to get home, though we already miss our Scottish family, the Cliffords (John, Jacky, Jonathan, and Ailsa).
Speaking of our trip, it is time to do a trip summary including a mention of the “Bests” of the trip.  I’ll also continue to showcase the best of my photos from the trip.  To the summary:
We drove a little over 2000 miles in our rented Toyota Auris hybrid automatic.  

Sitting in the glen in our nice Toyota Auris.
Except for some difficulty getting in and out of the driver’s seat, the car was brilliant—easy to drive, enough power, and wonderful mileage.  We got better than 50 miles to the gallon (best mileage of any car we’ve rented) and petrol costs were some of the lowest in years—we paid an average of about $6.00 a gallon.  
This trip really was a golf trip.  We played 21 rounds in 28 days on 17 different courses (4 were 9-hole courses and the rest 18-hole).  Five of the courses were new to us and they will be included in Golf in Scotland: The Hidden Gems when I revise it this winter. Our favorite courses of the trip were Moray Old, 
The 18th and the clubhouse at moray Old GC.  John Murray's pro shop is to the left.
Peterhead, and St Fillans (where we’re members).  Of the courses new to us we really liked both Maverston 
Anne tees off at Maverston GC near Elgin on the north coast.
and Inverurie.  
Not all our time was spent on the courses.  We managed to visit 29 various visitor attractions—7 were of nature (waterfalls, etc.), 
Fall colors begin to show up along the River Tummel at the edge of the Highlands.
6 were historic harbours or villages, 
Crovie Village--only residents can drive down to the village established during the Highland clearances.
5 were ancient sites, 
Loaned of Davit stone circle was created about 4000 years ago and was probably used for astronomical and ritualistic purposes.
4 were religious, 
Greyfriar's Kirkyard in Perth, central Scotland.
and the rest commercial.  Some of our favorites from the trip were “old favorites” (the historic villages of Pennan and Crovie along the north coast, the small harbors of Collieston  and Portsoy, and Perth’s Branklyn Gardens) while others were new to us (downtown Glasgow which in 26 trips to Scotland we’ve spent very little time, and Glen Lednock only 12 miles from our home base in Crieff but which we had never visited).

Glen Lednock about five miles east of Comrie village is only 12 miles from our home base in Crieff, but this was the first time we'd ever driven up the glen.

And, of course, we ate well like on every trip.  We did do plenty of cooking at home when we spent two weeks in self-catering (timeshare), but we also had lunches or dinners out about 25 times, mostly in tearooms or cafes (lunches), but we did eat dinners out in 8 restaurants and 4 pubs.  Quite few of the eateries were new to us, with our favorites being The Three Kings Inn in Cullen, Bread Meats Bread in Glasgow,
Waiting for a table in Glasgow's Bread Meats Bread, from the right: Jonathan (who is now working at a resort in Costa Rico), Anne, Aisla (a freshman in a Glasgow uni), and Jacky Clifford.

 and Hansen’s Kitchen in Comrie.  
Great sandwiches in Hansen's Kitchen in Comrie.

Our best meal, though, was at one of our all-time favorites, Anderson’s in Boat of Garten 

Andderson's in Boat of Garten (near Scotland's Cairngorm National Park) is an affordable fine dining restaurant only about 15 minutes from our timeshare condo in Aviemore.
(always outrageously good).  

The final summary of the trip is the photographic summary—the rest of the good pictures from our fall 2015 trip to Scotland:

Anne tees off at Cullen GC (built in 1870) on the Morayshire coast.  We stayed in a hotel across the road from the course and saw that the course was almost empty on Sunday morning.  We couldn't resist.

Tomnavarie stone circle is high above Tarland GC.  We had visited the circle on our very first Scotland trip.

The river runs through the area known as The Birks of Aberfeldy after a famous Robert Burns' poem.

In the area around Aviemore in the Highlands are lovely stands of birches.

Early morning fog and mists near Crieff.

The Buchan Ness Lighthouse was built in 1827 by Robert Stevenson, father of author Robert Louis Stevenson.  You can now rent the light keeper's quarters for a self-catering vacation.

Hay tractor driving though the main road in front of our B&B in Crieff.  they are super difficult to pass on the small Scottish roads.

The River Braan near Dunked.

Scottish robin singing to us as we put our golf clubs in the car at St Fillans GC.

These boats were put up for the season at Findhorn Bay.

Interested local in Glen Lednock.

Tiger Lily in Perth's Branklyn Gardens.

I never tire of photographing the packhorse bridge in the village of Cartridge.

Hieland Coo (aka. Highland Cow).

But then we had to go home.  Our flights from Edinburgh to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Portland were good flights--on time, fairly comfortable, not too bumpy, a few decent movies.

Got a nice view of the Iceland coast on our flight.
And Fionabeg (our house's name meaning "little white" house in Gaelic) was waiting for us, already decked out in fall colors.
Fionabeg in Canby.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall Travels to Scotland, Part Three

Pubs and Tearooms

When we began our Scotland adventures in 2000 most of our evening meals were taken in pubs—fish and chips, lasagna, steak-n-ale pie, stoves, cottage pies, mac-n-cheese, soups.  Then we were adopted by our family in Crieff and we ate dinner at home.  We also started using timeshare for self-catering where we’d cook our meals in.  Our meals out tended to be lunches in tearooms—soups, panini, toasties, burgers.  On this fall’s trip we found a couple of interesting tearooms and two great pubs.
While in Ballater (Dee-side west of Aberdeen) we stopped twice at the Riverside Cottage on the main road through the area (A93).  
The Cottage
The “cottage” built into the side of a large older house is relatively new (opened last August) and specializes in sweets and gelato, but also serves interesting sandwiches—

Anne and I split a three cheese toasty and a bacon and brie panini.  It was a great find, as was Scotty’s Cafe in Banff on the Morayshire coast.  
The upstairs tearoom at Scotty's.
We’d actually been in Scotty’s before.  It’s a chemist (pharmacy), gift shop, and postie (post office).  We didn’t know then that there is a pleasant tearoom upstairs—great for after golf tea and sweet.
One of the pubs we visited is one we’d been in for a pre-dinner drink about 14 years ago.  The Three Kings Pub in Cullen on the north coast is now a gastro-pub (drinks and quality food) called The Three Kings Inn.  
The small front bar at Three Kings Inn.
It still retains the small crowded front bar staffed with a lively, friendly bar keep, but now it has a rustic restaurant in the back where we had wonderful Cullen Skink (smoked haddock chowder) and seafood platters with haddock, prawns, salmon, halibut, anchovies, and herring.  
The Three Kings Inn dining room.
Lovely!  The other pub of note is one we’ve driven past for years but had never visited.  

The Tipsy Laird in Kingussie at the edge of the Cairngorm National Park is a local’s bar with a good reputation for food.  
Tipsy Laird's bar.
The drinkers in the front kept the noise level high, but the waitress serving the dining room at the side was a charmer.  The food, too, lived up to its reputation.  Tasty and plentiful, the lasagna was definitely homemade.
     There are plenty of fine dining restaurants in Scotland, but the tearooms and pubs continue to attract us.

A Photo Tour of Scotland

Mountain river in the Cairngorms.

An old croft in the Highlands.

Moss covered roots in the Birks of Aberfeldy.

The Birks.

The Scots call this a buzzard.

Findhorn Bay on the Morayshire coast.

Roof repair on the church in Tarland.

Rail lines pattern.

River Dee.

Heron at the Falls of Feugh (River Dee).

Highland road through Sma'Glen.

Burn and lone tree near Amulree.

Pheasant hen in Amulree.

Stark mountain scenery above Braemar.

Falls at Rumbling Bridge near Dunked.

Glasgow alley.

Sunset in Crieff.
Next: The next post will be from home after we recover from a severe case of jet lag.