The two photos below represent the best and the worst culinary experience of the trip. First, the best, a wonderful lamb shank dinner at Anderson's in Boat of Garten (Highlands). Next there is an absolutely awful cider at a seaside bar in Nairn--tasted like watered-down dishwater.
We also had some pleasant visits to castles and abbeys. At Arbroath Abbey in Arbroath (where the Declaration of Arbroath was signed by Robert the Bruce declaring Scotland an independent nation, www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/.../features_independence_arbroath.shtml) we watched bunches of bunnies playing amounts the graves.
On a rainy day we discovered that Duone Castle near Sterling was one of the main sites used for the filming of the Outlander TV series, as well as Falkland Palace, Aberlour Castle, and Blackness Castle.
Blair Castle in the foothills of the Highlands has Europe's only private standing army. A piper plays in front of the castle every couple of hours. The castle also has a lovely walled garden, and although the flowers weren't plentiful when we were there, the birdlife was.
|Oyster catcher and chick.|
|Swan and cygnets.|
|Himalayan Blue Poppy|
The small villages of Scotland are a main draws for me. It's like stepping back 50 years to a much more simple lifestyle.
|Comrie is about seven miles from our home in Crieff.|
|Crail's harbour is one of several along the edge of the Kingdom of Fife, the county of St Andrews.|
Most of the villages host Highland Games--traditional sporting events with a county fair type atmosphere. The Blackford Games (about 15 miles from our home base in Crieff) are held on the last weekend of May, usually just before we come home from our spring trip.
|Girls and boys of all ages compete in traditional Highland dances.|
|One of the main "heavy" events is the caber toss where the competitor attempts to throw a 140 pound pole end over end. Distance isn't a factor, but the toss is judged on how close to straight the toss is--a straight up 12:00 toss is perfect.|
The people in the villages are a big reason for our travels. They are now family and friends. The Scots are genuinely friendly and we find very few remain strangers long.
|Jacky Clifford (our Scottish sister) opening a birthday present from America.|
|Our friend, confidant, and whisky guru, Andrew Cuthbert at J.L. Gill Whisky Shop in Crieff.|
|Yannick Grospellier, chef and owner of Yann's, the best restaurant in Crieff.|
|Met this gentleman on the streets of Nairn on the Moray coast. He started a conversation as I was photographing village scenes. We chatted about village life, and of course, he asked if Donald Trump were for real.|
One of the biggest draws to Scotland is the land itself--it has some of the most beautiful and dramatic geography of any place on earth. Moors and mountains grab our attention every trip.
|Lone tree growing out of a rock on the edge of Rannoch Moor.|
|Two views of Rannoch Moor and Black Mount.|
|The Dupplin Cross in St Serf's Church in Dunning is a Pictish carved cross from about the 9th century.|
|The Croft Moraig stone circle between Kenmore and Aberfeldy is an example of the type of stone circle found throughout Scotland.|
|The Loch Earn Mirror Man is a sculpture by Rob Mulholland set in the loch. The sculpture represent one of the seasons of the loch.|
While we spend most of our time in the villages and small towns, we enjoy some time in Edinburgh at the end of every trip.
|Stairs going up to the Royal Mile.|
|Anne at the end of a close (pedestrian alley).|
|The park, Princess Street Gardens, between Princes Street and the Royal Mile, is always full if the weather is nice.|
|A tradition for us to have our last meal in Scotland at the Mussel Inn on Rose Street in Edinburgh--a fish stew that is outstanding.|
A final adventure for me on this trip was celebrating newly found Scottish ancestory by getting fitted for my McAllister Clan kilt at McNaughton's in Pitlochry. The kilt is being shipped this week. It will have an honored place with my Welsh National and Jones of Wales kilts.
|The tartan on the right is my Ancient McAllister tartan.|
We are already well into our planning for our fall trip. Hopefully there will be many more adventures and many more photos.
|Got a good view of the mountains of Greenland on the flight home.|