Sunday, July 28, 2019

Scotland! Skye.

The Quirang.
(Photo by Luis Ascenso.  Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you had asked me, before I began planning this trip, to name an island in Scotland, Skye would have been the first word out of my mouth. I would then hesitate for a few seconds and then utter, "Shetland?" not relaxing that it was not just one island but a cluster. "Orkney?" would have followed in a similar vein. I don't think I was unusual in that I knew of Skye as being a Scottish isle but couldn't identify any of the others without prompting.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Scotland! Outer Hebrides.

That structure, perched on the hillside is Aird Druim an Tolla, the home of Alasdair Leonard and his trusty four legged companion, Ross in Finsbay, Harris, Outer Hebrides.  Alasdair rents out a twin room and for one night, Pat and I will be sleeping there.

After just a few short days roaming through the Scottish Islands, our roadtrip will continue, via ferry, to the Outer Hebrides. Our arrival point will be the town of Stornoway, the capital city of the Isle of Lewis and Harris, the northern most island in the cluster of islands that make up the Outer Hebrides.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

From Perth to Ullapool Via Grantown-on-Spey.

Pitlochry
(Screen capture from YouTube Video by SeeScotland)

Tvillage of Ullapool, located along the coast of the northwest highlands is where we need to be to catch the ferry to the Outer Hebrides.  It's about a four hour drive to go to Ullapool from Glasgow, via Inverness, but we're going to be taking a two day journey starting in the city of Perth.   Our drive pretty much takes us along a section of the A9 roadway until we reach Inverness and there we head west on the A835 to Ullapool.  There are not a lot of main roadways in the relatively small country of Scotland!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Faroe Islands & Scotland! On The Road.

Photo from Unicar, the agency we rented our car from for our week in the Faroe Islands.

I 've been driving for almost 40 years and have done my fair share of driving overseas - most recently in Russia.  So I am very comfortable with having to adjust my driving style to match whatever the road or traffic conditions or driving laws are in the country that I am going to be doing a self drive road trip in.  If you really want to get a good sense of what driving in is like in any country, just search for driving videos on YouTube.  I think pretty much every traveler has posted up a video of themselves driving on a trip.  Nothing beats watching a video to get a good sense of road and traffic conditions!

Traipsing Through the Trossachs.

The A82 passing through Glencoe.
(Photo by Stuart MacInnes. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

We will be picking up our rental car at the airport and Glasgow and for the next 2.5 weeks will be driving around Scotland, including a route that will take us to the highlands and via a loop through the Outer and Inner Hebrides will bring us back to the highlands and then Glasgow.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Scotland's City of Art and Architecture. Glasgow.

Shadow Hand Puppets, Cowcaddens Underpass. Street Mural by Rogue One (aka Bobby McNamara) in collaboration with Art Pistol.
(Photo from the City Centre Mural Trail website.)

We will arrive into Glasgow by train from Aberdeen after spending a week in Shetland and Orkney.  I started researching Glasgow by looking for Airbnb apartments for us to stay in and noticed that there weren't all that many tourist sites to see that were not either castles or palaces or gardens.  Not that I don't like castles, palaces or gardens but Scotland is so full of these that coming to Glasgow to just see more did not thrill me one bit. 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Scotland! The Shetland and Orkney Islands.

St. Ninian's Isle and the tombolo connecting it to the mainland, Shetland Islands
(Photo by ThomWi. Licensed under Public Domain)

When I first started giving thought to the itinerary for this trip, I turned to the country's official tourism website for ideas.  By the way, that website is so informative that that is pretty much the primary website I used to plan this trip.  Another very useful website is Historic Environment Scotland which provides a lot of information on historic sites (there are lots!) throughout Scotland.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Scotland! Edinburgh.

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh
(Photo by Kim Traynor. Licensed under CC by SA 3.0)

From the Faroe Islands, we will return to Edinburgh for a few days.  August is festival month in Edinburgh and Pat and I will be taking in as much as we can in the 2 short days that we will be in Edinburgh.  Pat and both love the theatre and so our time in the city will focus on going to see performances of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, seeing works of art on display as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival and for one night, attending the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which I am certifiably obsessed over thanks to the countless YouTube videos that I have seen of the annual event.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Faroe Islands!


Lake Sørvágsvatn, Faroe Islands.  (Photo posted on reddit by u/Sakemeister)

Our grand odyssey through the Faroe Islands and Scotland begins in the Faroe Islands which is a North Atlantic archipelago located 320 kilometers (200 miles) north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway and Iceland. Between 1035 and 1814, the Faroes were part of the Hereditary Kingdom of Norway. In 1814, the Treaty of Kiel granted Denmark control over the islands, along with two other Norwegian island possessions: Greenland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948.

Faroe Islands & Scotland! Overview.

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides, Scotland
(Photo by Drianmcdonald. Licensed under CC BY 4.0)

I have a BIG trip coming up and I am so excited!  I started planning this trip more than two years ago.  It originated with a desire to attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, another of my life long dreams.  As so often happens, going to Scotland for the Tattoo was just the tip of the iceberg.  Before long, a short visit to Scotland turned into a five week long odyssey covering the islands and highlands that the country is so famous for.   Not to mention, a side trip to the Faroe Islands which are technically a part of Denmark.  Accompanying me on this trip is my ever intrepid travel partner, Pat, whom I have not traveled with since we explored Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia back in 2015.  She's getting up in the years (85 years young this year) and I don't know how many more trips she can do so I want this one to be a special one for both of us so I've taken more time than usual planning it!