Edinburgh and Scottish Highlands Tour (Part 2)

Related post : Edinburgh and Scottish Highlands Tour (Part 1)

After roaming around in Edinburgh we all slept like a log that night. We had to wake up at 5:30 in the morning the next day to catch our tour bus to Loch Ness, Glen Coe and the Scottish Highlands. Our tour bus started from the Loch Ness Discovery Centre at the Royal Mile. I booked the tickets almost a month ago from here. This was this route, which was carved out for us for the tour. You can move or enlarge the map if you wish.

 

Our tour guide Paul was a very jovial and friendly guy and instantly made everyone in the bus comfortable. The Bus was nothing less than a mini globe with people from USA, Spain, Italy, Scotland, India, China and God knows how many other countries. Paul always made a point that we replied to all his queries with an “Aye” and “Okhaaye” so that we could become partially Scottish.

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[The highway as we moved towards Perth. The snow looks like white blotches of paint that fell off from God’s palette while he was painting]

We started our journey by crossing the Forth Road Bridge about which I already wrote in Part 1. We soon passed through Perth viewing some picturesque views of the River Tay(which is incidentally the longest river in Scotland) bending and curving with the highway. As we moved ahead, we made a stop at Pitlochry for breakfast where a pair of Italian guys was late even after constant reminders by Paul about being on time after breakfast. Everyone clapped as they entered the bus and we moved towards Killiecrankie which is famous for the stunning and ironical Battle of Killiecrankie resulting in the victory of the Jacobites and the death of their leader. 

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[The clouds cast shadow on the mountains creating beautiful scenes]

As we moved ahead, the landscape changed drastically. From cultivable land and lush green farms to barren mountains laden with snow. The scenery became more and more stunning as we progressed and whenever we made a stop somewhere, everyone jumped out of the bus to click pictures. Paul told us stories about how the Kings of Scotland have been cursed and many of them died one after another in accidents, how Macbeth(the name of the protagonist in William Shakespeare‘s Macbeth) was actually derived from the name of Macbeth of Scotland and how Macbeth(the play) was euphemistically called “The Scottish Play” because it was cursed

 

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[I am not sure but I took this photograph some where near Loch Lochy]

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[I took this photograph during the Ferry Ride on the Loch Ness trying to spot a monster!]

Moving further north into the Highlands, we crossed the village of Dalwhinnie which was famous for its Dalwhinnie Single Malt Scotch Whisky. We crossed the Spean Bridge towards Fort Augustus for some monster spotting!!! This was the only part of the tour which we had to retrace back to move towards Fort William. Fort Augustus is situated at the South West end of Loch Ness. We stopped at Fort Augustus for lunch and Paul suggested that we try some Haggis which is a Scottish delicacy. I was gung-ho about trying it but Paul did the mistake of telling us what it is made of! Although a true blue carnivore, I was somehow not able to bring myself to eat that! Next time maybe. 🙂 Instead I took a ferry ride into the Loch Ness in the hope of spotting the legendary Loch Ness Monster. Even after being in water for a good 45 minutes, all I was able to get were some beautiful worth sharing photographs. Next time maybe, I’ll see the monster raising his head out of the Loch Ness. 🙂

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[A broken and unused bridge at Fort Augustus]

After the ferry ride and a quick bite of haggis-less chicken and pork lunch, we moved back to the Spean Bridge towards Fort William. There were beautiful snow clad mountains all around covered in mist. We had our whisky sipping experience near Fort William. As we moved towards South now, we saw Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. We were not able to see the peak as it was covered with snow with a huge patch of clouds encircling it. We were informed that that is how it remains for almost the whole of the year. 

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[On our way to Fort William]

From here our bus turned towards Glencoe, the location of the Massacre of Glencoe. This was ironically the most beautiful part of the trip. We listened to Paul as he narrated the events than unfolded the night the massacre took place. We were spellbound, not just by the story, but by the beauty around us. How can something so gruesome happen in such a beautiful place? We halted at a spot in the middle of the valley surrounded by barren mountains all around us, some of them shrouded in mist and covered with snow. The place is ideal for trekking and evidently many people come for that in Glencoe.

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[The hills where the Glencoe Massacre took place]

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[Glencoe]

After Glencoe, we turned towards Stirling making a quick stop at a small village called Tyndrum. For those of you who have seen the movie Braveheart, Sterling was the place where the battle was fought between William Wallace(played by Mel Gibson) and the English army during the War of Scottish Independence. There is a monument dedicated to him in Sterling called the Wallace Monument. Although we did not stop at Sterling, but Paul did pointed out the Monument and the Sterling Castle as we finally moved back towards Edinburgh. We reached back in Edinburgh at 7:30 pm. A day spent well!! The rest of the day was spent roaming around in the city.

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[The Scottish Parliament]

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[Shocking!!! Rikshaws make a comeback!]

The next day, our train left at 12 in the afternoon, so we had ample time to have a look at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is the  official residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom in Scotland. Its a shame that we were not allowed to take pictures inside because it was the most awe-inspiring piece of architecture you could ever imagine. We were able to take pictures of the ruins of the Augustinian Abbey though. Finally we took a walk in the Royal gardens and have a look at the Queen’s Gallery which exhibits works of art from the Royal collection. If you ever go there, don’t miss the Tribuna of the Uffizi by Johann Zoffany. It is the most outstanding painting in the collection.

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[The ruins of the beautiful Abbey at Holyrood Palace]

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[Another view of the Abbey]

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[Another view of the Abbey. It was so grand that I felt like sitting there for hours]

Finally we were ready to bid adieu to this beautiful city to returned back to Manchester. There were many places which we had missed because of the lack of time. But yes, while leaving, I knew that I would return one day to see them. When we reached the Waverley station, we were surprised to know that we had a bus from Edinburgh till Lockerbie instead of a train. Well it was a blessing in disguise because at Lockerbie, we had the most delicious Fish and chips of our lives while we waited for our train to Preston

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[This is not a windows wallpaper. I took this during the bus ride from Edinburgh to Lockerbie.]

I should not say this but Manchester looked like an ugly concrete jungle after returning from Edinburgh. 😉

70 comments on “Edinburgh and Scottish Highlands Tour (Part 2)

    • haha! I have many such photographs. The only problem was that I was taking them from a moving bus. So most of them have the shadow of the window panes from the opposite side of the bus or my own shadow. This one came out fine somehow. 🙂

  1. hey Amit ! I am an avid reader of your blog. It is informative as well as entertaining. Great work.
    The only thing i find disquieting (and amusing sometimes) is the constant use of the past tense of any word with ‘did’.
    I am sure you are aware that when one uses the past tense of ‘do’, the verb that goes along with it remains in its present tense.
    Enough of gyaan i guess 🙂
    btw i love your movies and book reviews section.

    • Thanks Neha. Well, for the grammatical mistakes, I blame WordPress. They only have a spell check. 😉
      Well, to be honest, proof reading is very important and I do run a grammar and spell check after writing a post but yes, I do make a few mistakes at times. I hope my sentences are not too distorted to understand. 🙂

  2. Amazing snaps, I want to visit all these beautiful locations myself. Far away from our chaotic lives, such exotic locations bring us close to nature to appreciate their natural beauty! One cannot describe the calmness and serenity that it elicits within us.

    • I find Flickr a little tiresome, specially the number of pics per day limit. Doesn’t make sense to me. I have an account at Picasa though. 🙂

  3. I have actually put the last picture as my desktop background :-p in Ubuntu – Hope you don’t mind! It is slightly blurred but since it has only two colours predominantly, it still looks fine with the excellent colour reproduction of Linux 🙂

    Destination Infinity

  4. Nice continuation of 1st part. I dont know why, i liked the narration in 2nd part compared to 1st one.

    Pictures are awesome. The imagination of snow in the first picture is the best 🙂

    I too hope for you to visit more and more places as soon as possible 🙂

  5. Amit

    BTW performers _still_ call Macbeth the Scottish Play.

    When you go next time, stop to see the Archimedes Screw at Falkirk, called the Falkirk Wheel. It is an amazing feat of engineering (and I think I saw it over a dozen times in my time in Edinburgh) and connects the lower canals to the higher ones.

    And you didn’t try haggis??? What a wasted opportunity! Tut-tut. It tastes amazing with a surprisingly spicy twist to it. But you have to eat it in the right place. Whatever you heard about its components, well, if you do not eat it in a reliable place, suffice it to say that it will only be worse. Few suppliers now make it with the original ingredients due to the high cost*.

    So have you been saying ‘Och Aye’ in Manchester too? 🙂

    *If you have been eating any factory-farmed meat in the UK, please do not read anything about how animals are fed. You will turn a vegetarian for the rest of your life. That is the practical reason why so many pay attention to the provenance of the meats they eat.

    • I saw the photographs of Falkirk Wheels. Its huge and amazing.
      Somehow I couldn’t bring myself to eat that. The problem with me is that I could eat anything till you don’t tell me what it is. I am fine with the normal non vegetarian stuff but if you want me to eat a cooked lizard, then you better keep your mouth shut. 🙂
      I don’t think I am supposed to use the Scottish “words” here. I read a pocket book on the Scottish history. What a bloody and Messy relationship they had with the English!! No wonder you can still smell it at times. 🙂

    • Yes, now that I think of it, it would be a good idea. The only problem is the weather. Its completely unpredictable. Its said that you can experience all the four seasons in one day! 🙂

      • Amit

        The theatreland in London has these too. Ask the price for a ride next time and you will know what ‘being taken for a ride’ really means 🙂

        My own theory is they exist because they are easier to clean after drunk customers puke all over them. Taxi drivers charge for cleaning because it is expensive.

        • A Rikshaw ride which is expensive!?! If the poor Indian rikshaw wallas get to know of this, they will go on a strike. 🙂
          And the last line…you are joking right?? 😐

  6. i will really take some time out to chk out all ur pics
    dont want to do that in a hurry !

    Cycle ricks are gettin to be hip in europe

    Enjoy urself !

  7. amazing photography dude … hats off !!!

    @the last pic …. Its very hard to believe that its not a windows wallpaper !!! 😛 …. appears so XPPPPP … 😉

  8. What a wonderful post Amit!

    The way you have given the minute details of your travel are simply amazing. I felt like I am on some virtual tour! 🙂

    The photographs are really beautiful and nicely taken.

    I hope you had lots of fun!

  9. You’re a wanderlust. Hope to see more photographs from you. I’m just curious, what does “Dhanyawaad. Bips nahi chahiye. Mom ne mana kar diya!” mean?

    Thanks.

    • Oh yes! I want to be rich so that I could see the world. 🙂
      Well, Bips is short for Bipasha who is a hot Indian Actress. I gave a quiz on Facebook which was – Which Bollywood actress can be your wife? And the answer came out to be Bips. 🙂 Since then everyone is asking me if I was able to find her? And the line which you wrote means – Thankyou. I don’t want Bips. My mom is not ready to accept her as my wife! 😆

  10. WTH!! Are you serious? The last one is an actual photo :O wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww it’s PERFECT

    And amazing pics btw… loved them all 🙂 and amazing narration

    blog hopped here… lovely 🙂 blog rollin ya 🙂

    • Thanks and Welcome! Do visit Scotland whenever you get time. Its a beautiful place.
      And about Nessie, well, maybe he was having his beauty nap! 🙂

  11. @Miss Edinburgh : Thanks! 🙂 Well, Nessie was taking his/her afternoon beauty sleep. So there. 🙂

    @Shivya : Thanks! If the place is lovely, the pictures would be lovely. 🙂

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