Back from Bonny Scotland: French castles and sun!

I’m back from Scotland now. Yes, back from India only a week and off to Scotland. This is the fourth Scottish holiday we have had – and each time we have had sunshine.. this time there was one rainy morning and 2 rainy evenings. I had a lazy morning when it rained and left my husband to climb the nearest hill in the rain and mist and get some good cloud photos… So this is why I have been quiet.

We made a decision not to take laptops and Internet access or emails with us. Though to be honest some emails did filter through – some personal ones only – except for the one from my editor saying the book proof was ready for looking at. Something to do next week!

I have some amazing tales to tell in due course, of white fairy-tale castles set on top of hills with not only commanding views but also walled gardens with parterres and roses and topiary and ponds with strange ducks on them. When I can get the photos uploaded I will describe all of them as they are mostly little known it seemed to us as they were often fairly empty with maybe less than 10 people visiting.

We were not, clearly, in the Scottish honeypots of Loch Lomond etc, but in the Borders and Lowlands and based ourselves initially in Peebles and then in Birnam which is just outside of Dunkeld. And is the Birnam of Shakespeare fame – ‘When Birnam woods shall come to Dunsiname’. There are still the remnants of the old medieval forest to be found there and an old oak tree which is the one that Shakespeare may have heard of.

More of this later, but I have lots to write up and some excellent photos to encourage you all to visit this area. It was really lovely and quiet and you can stay at many different types of places from camping in the woods and by lochs, to spa hotels and hotels which cater for little ones – the welly boot brigade – while mum enjoys the spa and dad goes golfing… so plenty for all to do! Specific visits and towns etc to follow.

And we need some bird experts to identify some of what we heard and saw… wildlife included a bat in a castle, a red squirrel, highland cattle of course, a mother pheasant who stopped our car so her three little chicks could cross the road, lots of raptors, high moor birds and water birds of various types some of which we identified and some we didn’t but cormorants and terns were easy to spot.

We saw lots of crafts especially knitting and embroidery and had lots of tea and cakes – some very large scones being offered at times! And we walked miles ad miles, round lochs and down riversides and through woods – some of the gardens were in parks and some also had sculpture displayed in them. So something for everyone – there’s also a lot of whisky if you want to taste and even some fishing but the rivers were very low due to lack of rain so this wasn’t ideal.

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10 thoughts on “Back from Bonny Scotland: French castles and sun!

  1. Pingback: Scotland the Brave – Macbeth has it! | tiggerrenewing

  2. hd sdi monitor

    Thank you for this article. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this blog into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases.Thanks!

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  3. Alison Moore

    You ere certainly lucky weather! We live in Innerleithen, six miles from Peebles – come and see us next time you’re in these parts. Meanwhile I’m looking forward to reading more about your trip.

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    1. ukgardenfiend Post author

      What a pity we didn’t know this before we visited! Shame… We certainly did have good weather and thanks for commenting – I’ll be posting more as soon as I can..

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    1. ukgardenfiend Post author

      Yes, I have been to Skye. Not on this trip though. It is a lovely island.
      One of the things that made us very sad during our visit was the emptiness of the landscape and the evidence of the Clearances that was still there . One community had reached out to their descendants in Canada and had linked up through knitting socks in special patterns. The estates were still in the control of large land owners and Earls and Dukes etc who had cleared the land for sheep, and shooting whether deer or pheasants. And were still making money off them.

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      1. cricketmuse

        Clearances? Not familiar with this. Will you be posting your adventures in Scotland? I’m always interested in the personal since my only experience is watching library travel DVDs. Too sad, eh?

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        1. ukgardenfiend Post author

          The Clearances were a terrible time in Scotland when the crofters – the peasants as it were, were cleared – forced – off their land to make the land available to the large land owners for hunting and sheep farming etc. To make large fields rather than small farms. Many of the Scottish people who were ‘cleared’ went to Canada to settle. their travails on the way there were often tragic as many didn’t survive the trip or their first years on new land which was forest etc and thus not ready to be farmed when they arrived. It was a very shameful part of Scottish history and sad to say not all the landowners were English who did this – some were Scots themselves. I am sure there are many books on this period if you want to read more about it.
          I shall keep posting my travel experiences as I can and will include photos too.
          Where do you live? As we can all travel somewhere – even if only locally and we can all enjoy those experiences too, I also write about my travel within London as i go to places with a guide book in hand to learn more about the area …I confess I seem to have travelled a lot recently – and am looking forward to not going abroad for a while…
          Thanks for reading my blog and hope to hear from you again soon.

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