The Really Fantastic Journey: A Scottish Holiday, Concluded

Airports are such bipolar places. They are filled with emotions only of the extremes: extreme happiness that you’re about to leave for somewhere spectacular or extreme sadness that you’re about to depart from somewhere spectacular; extreme happiness that your fantastic holiday is just beginning or extreme sadness that your fantastic holiday is just ending.

The morning of our final day here (we only had time for breakfast, returning the car, and heading to the airport), we were all feeling extreme sadness. I never like it when things end. Well, it’s nice when a bad play ends, when a horrifying presidency ends, or when a boring flight ends. But, it’s sad that even good things must end. All good things, as they say.

Waking up in the morning was especially difficult. I treated myself to one last sin of meat and had a full Scottish breakfast compete with black pudding and haggis (a curious taste and texture, the both of them). We had all packed quite well the night before, so there were just some odds and ends left to take care of. We bid adieu to our fantastic host, Mr. Peter Brown of the Dormie House, and headed out into an appropriately grey and rainy day that matched our feelings. The Scottish have a word for this weather: dreich.

But, while sometimes sadness consumes, we really have had a quite fantastic adventure. So, I thought I’d conclude with some good old fashioned lists of all the places we had been to, complete with my own ratings of each place. If the location has three stars next to the rating, that means it was my favorite of that particular category.

Rating system defined:
5=absolutely perfect; would come back again and again and again and never tire of seeing the place
4=really quite wonderful; I’d maybe visit again one or two more times
3=cool; glad I saw it but probably won’t come back
2=okay; I’m glad I can tell people not to go here
1=absolutely pointless; I want my time and money back

In total, we visited roughly 60 unique places:

We saw 8 castles/palaces:
Linlithgow Palace (4)
Edinburgh Castle (4.5)
Holyrood Palace (4)
Stirling Castle (3.5)
Braemar Castle (3.5)
Dundonald Castle (3)
Culzean Castle and County Park (4.5)***

We saw 8 natural landmarks:
River Clyde (Glasgow) (3)
Arthur’s Seat (Edinburgh) (3.5)
Loch Lomond and Trossachs (Loch Earn/Loch Tay) (3.5)
Cairngorms (5)***
Aberdeen Beach/North Sea (3.5)
Loch Ness (5)
River Dee (3.5)
Firth of Clyde/Country Park (4.5)

We went to 4 museums/exhibitions:
The Lighthouse/Mackintosh Centre (3.5)
Surgeons’ Hall Museum (3)
Culloden Battlefield (4)***
Loch Ness Visitor Centre and Exhibition (1.5)

We stayed in and/or explored 7 cities/towns/villages:
Glasgow (3)
Stirling (3)
Edinburgh (4.5)*** (It was really hard to choose this as my favorite over Braemar, but Edinburgh beat out Braemar only slightly because Edinburgh is a city, and I prefer the cities over all else.)
Crief (4)
Aberdeen (2)
Braemar (4.5)
Prestwick/Ayr (3)

We saw 5 cathedrals/churches:
Glasgow Cathedral (3.5)***
Canongate Kirk (Edinburgh) (3)
St. Giles’s Cathedral (Edinburgh) (3)
St. Andrew’s Cathedral (Aberdeen) (3)
Inverness Cathedral (3)

We went to 14 different restaurants/pubs:
Chaakoo Bombay Cafe (Glasgow) (5)
Caffe Nero (Glasgow) (2)
Blackbird (Edinburgh) (3.5)
MUMS Great Comfort Food (Edinburgh) (5)***
Meadow Inn (Crieff) (3.5)
Old Blackfriars (Aberdeen) (4.5)
Great Northern Hotel Restaurant (Aberdeen) (2)
Inversnecky Cafe (Aberdeen) (2.5)
Garlogie Inn (outside Aberdeen) (4)
Kittybrewster Bar (Aberdeen) (3)
Braemar Lodge Restaurant (Braemar) (5)
Gordon’s Tearoom (Braemar) (4)
Golf Inn (Prestwick) (2.5)
No. 22 Bar and Grill (Ayr) (3.5)

We saw 5 stone circles:
Croft Moraig Stone Circle (4.5)
Loanhead of Daviot Stone Circle (3.5)
Easter Aquharthies Stone Circle (5)***
Cullerlie Stone Circle (2.5)
Tyrebagger Stone Circle (4)

We saw 8 additional things:
The Lighthouse (climbing up it) (3)
Provand’s Lordship (3.5)
Necropolis (4)
Royal Mile (4)***
Scottish Parliament (3.5)
Ye Old Christmas Shoppe (4)
Famous Grouse Experience (3.5)
Bridge Street (Inverness) (3)

There are 5 things I wish we could’ve actually seen:
Glasgow City Chambers
Inverness (actually stay there and expire it more thoroughly)
Inverness Castle
Robert Burns Monument/Birthplace House

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *