St. Andrew, The Orkney Islands, the Highlands.
Saturday we picked up our campervan and embarked on our 20 day Scottish tour.
Golf is a 70 billion dollar a year industry. St. Andrews is the birthplace of golf. The original course is difficult to get a Tee time but the New Course is more available. Mind you the “New Course” was built in 1875. The Clubhouse wasn’t built until 100 years after the first course. I guess they wanted to see if the sport was going to take off. It is on the seashore and is beautiful in its historic grandeur. Jerome enjoys golf and I don’t play but enjoy that it is a rather dignified sport. It wasn’t on his bucket list, but when you’re in Scotland you golf at St. Andrews and buy Harris tweed (more later). He had a caddy named David that kept him company, told stories and kept score. St. Andrews was a beautiful experience at a historical site. We purchased a few things for family and friends, not to rub it in, but to say “hey, I’ve golfed with you and I golfed here too”.
I spent some time at, you guessed it, the spa at The Old Course Hotel (no pictures, I was too busy relaxing and enjoying it all). The massage was really good, but they had pools everywhere. The whirlpool was huge with a waterfall, then they had a cool mineral plunge pool, so it was that hot-cold-hot thing and it was good. I needed that because I was in for an adventure in camping. (That’s a post of its own.)
A fine man we met at church named Brian Dawson took us around the area north of Edinburgh. It included Culross, which is where the show Outlander is filmed. I’ve never seen the show, but for what the theme is, this is a great place to do it. Brian is a wonderful historian and a great man to take us around on his Friday off. We’re glad we know him.
The church is hundreds of years old, the houses and shops are still doing business and keeping residents. There was a really old mailbox there that I dropped some cards in, and they were actually delivered to my loved ones in The States. I’m happy that the mail is so reliable, and I have found that cards and packages here arrive to the states faster than cards and packages from Michigan to Utah.
Before Jerome and I were married he went on an Art Exchange with Central Michigan University to Scotland, just outside of Glasgow and they stayed on the grounds of Culzean Castle. He painted Alise Craig, which hung in our living room for many years. This is a pretty poor representation of the painting, but maybe you’ve seen it in person. Alise Craig is where all curling stones are harvested.
He wanted to go back and see it again, but seriously, it was too foggy. Seriously. He pointed to where it was, but he was pointing to fog. Not gonna happen.
Driving thru the Scottish Highlands was a series of U-turns and pull-offs for photo opps. Every sight was more beautiful than the last. In the coming months and years many of these sights will be transformed to watercolor paintings.
The Orkney Islands were a favorite of mine. A group of Islands north of Scotland mainland.
It seemed remote, even kind of quirky. We went by ferry and took a bus tour. I love the war history. The enemy submarines came thru to destroy the British fleet, but only 1 was there, so they destroyed it. Churchill (I love that guy) said, nope, not gonna happen again, we’re building barriers so they can’t get thru, then brought prisoners over to build them. Problem solved, so now they have The Churchill Barriers. There is also an ancient community named Skara Brae on the far shore in a bay. I took MarcoPolo clips but didn’t take pictures.
I remember being on a car ferry when I was really small, but don’t remember details. I remember the details of these ferry rides.
Driving the car onto a boat, parking it and sailing the North Sea was memorable this time.
We came close to Castle Mey, you remember the one that the Queen Mum bought in The Crown after the King died? Yep that one, but they close at 4:00 in the afternoon. We knew it was there and picked up a brochure about it. The Queen Mum put it in a trust to be managed by Charles.
Did you know that fairies have pools and play lands tucked away in the Scottish Highlands?
They’ve been discovered by humans and are visited daily by many.
We went and found that waterfalls came crashing down and there were swirling pools, still pools, trickling little rapids, green bedded shorelines. In 2 hours I think Jerome took 200 pictures
We were quite spoiled by the beautiful sunshine in Ireland and the Scottish wind and rain were taxing on my soul, I think because we were in a campervan. In our planning, looking at the remote Scottish Highlands and Isles, I figured it wise to get a campervan. Transportation and lodging all in one. It was small because the roads are small. It slept 2 people, had a 4-5 ft canopy off the side and had a 1 hob cooker, no bathroom, and no stand-up space. A little bit of shopping and we could call it home for 19 days. BUT THE RAIN!! On day 15 I could hear the Marriott calling my name. We can park this thing in a hotel parking lot and we did. I don’t feel defeated, I just over-projected my tolerance for camping. I suppose we’ll do some civilized camping in the future but it will be in a proper campervan (standup, television, toilet, microwave, etc).
F.A.C.E.S.: Art and Exploring.
The Isles and Highlands are a rough and rugged place. Stay tuned to see where the Quennevilles will be next.