After a day in Edinburgh, it was time to get out of the city and see a bit more of Scotland. Some of my favorite vacation days are the ones that evolve as the day goes on and our only real plan to get from point A to point B, stopping as we please.
Our first stop for the day was at the William Wallace Memorial near Stirling. The tower, built to commemorate Scotland’s 13th century hero, is tall. So, of course we had to climb it. You know what Europe needs more of? Elevators.
After a stop for lunch and a visit to Stirling Castle (haunted), it was time to hit the road again, as the sun was beginning to set. A little piece of advice. If you choose to visit Scotland during the fall, keep an eye on the time. With the sun setting at 4:30, we had more than one afternoon visiting towns in the dark. And you definitely do not want to miss the scenery as you weave down Scotland country roads. Seriously. Know your sunset times.
The evening was spent drinking whisky at the hotel bar complete with full conversation with the bartender/manager (I think) about everything from the royal family to our accents to Scottish independence to the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom (she didn’t know). What she DID know was whisky.
The following day was another day of driving til we felt like stopping for something good day. And stop we did.
Castle Stalker (isn’t that a great name?) sits on a tiny island in the middle of Loch Laich. It was only later that I discovered that it played a role in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. How fantastic is that? And it’s cute. And haunted.
Our next stop was just outside of Glencoe for a short hike to see some pretty scenery, a theme that would pop up again and again.
Then, Glencoe itself. Have I told you how beautiful Scotland is? (Also, this is where James Bond’s childhood home, Skyfall, was supposed to be. Which I’m sure would have been haunted were it a real place.)
We stopped again for a quick picture a bit later and stumbled on a field full of cairns. Why they were there, I have no idea, but the kids enjoyed building their own while the parents took pictures.
Our last stop for the day was Eilean Donan Castle. We arrived after closing time which meant we could wander freely outside the castle, while looking out for the headless ghost who haunts the island.
(Just in case you doubt my haunting references, feel free to look here for definitive proof. Proof! Next up…. Scotland’s ultimate paranormal phenomenon.)