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    • Day 27

      Goodbye Camper Van

      October 3, 2023 in Scotland ⋅ 🌬 14 °C

      We returned the camper this morning. It was a great 15 days, but Randy is definitely ready to sit back and let someone else do the driving. This may be a long post as I will cover our last few days out. We had a great night in Fort William, and before leaving the area, we checked out Neptune Staircase, which is a set of eight locks. We wandered along the tow path and watched a small cruise ship finish the last of the locks. We also saw some really cool small tour boats that take around 10 to 12 people out to the islands. Paddle boards, kayaks, and one even had sailing dingys. We spoke to the captain, and it sounds like a cool adventure trip. After that, we headed to The Ben Nevis Visitor Center and Trail Head. Very informative displays and lots of serious climbers getting ready to head out. There were a variety of climbs from a three or four hour slightly challenging hike to full-on rock climbing and multi day climbs. There is also ice climbing, and the photos were amazing. We took a 30-minute hike just to say we did and chatted with a few people coming down from the first summit. Very beautiful stop. We then headed to Glencoe. The roads were better, two lanes for the most part, but the scenery was still so beautiful. This area of the Highlands felt more welcoming. So lush and green, still lots of drama but a little softer. Glencoe Village was small and so cute. We wandered around and found the MacDonald Memorial. Even though the massacre took place in 1692, we found references to it several times. We stopped at the village store, and the owner said that they still didn't welcome the Campbell's, but there was only one MacDonald left in town. We found an amazing place to park for the night, outside of town, but still in the valley. It was a parking lot for a forest walk, and although just off the road, it felt very secluded. There were about 12 other campers there. We went on a fabulous forest walk and came out at a country inn with the best ever pub. Boots, it was called, and there seemed to be more dogs than people. They were having music that night, but I was too chicken to walk through the woods after dark. We met a lovely couple who were in the same car park who gave us all kinds of information on the area. They were staying for music, but they had a flashlight and a dog to get them home safe. We went back to the camper before dark and had a quiet Saturday night. We weren't sure where we were heading Sunday, so we just started driving. We drove along Loch Lomond, and the sun came out. It's probably the best weather we have had in our time in Scotland. We checked out Luss, and it was very pretty, but it was too early to stop, and we couldn't find a good place to park. We ended up driving all the way to Falkirk, which was going to be our last stop before turning the camper in. We are a day early. We paid for overnight parking at the Falkirk Wheel. This is a pretty amazing piece of technology that uses gravity to lift boats who are traveling the canal system. I believe they said the wheel replaced 11 locks. We watched a narrowboat come down the wheel, and later, a group of paddleboarders went up the wheel and headed down the canal. Very cool. We took a walk along the towpath and found a small pub called Lock 16. It was very old and very quaint. We sat on tiny stools and watched the locals enjoy their Sunday afternoon visiting. Back at the car park, we met a really nice couple from BC who are taking a gap year and shipped their custom-built van from Halifax to Liverpool. They have a year to see as much as they can. The next morning, we experienced our first real challenge with the camper. When Randy tried to start it, nothing happened. The battery was dead. It was strange, though, because the battery monitor was showing it had power. Challenge two was my sim card hasn't been working for calls or texts, just data. I sent an email to Bunk Campers, and we waited for a response. While we were waiting we went to the visitors center to charge my phone and Randy met a lovely couple who lent us their phone. After a number of attempts, we finally connected, and the rental company said they would send someone to give us a boost. I also tried unsuccessfully to get the issues with my sim card fixed. What a frustrating waste of time that was. The couple who lent us their phone insisted on waiting until the camper was running, so we had a lovely visit. They had just completed the NC 500 in their large motorhome and were heading to the Lake District in England. Once we were back running thanks to Kenny from Bunk Campers, we stopped at The Kelpies. These huge metal sculptures honor the role horses played in the development of the area. They are very beautiful and they along with the Falkirk Wheel draw hordes of visitors to the area. We found a lovely county park to spend our last night out and really enjoyed the facilities. For the first time in a week we have had electricity. We definitely wanted it after experiencing battery issues. There was a working farm in the park, so we had a beautiful walk through the fields. Unfortunately, the hairy coos weren't around, but there were lots of sheep to provide entertainment. We cobbled together dinner from all our leftovers and played a few games of cards. All in all, we have really enjoyed our campervan and the freedom it has given us. We had plenty of space, and if anything, we would have gone smaller because of the crazy roads.Read more

    • Day 6

      Diner at The Torbrex Inn

      July 11, 2022 in Scotland ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      Als je bij je accommodatie niet kunt eten, ga je op zoek naar een leuk restaurantje. The Torbrex Inn ligt gewoon midden in een woonwijk. Heerlijk zittend op het terras wordt je door iedereen aangesproken...... mooie honden ...... op vakantie......... geweldig!
      Na de heerlijke verjaardagsborrel, maar wat lekkers besteld. Smaakte voortreffelijk. Ach en zo maak je weer wat mee 🤗
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    • Day 3

      Lothian to Ballater

      May 10, 2022 in Scotland ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      Der Weg führt uns weiter Richtung Norden durch die Lothians Richtung Braemar (Cairngorns National Park).
      Auf dem Wege besuchen wir die Kelpies, zwei 30 m hohe Pferdekopfstatuen aus jeweils 300 Tonnen Edelstahl. Errichtet 2013 zur Huldigung der Transportpferde der Region, die früher hier die Schiffe den Kanal hochzogen.
      Gut gefördert vom Kultusministerium, haben die Statuen dazu beigetragen, dass der Tourismus in der ganzen Region deutlich besser angesprungen ist. In normalen Jahren hat der Park drumherum mehr als 1 Million Besucher. Kanufahren, Wandern, Mountainbiken gehen in der Region hervorragend. Vorher war hier eher nix los.
      Trotzdem hatten auch hier wieder einige Traditionalisten etwas dagegen. Die Eröffnung verzögerte sich um einige Jahre.
      Mit gemischtem Wetter weiter Richtung Nord Ost. Dach auf-Dach zu-Dach auf-Dach zu. Welcome to Scotland!
      Wir haben festgestellt, dass man ab 70km/h bei Regen und offenem Dach nicht nass wird. An Ampeln blöd.
      Nächstes atemberaubendes Bauwerk ist das Wallace Monument in Stirling. Erbaut zu Ehren William Wallace, der 1297 bei Stirling die Soldaten der englischen Krone geschlagen hat. Der Beginn der Unabhängigkeit Schottlands. Es gab danach noch einige weitere Schlachten und am Ende war es erst 1314 Robert the Bruce, der die entscheidende Schlacht gewann und die Unabhängigkeit besiegelte. Viel berühmter und ein Volksheld ist aber William Wallace, dem dieser Turm 1869 gewidmet wurde. Das Denkmal für Robert the Bruce ist eine „normale Statue“.
      Wir haben nun endlich die normale Zivilisation verlassen und bewegen uns durch den südlichen Teil des Cairngorms National Park. Der größte Nationalpark Grossbritanniens.
      Traumhafte, kurvenreiche Strecken durch Hügel und Berge.
      Angekommen sind wir in Ballater, einem Teil des Victorian Heritage Trail. Diverse Schlösser an einer Route. Inklusive Balmoral Castle.
      Unser Castle ist heute aber das Dee Side Inn in Ballater. Dinner Time!!!!
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    • Day 3

      Signing on from Bonnie Scotland

      September 1, 2022 in Scotland ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Hello everyone,

      MIke and I hit the road again on Tuesday. This time we’re off to Europe for the trip that we planned but canceled in 2020 due to COVID. And, although it feels like we just unpacked our suitcases from our last overseas adventure, the timing of this trip was mostly driven by some cycling buddies who we are meeting in Bordeaux mid-September. The first part of our trip will be in the UK and include family visits and some walking. The second part will centre around the Bordeaux area of France.

      As our trip approached this summer we had an increasing sense of dread from all of the reported chaos at airports. Even Mike, who rarely stresses, was visibly agitated about our planned connection in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport after a report of 16,000 undelivered bags in one day. Aberration or not, Schiphol sounded like a very bad place to be connecting. Adding to our concern, KLM canceled the flight we had booked to Edinburgh so we scrambled to rebook on Easyjet - an airline almost guaranteed not to arrive on time. Mike does love to solve problems so he took to watching Youtube videos of people trying to get through Schiphol. This only increased his anxiety and he pleaded with me to consider carry-on only. I never thought that the words Heather Parry and “ carry-on luggage” would appear together in the same paragraph but now I am rocking my black on black on black capsule wardrobe.
      The actual trip over went without a hitch. Sharon dropped us off early Tuesday and we whipped through security. The Vancouver to Amsterdam flight was business class on KLM and that was a mini-vacation all on its own. Fully reclining seats, a fancy headset, champagne before my bum touched the seat, wine menu, a smiling KLM attendant who gently placed a linen cloth over my tray. It will be hard to go back to cattle class! Because we had only carry-on we didn’t have to leave security or clear customs in Amsterdam avoiding all of the dreaded line-ups that Mike had been streaming on Youtube.
      We arrived in Edinburgh at about 7 Wed. night. Mike thought the pilot had taken a wrong turn because it was a cloudless, sunny day when we landed. My cousin Isobel and her husband Derek Graham welcomed us warmly and we are now in the very pretty town of Linthithgow - about 30km west of Edinburgh. Isobel and I are actually second cousins as our Grannys (Helen and Isobel Sutherland )were sisters. Her Grandmother Isa - for Isabel - married a Baillie and if any of our family come to Scotland , we are most often hosted by one of the Baillie clan. And hospitable they are! I recall on one of my first visits here with my sister Helen we were passed around the family like parcels and everyone enjoyed feeding us as much as possible. We were too polite or shy to refuse any food on offer and we rolled off of the plane when we got home. I’ll try to show more restraint on this visit.
      Yesterday morning we ventured into the city by train. Mike and I were here not too many years back so we decided to forgo visiting the Edinburgh castle , Holyrood Palace etc and instead did a nice long walk. We went to see George Heriot’s where my Dad went to school. The school was founded in 1628 by George Heriot who was the goldsmith to James VI. He bequeathed his estate to the city for the education of “fatherless bairns of the toune of Edinburgh”. Besides it’s beautiful buildings and interesting history, my Dad always said it was a formative part of his education and life. Much like his father and grandfather before him, Dad was a life-long learner and , like many immigrants, had an unwavering conviction that education was the key to success. My siblings and I can attest to the fact that we could get away with quite a bit of shenanigans but we were always expected to make every effort at school.
      But I digress. Edinburgh has been sunny- a remarkable occurence. The festival is over and the city looks a wee bit hungover with a lot of garbage needing picked up. There was a notable lack of buskers such as pipers and men dressed as Braveheart on the streets. The shops were quiet and we were able to pick up a few supplies for our coming walk on the Fife Coastal Path. They say that in Scotland there are 5.4 million people, 6500 Highland Coos (cows), 1 monster (Lochness) and 180 million gazillion midgies. So, on the advice of the shopkeeper of the local outdoor adventure shop we bought a book about the Fife Coastal Path and a can of Smidge to ward of the midgies.
      One very unexpected but happy wrinkle in our visit here is the fact that Isobel and Derek’s youngest daughter Mairie is having her first baby as I write this. When they invited us to stay it was assumed Mairie’s wee bairn would be born mid-August, but babies pick their own dates and Mairie is 3 weeks overdue. She has now been in labour for a full day and Isobel is with her to attend the birth. We are trying to stay out of the way with long walks and efforts to keep the Grandfather Derek calm and distracted. Hopefully baby will arrive in the next few hours. I believe there were plans for a home birth but the whole gang are now at the local hospital. Best laid plans…….
      We took a long walk about the town of Linlithgow today. Very pretty with friendly people, lots of cafes and green spaces.The Linlithgow Palace is at the heart of the town . Mary Queen of Scots and King James V were born at this castle as it was a main stronghold of the Stewarts. I won’t even try to connect the dots from Mary Queen of Scots to today’s monarchy. This afternoon the cousins came round to stare at their curious Canadian relatives. We shared stories and tried to sort out the family tree on my Grandma’s side. Lots of repeated names like Isobel(Isa), Alexandrina(Ina), Ruby, Helen, Fiona, Archie, May, James and Tommy.
      Tomorrow we start the next phase of our trip. Derek will drop us on the north side of the Firth of Forth and we will walk the Fife Coastal Path for 3 days towards St. Andrews.
      That’s the news for now.
      Hope all is well where you are.
      Heather/ Mom xx
      Footnote: Baby boy Archie finally arrived this afternoon.
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    • Day 5

      The Kelpies

      May 7, 2023 in Scotland

      Eine Pflicht für Schottland-Besucher. Die Doppeltüren sind ca. 30 Meter hoch und bestehen aus 7.000 unterschiedlichen Edelstahl-Platten. Bei schönen Wetter sieht das klasse aus, abends bei Beleuchtung muss es auch sehr toll sein.Read more

    • Day 29

      The Kelpies in Falkirk

      September 25, 2023 in Scotland ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

      The Kelpies sind zwei Skulpturen aus rostfreiem Stahl, die jeweils rund 30 m hoch sind. Sie stehen in dem 2013 eröffneten Park The Helix.

      Die Skulpturen stellen zwei Kelpien dar, Wassergeister in Pferdegestalt. Damit soll die Bedeutung von Pferden und ihrer Zugkraft zu Beginn der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung der Region ausgedrückt werden. Sie zogen u. a. schwer beladene Wagen, Pflüge und Lastkähne.Read more

    • Edinburgh and Falkirk

      September 29, 2019 in Scotland ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      We drove into Edinburgh this morning and visited some friends for fellowship. We were surprised to see two girls from Queensland there! (We had previously met Laura at Nic and Matt's wedding)
      After lunch we met up with Matt and Kath, Olivia and Sam at our campsite close to the Falkirk Wheel in the Scotish lowlands not far from Edinburgh
      The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world. Locks are also used to connect the canals. We had the obligatory ride upstream!
      We booked a second night in Falkirk Wheel park. We took the train into Edinburgh and spent the day wandering around the old town with its cobbled streets and steep alleys. A visit to Edinburgh castle took a few hours with lots of war memorabilia, history and also the crown jewels. Parts of the castle date back to the 12th century. It stand high on the hill dominating the skyline over the old town. It was used as a military fortress for many years.
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    • Day 5

      Outlander - Blackness Castle 1

      August 10, 2023 in Scotland ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

      Blackness Castle is a 15th-century fortress, near the village of Blackness, Scotland, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth. It was built, probably on the site of an earlier fort, by Sir George Crichton in the 1440s.Read more

    • Day 4

      Stirling-Falkirk Wheel

      June 13, 2022 in Scotland ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      Ein Schiffshebewerk der ganz besonderen Art. Es verbindet Edinburgh und Glasgow zu Wasser.
      Den Stellplatz wählten wir direkt neben dem Falkirk Wheel, für 15 Pfund pro Nacht. Erstmal alles in Augenschein nehmen, dann eine kleine Stärkung im Café und dann wollten wir natürlich auch mal das Schiffshebewerk in Aktion erleben. Also Tickets gekauft und dann zur Überraschung, Tine brauchte nichts bezahlen. Schwerbehinderte Personen haben freien Eintritt. Und dann, als es endlich dunkel war (bei uns ist es selbst um 22.30 Uhr noch taghell) , wurde das Schiffshebewerk illuminiert. Sooo schön. Also nochmal raus und die Show genießen.Read more

    • Day 72

      auf dem Weg nach Edinburgh

      July 16, 2023 in Scotland ⋅ 🌬 17 °C

      Auch für heute ist wieder gemischtes Wetter mit Regenschauern und dazu noch sehr heftigen Sturmböen angesagt und das ist nicht gut für eine Stadtbesichtigung! Also machen wir weit vor Edinburgh Halt in dem winzigen Ort Blackness. Auf dem Weg dorthin sind neben der Autobahn sehr schöne gigantische Skulpturen errichtet. Gerade mal die beiden riesigen Pferdeköpfe können wir während der Fahrt noch vor die Linse bringen.
      Aber so klein Blackness mit seinen ca. 30 Häusern auch ist, es gibt hier einen kleinen Hafen (vor dessen malerischer Kulisse wir die Nacht verbringen dürfen), ein imposantes Castle aus dem 15. Jhd. und eine gut besuchte, weil wohl weithin bekannte Gaststätte, den "Lobster Pot". Dort kehren wir am Abend ein und fühlen uns ausgesprochen wohl.
      Am nächsten Tag auf dem Weg nach Edinburgh lassen wir es uns nicht nehmen, die berühmte "Forth Bridge" aus der Nähe anzusehen. Bei ihrer Eröffnung 1890 hatte sie mit 521 m die größte Spannweite aller Brücken weltweit und noch heute lässt uns ihr Anblick ehrfürchtig ihrer Entwickler und Erbauer gedenken.
      Dass ausgerechnet zu diesem Zeitpunkt eine Oldtimer-Rallye mit einem englischen Guide und 7 Flitzern gleichen Typs aus Deutschland hier einen Zwischenstop einlegt (dazu noch ein interessantes dreirädriges Gefährt aus England), das setzt unserem Abstecher noch ein weiteres Glanzlicht auf!
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Falkirk, FAL

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