Saturday, June 28, 2008


We were pleased to arrive in Campbeltown, home of our son-in-law Steve. Not far from here is the Mull of Kintyre.

Steve's parents Archie and Margaret and their extended family gave a us a very warm Scottish welcome.

Boats at rest in the harbour made for a very picturesque scene.

For a more eloquently written description of Campbeltown see the link below.

When we arrived everyone was busy preparing the venue for son Derek's wedding to take place the very next day. Pictured here - Raquel, Steve's cousin Maureen and his mother Margaret.


The long twilights in Scotland are amazing. This photo was taken outside at 10:40 pm without a flash.

Archie and Margaret

When we arrived at Archie and Margaret's house Archie was on Katie Raquel duty and doing a fine job!

Loch Fyne

Steve knows all the great places to eat and this restaurant is one of them!

See also

Their specialty is seafood and what they didn't have to offer wasn't worth mentioning!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Loch Tay and around

This afternoon we went for a drive around Loch Tay and saw how beautiful the lake and countryside were.

I have to say the back road from Killin to Aberfeldy (the south side) was a challenge to driver attention! There were several times that I thought 'twos won't go into one' this time, only to find that with a bit of willingness on the part of both drivers, we could find ways to pass each other!

There were many instances when we emerged from the forest to be amazed by views of the lake and the villages on either side. Unfortunately there were very few places to pull over to take photographs.

The Dochart Falls at Killin were amazing. Fortunately this time we managed to find a park and walked back to take this photo.

Another amazing sight were the boats on the water. I can imagine this place in summer buzzing with people having a fantastic time on the water.

Every village has at least one pub and this one belongs to Killin.

Menzies Castle

Today we visited Menzies Castle, an outstanding example of a 16C “Z” plan fortified house.

This was the seat of the Chiefs of Clan Menzies and is still owned by the Menzies Clan who were heavily involved in the turbulent history of the highlands, including giving hospitality to ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ in 1746.

This is one of the few castles still owned by a clan today, it has been renovated and restored to it’s original condition at the time it was built in the 1550’s. Today the castle is available for hire for weddings, ceilidhs and functions. On Thursdays Alan Brown will be doing a one man entertainment show here.

Dewars World of Whisky

On a wet Wednesday what better thing to do than visit a distillery - Dewars of Aberfeldy.

Described as “A whisky experience which will challenge your skills and senses, as it guides you through the extraordinary people, adventurous spirits and ground breaking innovations of Dewar’s."

The tour began with a 10 minute introductory film which took us through a re-creation of Lord Dewar’s Edwardian study, a blending room, 1950’s advertising agency and finished in the present day with the nosing table and brand display. Later we took a guided tour of the Aberfeldy distillery with Barney.

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This is a recreation of John Dewars library or office.

Apparently this is the manager's residence. In earlier times some of the workers lived in houses across the road from the distillery.

This is the smell test and for some-one who has a poor sense of smell I only missed 1 - the heather! I guess I know when a sense of smell is important!!

At the end of the tour we were able to choose a dram from one these three - the famous Dewars White Label, Dewars 12 year old whisky and Dewars single malt.


Today we left Aberfeldy to meet Raquel after her 24 hour + flight from Sydney via Heathrow. No traffic problems and we made the journey in just over 1.5 hours. Raquel was in good humour despite her trip.

Nothing like a bit of walking and revisiting old sights to get the jet lag out of your system. Raquel and Lynne pose outside Edinburgh Castle.

We went on down to Holyrood House but unfortunately the Queen is in residence and we couldn't go in. Perhaps if she had known we were coming she might have invited us for tea!

Two images of Edinburgh people who have been here before will recognise. Edinburgh, with its buildings made of huge pieces of stone is as beautiful as it ever was. It certainly had its share of tourists today and it was difficult to find standing room on the footpaths of the Royal Mile

Retail therapy was definitely on the agenda. The is one of the big department stores on Princes Street. In contrast to the Royal Mile, Princes Street was full of locals going about their business. The beauty of the outside of the buildings was matched by the quaintness of their interiors.

One cannot come to Edinburgh and not have Haggis! I have found a website with a recipe we will simply have to try some time:

This is our Hotel - The Apex International. We know the gym is well equipped and the swimming pool and sauna are good tonics after a day walking the streets of Edinburgh.

It's a bit early yet but information about the Edinburgh Festival is already in circulation. The fringe festival has become as big a thing as the other major events:

Websites on Edinburgh:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alan Brown

The resort management organised a Scottish evening; this takes place every Tuesday between June and September. The Aberfeldy Gaelic Society actually runs the programme which comprises exhibitions of highland dancing, traditional Scottish dances (participation optional!), playing of bag pipes, solo artists/guitarists and a resident band (2 men and their accordions). The evening was compared by a man called Alan Brown who also sang and played the guitar. His website is:

Many of the songs were familiar to us even if we didn’t know all the words to sing along. However we joined in where we could. It was a very pleasant and enjoyable evening and the three hours went quickly. Lynne capped off the evening by winning a make up bag in one of the raffles.

Pitlochry 2

We went again to Pitlorchry today to check out the shops properly! They certainly seem to have made traditional Scottish fabrics and garments their specialty. I spent some time in one shop counting the number of different whiskies on one shelf – 60! Most of them I hadn’t even heard of.

While we were in the area we visited the Moulin Kirk, now a cultural heritage centre detailing the history of the church, the families associated with it and the area and people around it. It was amazing to know that this church was established between the 5th – 7th centuries A.D. As we discovered in France and again in Turkey, the missionaries were no doubt a zealous lot.

This is a picture of the hotel across the road from the church. The hotel has something to do with supporting the Heritage Centre.

We also made a short detour to visit the grounds of Atholl Palace Hotel – most impressive grounds and building. There is no doubt Scottish nobility knew how to build castles and to pick the best places for them.

Another treasure we discovered was the historic Port na Craig hamlet and the modern Arts Festival Theatre. Both were very impressive; the first as a significant piece of history and the second for its size. Obviously big things happen in the latter.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


We stopped off at Pitlochry, a town it was suggested by Jean should be on our itinerary. We are glad we made the time to stop; Pitlochry is very pretty and has a really super downtown shopping area for anything Scottish.


We arrived back at Aberfeldy to enjoy the last few hours in the sun at the Moness Country Club – another great day out.


Today we travelled to Culloden via Schiehallion to Killiecrankie, to Blair Athol and the Bruar merino and cashmere outlet. Unfortunately what they were selling didn’t fit into our budget!

At one stage we travelled through a place called Tummel, marked by a hotel, which, it seems only opens in the high season! What was interesting for me as an inscription on a stone across the road from the hotel that contains words from a well know song - Road to the Isles – “by Tummel and Lochaber and Loch Rannoch we will go …”

Throughout this area there are wonderful views of hills and lochs. It is also marked by a place with a restaurant and splendid view called The Queen’s View”.

After Blair Athol we decided to stay off the main highway and travel a route that ran parallel to the A9. That led us into the back blocks and had us doubting the wisdom of our decision. We found ourselves on a one-way road. That doesn’t seem to mean anything here since vehicles still travel in both directions. But we stuck to our guns, drove through some interesting highland country and eventually returned to the main road. We are sure you wouldn’t be able to use this particular road in winter!

Later in the morning we travelled another back road from Daviot to the Culloden visitor centre. This was a visit we didn’t have time to make in 1988; perhaps that was just as well since the visitor centre wasn’t there in 1988!

The designers etc of the centre have done a fantastic job of describing the lead up to the battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746. There is an excellent audio-visual presentation (war room style) of the actual battle and a highly illustrative film type presentation of the battle. The second was not a pretty sight but was really well done and helped to fill in gaps left by secondary school history lessons.

We spent some time walking around the battlefield, now marked by flags showing where each party to the battle had squared off against each other. We also noted the swampy areas they fought in and the memorial erected to remember the fallen.

This was certainly a case of people fighting for what they believe in while others defended what they were paid to defend. From a Jacobite perspective it seems they fought largely on passion and courage. In 2008 it is easy to consider the strategy chosen by the Jacobites as ‘plain stupid’ and the follow-up by the government as cruel and unnecessary. It is obvious that and other debates concerning that period of history continues today.

Cottage on the site of the battle.

For more on Culloden see:

After a very busy 3 hours we were ready for our lunch which we ate in the car before travelling on to Nairn. Returning home involved another ‘off the beaten path’ journey via the A939 to Grantown-on-Spey and the A983 to the A9.


We woke to find that during the night there had been very heavy rain. Undaunted we set off for Forfar where we had planned to visit Lynne’s relation, Jean.

We took the scenic route through the countryside and were treated to a variety of picturesque villages, stone walls and bridges, farms and numerous post card scenes. We travelled via Dunkeld and the A984 to Coupar Angus, Glamis and on to Forfar.

Jean looked the same as she did when we were here five years ago.

Later we visited her daughter Karran and son-in-law Owen and her grand daughter Claire. It was lovely to meet Owen and to catch up with Karran again. It was super also to meet Claire again after last having seen her in Queenstown three years ago.

Later in the afternoon we all went out for High Tea at the Park Tavern where we met Jean’s friend Eric – he has travelled in NZ so we had a lot to talk about. High Tea is a very Scottish thing to do. We started with toast and butter followed by a main. This was followed by scones, jam, fancy cakes and a cup of tea.

My main, which I enjoyed very much, was Chicken and skirlie.

After a very full and pleasant day we started our homeward journey and travelled via the A926 to Dunkeld, the A822, A826 and A827 back to Aberfeldy. We met pheasants along the way; not to mention a deer making a leisurely road crossing. We arrived ‘home’ around 9 pm in full light – amazing!

Moness Country Club

After lunch we set off for Aberfeldy where we had a Timeshare booking at the Moness Country Club.

Before that we spent some time searching for a cemetery where Lynne’s great grand parents are buried. However we were out of luck there so called it quits and drove to Stirling where we did our grocery shopping before travelling via the beautiful villages of Muthill and Crieff and highways A822, A826 and A827 to the Moness Country Club

We were immediately impressed with the beautiful grounds and were even more impressed with the units themselves. Each unit is part of a complex of units with 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms. The names of some of the units or cottages are derived from birds or other forms of wildlife. Our unit is very comfortable and has all that we need in terms of crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils etc.

The resort has a heated swimming pool, restaurant, pool room with 2 full size tables, a bar, sauna etc. We also met some people from Devon who have visited The Pines at Wanaka where we are owners. This is their first visit to The Moness Country Club.


Our first task was accomplished when we found a car park at Glasgow International Airport. Our second achievement was meeting up with Margaret and Archie Wilson before we all welcomed our son-in-law Steve home. He had travelled well from Sydney via Singapore and Heathrow. We all invaded Steve’s aunty Connie and her family for brunch. An added bonus was meeting Connie’s daughter Claire and her partner Brian. It was great to spend a little time ‘catching up’.

Kidron Guest House

We enjoyed the comforts of our B & B in Irvine!

Lynne tries out the furniture at the Kidron Guest House!

After a typical Scottish full cooked breakfast comprising cereal, yogurt, toast, bacon, sausage, fried egg and tomato we were well prepared for the day. We also had what I am describing as a fried potato- scone mixture; tasty but not good for the waist line I’m sure!


Our arrival in Scotland was straightforward; we picked up our rental car and were soon on our way to the B&B in Irvine which we had booked from Germany. We had previously booked a B&B but forgot to bring the booking confirmation with us. No amount of ‘key words’ could help us remember so that makes 2 nights accommodation we paid for!

Once we had checked in we set off to find something to eat – our sandwiches weren’t enough after all. It seemed strange driving around at 10 pm with as much daylight as we would have at home at 7 pm in summer. We bought fish and chips and a donner kebab and found a pull over area in which to eat them.

The autobahn

Once we were back on the autobahn it was again like being in a real live video game with lots more high speed traffic zipping in and out, crossing lanes to find the clearest, way forward; there is no room for error and large trucks don’t make things easy either! Having said that the traffic certainly knew what it was doing and one cannot but be impressed by the skill with which drivers handle their vehicles and the driving conditions.

With Garmin’s help finding Hahn was easy. He certainly took a lot of pressure off in terms of deciding where to go and how to get there.

However, returning the rental wasn’t as straightforward as it should have been! To be fair it wasn’t as difficult as London but not as easy as LA. I had to have three attempts before finding the correct entrance for the company we rented from. In the meantime Lynne kept our luggage company beside the steps to the terminal.

With delivery of the rental behind us we turned our minds to ensuring we didn’t exceed the published baggage limits. After moving things around between our various bags we managed to ensure everything was within the ‘rules’. We had made enough sandwiches for lunch and tea so ate them while waiting for our flight.

Oberstaufen to Frankfurt Hahn

An 8 am start today with almost 500 km to travel. We rose up out of Oberstaufen and for the first hour and a half we travelled through ‘back roads’ and beautiful German Alpine Villages; the names of most were not on the map but Garmin helped to negotiate our way through them!

It would have been easy to come away with a heap of photographs of churches, cows and colourful fields since they occurred at almost every turn. The twists and turns in the road made driving interesting; everyone brought another building or field to be ogled at. We have been in Germany for 12 days now and continue to be awestruck by the sight of villages and fields.