We got home at 3am on Saturday morning. I've spent the past couple of days doing laundry and getting the house back in order. Now I have time to share some photos from our trip.
We got into Glasgow City Center around 10pm on Monday night. It was pouring rain and pretty much stayed that way for all of our trip. It kind of adds to the ambiance of Scotland though so it wasn't so bad. In fact, if the boys hadn't been sick it wouldn't have bothered me much at all. We did miss out on a lot of scenery though because the clouds were so low. That just means we'll have to go back! ;-)
We got our rental car Tuesday morning and headed for Stirling. Thank God we rented the car. The tour bus we were expecting to take around Stirling isn't running until after Easter. Some of the things to see are quite a drive from the center. We saw Stirling Castle, Bannockburn and the Wallace Monument. It's a beautiful city.
From there we headed up to Aberfoyle where the Wool Center is. I got to speak to one of the women that spin there and bought some of her hand spun. All of the outside activities were closed because of the rain.
We continued on through the beautiful countryside to Crianlarich where our B&B is. If you are ever in the area, Jan and Sandy at the Riverside Guesthouse were wonderful hosts and their place is simply beautiful. This is the view we had from the large window in our room (the Dochart Room).
It was the perfect middle point for all the places we wanted to go to. In the evening we went to The Ben More for our dinner. The boys made friends with the new owners' son, Charlie, and played pool with him each night while we enjoyed a pint after we ate. Again, a great place. The new owners have only had the place for a few weeks, but the food and friendly atmosphere was terrific.
Here's an outside shot of the guesthouse from their website. Notice the blue sky? We didn't see that. lol.
On Wednesday we headed up through the Highlands to Glencoe.
The scenery was gorgeous all the way up. We had spurts of rain with little bits of sunshine that gave us great views like this on at the visitor's center in Glencoe.
They have a great exhibit on the history of the Glen. I was happy to find out that my Campbell Clan was not as guilty in the massacre that happened there as was once thought.
Thursday was all about the islands of Mull and Iona. We left the B&B at 6:30 so we could make it in time for the 8am ferry out of Oban.
Look closely at this photo of our rental car. See the green door? Notice how much room is not left behind our car? That was what you call a very close call.
Some dummy I forgot to reserve the ferry!! I'm the most organized traveler on this planet and I forgot something as huge as that!! As you can see, we just got on that ferry. Our entire day would have been ruined if we had to wait for the next ferry a couple of hours later.
After the 45 minute ride from Oban to Craignure on Mull, we drove straight across the island to Fionnphort to catch the ferry to Iona. Here are Dan and the boys being cheesy for the camera with the Iona ferry in the background.
And another one below of some of the island sheep grazing.
It's a good thing we'd only planned on spending an hour on Iona. The skies absolutely opened up on us and the only place to hide was in the alcove of the bathrooms by the ferry ramp. Joe was the only one not in a waterproof coat. He was drenched. To make matters worse, as we got off the ferry back in Fionnphort a wave came over the ramp and finished him off.
Our hostess from the B&B had packed a great picnic lunch for us. We ate it in the Ferry waiting room in Fionnphort waiting for the rain to subside. It didn't so we ran to the car and drove to see Minty on Ardalanish hoping she'd have a dryer for Joe's coat and shoes. I forgot to mention... I finished the scarf in her own sheeps' wool in the car on the way to the airport but I completely forgot to take a picture of it. Bad, bad blogger! I bought the wool when I visited her farm with the Knitting/Spinning group in July. If you have really good eyes you can see it on her in this photo of her with her two-day old Highland calf. How cute is he? (the scarf is the Robert Seaman's Scarf from Myrna Stahman's Book )
When we arrived she gave Joe a dry pair of socks and a wool blanket to wrap up in. She'd made us a delicious cake with apples and bramble berries and some tea. She made the boys some hot cocoa and we sat in her sun room taking in her beautiful view of the ocean.
After tea, we went down to the weaving workshop and to the barn to see the new baby cow. She showed the boys where her chickens lay their eggs (not in the hen house), let them climb up in the tractor and feed the chickens. As we were leaving, she gave me one of her Black Hebridean fleeces to take home with me. We only had about an hour before we had to get back to Craignure for the ferry back, but Minty managed to make us feel very warm and comfortable for the time we spent with her.
Here are some of the cows on the side of the one-lane road that goes through Mull.
We got back to Oban to wave at the camera. Jeremy didn't see us. As luck would have it, he started his shift right when we were there waving frantically at the camera. We had a friend here in Germany text messaging us to let us know when the camera was on it. It was actually pretty hilarious. At least some of you all saw us and our friends here in Germany did too. It would have been a shame if no one saw the goofballs. lol.
This is my favorite picture from the whole trip. It's the boys with Oban in the background.
When I was in Oban in July I bought some gorgeous wool lap blankets (thanks for the tip, Dodie!) for about $20 each. There was a sign saying they were on sale, but I thought it was a tourist thing and I'd get more when I came back. They really were on sale because they are twice that now. Argh. Now I wish I'd bought at least two more.
The next morning we got up, ate our last full breakfast and headed back to Glasgow. Somehow I navigated us directly to the car rental place without getting us lost. Okay... Dan had to make a couple of illegal turns, but we got there. I love Enterprise Car Rental. They picked us up the first morning and gave us a ride back to Central Station when we dropped the car off. We put our luggage in hold luggage at the train station and headed to the Science Center. When we got off the train we realized we were only a few blocks from the car rental. Now we know for next time. lol.
The boys LOVED the Science Center. They've been to Science Centers all over the place, but we had this one to ourselves after some school groups left. It was awesome.
We spent a couple of hours there and then headed to John Lewis so I could drool over the yarn. The exchange rate was so bad that I didn't buy any but I did get the new Jaeger book. I saw the cover sweater in my new Knitters just before we left and knew I had to make it.
That about sums up our trip to Scotland. It was very hurried but we saw a lot and the boys loved it. Next time we're going for longer than four days and we won't try to fit so much in.
I miss it already.