Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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DAY 1

Collect group of four from Glasgow, Prestwick Airport at 1345.

First stop at the Green Welly, Tyndrum for a break and some refreshments.

Then to Glencoe, one of Scotland’s most famous and atmospheric Glens. Unfortunately, we are a little late for the main Vistor Centre

However, we drive into the village and visit the Glencoe & North Lorn Folk Museum. This proves very worthwhile. The museum is situated in an 18th century thatched croft house in the main street. It contains a large variety of artefacts reflecting life in the past and is open until 1730.

At about 1730 we move on, up to Glenfinnan but stopping at Onich for some photo opportunities and then a little later at Ben Nevis for some more pics.

On to Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in 1745 and raised his standard in his, ultimately, doomed attempt to reclaim the crowns of England and Scotland. After more photo opps we move on along the Road to the Isles to the busy little fishing village of Mallaig where we avail of overnight accommodation at the very pleasant Sea View. Here there are four friendly cats. Nice, hot porridge on offer at breakfast. Overall, good value 3 star accommodation and close to the harbour for connection to the ferry.

The day’s weather was mixed; some heavy rain intermixed with dry spells.

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DAY 2

0830 start to connect with ferry to Isle of Skye. Journey takes about 30 mins. Weather a little cold and the sea choppy, but the journey not uncomfortable. At Ardvasar we disembark and drive along the West Coast of Skye to Skumulus stopping for photos at Eilean Iarmain and then head West to Kyle of Lochalsh across the famous Skye Bridge.

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First stop at the famous-and very photo-genic- Eilean Donan Castle. This was rebuilt during 1912-1932 and has featured in numerous films, inlcluding James Bond. Spent about 1 hour visiting the castle and availing of photo opps. Weather a little cold but dry.

We drive on through the Great Glen to the famous Loch Ness, arriving at Castle Urquhart about 2 hours later. Weather improves-dry and clear-which makes for good photo opps at this stunning location on Loch Ness.

After an hour or so, we move on up to Inverness, capital of the Highlands, and a very pleasant city in its own right. As time is tight we pay short visits to:

Culloden Battlefield, site of the last battle on British soil in 1746 (where Bonnie Prince Charlie suffered his final defeat); and

the Bronze Age Clava Cairns.

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Then long drive down the A9 to Edinburgh stopping for refreshment at the popular town of Pitlochry

Our journey to Edinburgh takes us over the famous Forth Road Bridge.

Late in the evening we arrive at the designated hotel and exchange find farewells with two guests. Then on to Glasgow to take the final two guest to their accommodation and final find farewells.

A lot of sites packed into a long day!

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Scotland is getting warmer and wetter as evidenced by:

  • the 1pct increase in spring, summer and winter temperatures since 1961
  • a 60pct rise in winter rain in the north and west of Scotland over the same period
  • sea temperataures up by 1 degree Centigrade over the past 20 years.

Positive Implications:

  • Rivers are in the cleanest condition for 300 years.
  • Air pollution from industry is declining.
  • Waste going to landfill is falling.
  • Man-made radioactivity levels are falling
  • Awareness of environmental issues is rising.

Negative Implications

  • More frequent and severe river flooding affecting 77,000 properties.
  • Higher temperatures which are less favourable for native wildlife species.
  • Catastrophic losses of some bird species through disruption to the food chain.
  • Drier soil and stronger storms leading to landslides and disruption to to transport links.
  • Population affected by more respiratory illness and heat-related distress but fewer cold related deaths.
  • Periods of reduced river flow and higher water treatment costs.
  • More summer smogs.
  • Weather more erratic, with higher incidence of of extreme weather.

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A short life history:

  • Born about 1514 in Haddington of townsfolk stock.
  • Ordained as a priest but did not serve a parish.
  • Qualified as a Notary ( equivalent to modern day Solicitor).
  • Tutored sons of country gentlemen.
  • Developed bitter hatred of Church of Rome due to the burning of his mentor, Wishart.
  • Was captured by the French at St. Andrews garrison in 1547 and became a galley slave.
  • Released from slavery in 1549 and made way to England; considered a safe place for a man of his views.
  • Invited to preach before the young King Edward VI who was being brought up as a Protestant.
  • Was offered and refused the Bishopric of Rochester.
  • When Mary succeeded to the throne in 1553, Knox fled to the Continent, first Frankfort then Geneva where the Reformation was directed by John Calvin who systematized a radical Protestant theology.
  • England reverted to Catholicism under Mary Tudor and her husband, Philip II.
  • Scotland became a satellite of France.
  • Knox spent some months in Scotland in 1555-6 preaching in a number of houses. Then left for Geneva.
  • Mary Tudor dies 17th November 1558.
  • England moves to Protestantism.
  • Scots and English share affinity of purpose-free from servitude to France, Spain and the Pope.
  • Knox lands in Scotland in 1559.
  • In 1560 Knox returns to the pulpit in St. Giles.
  • In August 1560 Parliament abolished the authority of the Pope, forbade the Mass and approved a reformed Confession of Faith.
  • Knox denounces Queen Mary’s mass.
  • Knox dies in Edinburgh on 24th November 1572.

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