Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Jacobite Express at Glenfinnan, Scotland

This morning, we departed our lodgings in Fort William and drove west for about 15 miles to purpose if the visit was to watch the Jacobite Express ( aka ‘Harry Potter Train’) traversing the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The train duly arrived at 10.45 am on schedule. Other important aspects of Glenfinnan:

  • This was where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed with a small group of supporters from a boast on Loch Shiel to raise his standard and embark on an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to take control of the thrones of England and Scotland by force. The endeavour came to an end at Culloden in 1746 when the Prince’s Jacobite army was defeated by a British ‘redcoat’ army under General Cumberland.
  • The Viaduct was the world’s first bridge constructed solely of concrete. When built in 1897-8 concrete was a revolutionary new product.

Video clip of Jacobite Express crossing Glenfinnan viaduct.

Loch Shiel, Glencoe, Scotland

Next, we drove back to Fort William and then south, tracking Loch Linnhe to the scenic landscape of Glencoe. At Glencoe we stopped for lunch at the Clachaig Inn which is an isolated spot. Close to here occurred a massacre on Feb 12th 1692 when a contingent of British Army troops comprised of Campbells massacred a local community of Clan MacDonald resulting, ultimately, in around 90 deaths.

Glencoe, Scottish Highlands

Glencoe, Scottish Highlands

Bar of Clachaig Inn, Glencoe, Scotland

Clachaig Inn, Glencoe, Scotland

Next, we Connected with the A828 and drove south tracking the banks of Loch Linnhe and Loch Creran through Connell to our destination of Oban where we duly arrived about 3.00pm. On arrival at Oban we first visited McCaig’s Monument a folly from the 19th century the design of which is based on the Colosseum in Rome. This structure sits high above Oban Harbour and this offers excellent views of the town and surroundings.At this stage the weather began to deteriorate into persistent rain. We then undertook a brief driving tour around Oban culminating in drop-off at a Guest House where the three-day tour finished as planned.

McCaig’s Monument, Oban, Scotland.

Oban Harbour, Scotland today.

Jacobite Tour Boat, Loch Ness, Scotland

Thus morning, we departed our lodgings in Inverness and embarked on a trip as follows:

  • First, a short tour of the city including a drive along the banks of the River Ness.
  • Next, to Cawdor Castle, a popular visitor site about 30 mins east of Inverness. Cawdor Castle is a substantial building connected with a branch of Clan Campbell. Briefly, the castle is mentioned in Macbeth via the Thane of Cawdor, has a history dating back   years and benefits from a substantial and well maintained garden.

Main entrance to Cawdor Castle, Scotland

Cawdor Castle and Garden

  •  After an hour at Cawdor we transferred to nearby Castle Stuart Golf Club (where the Scottish Open is to be held next month)  for merchandise purchases.
  • Next, a drive back through Inverness to the Clansman site on Loch Ness where, with seconds to spare, we connected with the 12.00 noon boat trip on Loch Ness to Castle Urquhart.
  • After the 30 minute transfer to Urquhart we spent about 1 hour exploring the caste ruins and availed of a light lunch.

Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness

  • Next, we tracked Loch Ness south, down the Great Glen, to Fort Augustus where we watched a group of Kayakers venturing along the Loch and a small group of boats navigating the famous flight of locks which link Loch Ness with the Caledonian Canal.

Video of pleasure boat entering the Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus.

Kayakers on Loch Ness, Scotland

  • Next, we continued south stopping at the Commando Memorial at Sean Bridge, principally to view the Nevis range of Mountains, including Ben Nevis, in excellent visibility.

Video clip of Nevis Range including Ben Nevis.

  • Finally, we arrived at our destination of Fort William from where we ventured on a trip down Glen Nevis to Lower Falls.

Video clip of return trip from Lower Falls to Fort William.

Glen Nevis, Scotland

Lower Falls, Glen Nevis, Scotland

  • On return to Fort William we checked into our lodgings and later dined at the Crannog sea food restaurant.

Seafood Meal at Crannog Restaurant, Fort William

Crannog Restaurant, Loch Linnhe, Scotland

Fishing on River Tay at Dunkeld, Scotland.

This morning, we departed central Glasgow and drove north for about one hour to Stirling in central Scotland.

Our first visit was Stirling Castle where visited:

  • Royal Apartments.
  • Chapel Royal
  • Great Hall
  • Military Museum.
  • Kitchens
  • Tapestry studio.

Medieval embroidery at Cawdor Castle, Scotlamd

Reenactment at Royal Apartments. Stirling Castle, Scotland

Visiting royalty at Stirling Castle

Inside Great Hall at Stirling Castle, Scotlamd

Great Hall at Stirling Castle, Scotland

External view of Royal Apartments at Stirling Castle

Next, we moved on to the adjacent Church of the Holy Rude. This is Stirling’s medieval parish church which has a history dating back 600 years and witnessed the coronation of King James VI in 1567. The stained glass is noteworthy.

Guildry Window, Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling

Inside Church of the Holy Rude, Siirling

Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling

Next, we continued north to the country town of Dunkeld, located on banks of the River Tay. We had lunch at the Atholl Arms and then visited Dunkeld Cathedral the site of which has a long history dating back to the 7th century.

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties at Atholl Arms Hotel, Dunkeld

Dunkeld Cathedral, Scotland

Inside Dunkeld Cathedral, Scotland

Finally, we continued north through increasingly mountainous scenery to Inverness, capital of the Scottish Highlands where we checked into our lodgings for the night.