Bespolka Home Page Scotland 2004 Home Northern European Circuit 2004
Previous Day   Next Day

 

The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Scotland - 21 May, 2004

 

.

Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Oban (Glenroy Guest House) N5525.000' W00528.457' 16 meters .
Loch Awe (Kilchurn Castle) . . . .
Balquhidder (Rob Roy's grave) . . . .
Finish Stirling (Jennifer Dougall B&B) N5607.383' W00356.751' 85 meters 180 km

Total (BMW 330CiC)

3,810 km

Total (other):

1,055 km

Total:

4,865 km

 

Weather: Partly cloudy, occasional sun, occasional brief rain showers and cool (about 10C).  In the evening, clear, sunny and cool/cold (about 4C).

 

 

On our way to Edinburgh, where we will meet Lars' parents and brother, we will make a stop for the night at Stirling.  After another large Scottish breakfast, we load up the car and head off.  Our route this morning takes us through more beautiful Scottish countryside.  The drive in itself, especially in a convertible, is a pleasure.

 

Our first stop along the way is at Loch Awe, where we want to catch a glimpse of the ruined Kilchurn Castle.  We drive just along the short top section of the long Loch Awe, making a slight detour south to get our look at the castle.  We can only get a look from a distance, and it is under restoration, so a large part is covered.  Good thing we made only a short detour.

 

Our next stop is not planned - we are driving along the pretty country road and see a sign pointing to the grave of Rob Roy. We did not even know that he was buried around here.  We decide to make another detour.  It is a few kilometers down a narrow lane, ending up at a small church.

 

Right up front in the graveyard are the graves of Rob Roy and his wife and, if we recall correctly, his son.  In some respects, it is amazing that they are just sitting out there in the open, and unprotected.  After looking at the tombstones, we wander for a short time around the small, but pretty graveyard surrounding the church.

 

We then return the way we came, turning back onto the road that will take us to Stirling.  We arrive in Stirling at 1:30 PM and go to the information office for some info and then head straight up to the castle at the top of the hill that dominates the city.  We park our car and then go on a tour of the Stirling Castle.  This castle has played an important part in Scottish history, and there is evidence that a fortification has been in this place since at least 1124.

 

The castle towers over two of the most important battlefields in Scotland - Stirling Bridge where William Wallace defeated the English in 1297 and Bannockburn, where Robert the Bruce defeated the same foe in 1314.  The current buildings date from the 15th and 16th century.

 

We follow the guide around the buildings, many of which have gone through extensive restorations after being used as barracks and military depot.  Some of the gardens are the nicest features with the walls as backdrops and the fantastic view spreading before it over the valley and plains below.

 

Once we have finished our tour, set up as a proud symbol of Scottish history, we have a quick picnic lunch (a bit late in the afternoon), and then head down the road to check out some of the other nearby sights.  The first of which, the Church of the Holy Rude, has just closed (and it is only just after 4 PM).  So we then head back up a short way to the Argyll's Lodging.

 

This is Scotland's most splendid example of a 17th century townhouse.  While it is interesting to wander through the rooms that have been restored and opened for display, there are very few artifacts or furniture on display, so one does not really get a good feel for the place and what it must have been like.  Along the way, we also pass by Mar's Wark (one cannot help but just love these British place names), now just a sad ruin of what must have been an amazing grand palace.

 

It is now time to go and look for some accommodation.  We have been given some general areas to go and look, but we did not have much luck.  After much driving around, hopping in and out and enquiring about prices and availability, and some heated exchanges between us, we did, however, finally find a decent B&B.  We decided to hang out and relax for a while (a bit if an error in judgment as we shall see), and then head out for dinner.  We drove into the old town and first made slight detour up to the castle to take some pictures and then parked our car and went in search of a place to eat.

 

Well, this turned into a repeat of our search for a place to stay.  The biggest problem here, however, was that the kitchens all seemed to close so early.  And it is only 8 PM!!!  We went from place to place and finally found a decent looking place that was still open.  And it turned out to be a pretty good choice - we enjoyed our food.  But what an ordeal!

 

After dinner, we decided to head over to a nearby vantage point to see what kinds of pictures we could get of the castle up on top of the hill in the fading light from the last rays of the sun for the day.  We hung around in the car park for a while to let it get a bit darker and take a few more pictures.  It was then time to return to our B&B and retire for the night.

 

Previous Day   Next Day
Bespolka Home Page Scotland 2004 Home Northern European Circuit 2004

Copyright 2004