Scotland – from Stirling to Blair Atholl

 

 

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After a month in Stirling we took to the road, heading west. Above is Stirling Castle, overlooking a field of Highland cattle. Our first stop was Oban, including a day trip to the Isle of Mull (don’t sing it, it never goes away …) then to Skye via a small ferry. After a loop around Skye we continued north, hugging the coast all the way. This meant travelling on single lane roads over mountains and along the coast, avoiding sheep and Highland cattle wandering the roads oblivious to any danger. Then across the top, down the east coast and back into England. We were blessed with the weather, mild and sunny nearly the whole way.

There were many highlights – breathtaking and unexpected scenery, a variety of castles in all states of repair, from ruined to still inhabited, a guitar festival in Ullapool, seeing stags and does late one night, and hearing the stags roaring in the night … we stayed in regular B and Bs, Airbnbs and even a castle, which happened to be in the right place on our 35th wedding anniversary. The photos below were taken on my phone, so please excuse any quality issues, and are just a selection of a great many!

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Inveraray
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Standing stones at Lochgilphead
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Easdale – this small town was on a slate mine. All the houses were built of stacked slate.
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The only bridge over the Atlantic Ocean!
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Oban
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Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull – note the rather creepy horse-hoof candlesticks.
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Evening across the harbour at Oban
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Glenshiel
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Unusual cloud on Skye
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Dunvegan Castle in the north of Skye
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Skye – waterfall and organ pipe rock forms in the background
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Inverewe garden – although a long way north, the warm Gulf Stream winds mean that this garden can support a wide range of plants, including Australian tree ferns.
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The Highland cattle were completely unfazed by traffic close by.
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Graveyard with a view at Ullapool
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Achiltibuie

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Talmine, on the north coast of Scotland
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The Stacks at Dunnet Head. There were seals resting on the rock ledges at the base of the Stacks. This is the most northerly point on the mainland, not John O’Groats as we are led to believe.
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Ackergill Castle where we stayed for our 35th wedding anniversary – it just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
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The dining room in Ackergill Castle
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Dunrobin Castle – the holiday home of the Dukes of Sutherland. In the garden was a summer house full of trophies from hunting trips, including heads of an elephant, a giraffe, buffaloes, tiny deer, tails of elephants, rhinos, not to mention the stuffed birds and human trophies from Neolithic graves. Deeply shocking.
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The walled garden at Blair Atholl Castle

 

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16 thoughts on “Scotland – from Stirling to Blair Atholl

  1. Naughty of you to mention ‘the song’. I wouldn’t have thought of it if you hadn’t written that word ‘song’. Now of COURSE it is in my head. (You did that on purpose.)
    Beautiful photos. The first thing I noticed in the Inverewe garden was NZ flax. Easdale certainly appeals. I love, in all the photos, the cool crystal clear light – just like (sigh!) home! (New Zealand) I don’t think enough fuss is made of Scotland. It is MAGIC!

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    1. I think if we had overcast days and rain, the experience would have been very different, but we really saw Scotland at its best. I agree, there is very much a fellow feeling with New Zealand (and Iceland too, which maybe isn’t surprising, they are geographically close). The west coast especially is spectacularly beautiful. Recommended!

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  2. You’ve only gone and taken in some of my favourite bits of Scotland. Nice to return there by way of your images and hope you had a simply fantastic time wherever you traveled in bonnie Scotland.🍀

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      1. A bit more recent, but we got married just outside of Oban and spent the honeymoon in the highlands, going on up through Glen Shiel and on to Applecross and Torridon before crossing over to Loch Tay. Beautiful. Thanks for bringing it all back Anna, John xx

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  3. A wonderful exploration down the west coast Anna you did have incredible weather the photos are a real teaser ! How lovely to make the most of your time over in the UK like that . I really would love to visit some of these places but always held back a little when I see the BBC forecast lol .. I KNOW it doesn’t rain all the time up in Scotland and in fact we have some friends who live near the bridge of Tilt Blair Atholl so it’s about time but …
    Great to mix up places to stay seems like you had a nice variety . Congratulations on your anniversary 1981 was a good year for us too 😉

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    1. Yes, I think the weather is always potentially an issue up in Scotland, but we were told that May and September generally are the best months, although we were there in October too. We got lucky, and were well prepared for cold and wet! Didn’t need the beanie or the thermals … I really would recommend it Poppy, I’m sure you would find so much to photograph and sketch – especially having friends available to stay with! I’m glad 1981 was a good year for you too! x

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