When we started this conversation in early June 2021, it was my delight to share with you the various places I experienced during my 2019 trip to Scotland. The process certainly afforded me the opportunity to do research (which I love) into different aspects of the locations I had photographed.
What we’re about to do now is jump into the unknown: the websites listed below are from places where I’ve not visited, but I surely hope we can visit them together in 2022!
All sites have been chosen as appropriate for Scotland: Hearth and Home. We’re striving for a balance between city and country, between artisan offerings and architecture, between stunning scenery and scrumptious food, all the while recognizing the history that has shaped it all.
Dunlop Dairy http://www.dunlopdairy.co.uk/
We will visit this award-winning family dairy and creamery when we venture southwest of Glasgow. Of the various foods we will enjoy on our journey, it was easier to find a creamery open to a tour compared to someone making haggis!
McCallum Bagpipes and Kilts http://www.mccallumbagpipes.com/
We wanted to offer you another opportunity to consider getting your own kilt and accessories, and with the McCallum family, you can also contemplate getting a bagpipe! My undergraduate degree is from The College of Wooster, and few occasions during my years there were as exciting as having the pipe band march unto the playing field with their MacLeod tartan kilts swirling.
Culzean Castle and Country Park https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/culzean
Well, just look at that location–how can we not travel there on our day in Ayrshire? In addition to the Robert Adams designed clifftop castle, the surrounding park offers woods, walled gardens, follies and more to explore.
One thing that intrigued me about Culzean Castle is that it was the Scottish White House for a time. When the Kennedy family gave the property to the National Trust in 1945, they asked that the top floor be kept for Dwight Eisenhower in gratitude for his wartime services. Indeed, he visited there while U.S. President and during retirement years, enjoying painting as well as playing golf. Apparently the display commemorating those times have now been removed from the castle; you can however rent the suite as a paying guest.
National Wallace Monument https://www.yourstirling.com/see-do/the-wallace-monument/
Recognized for his leadership in the 13th century struggle for Scottish independence from England, this monument above Stirling represents the Scottish victory in 1297. Scottish freedom was short-lived however; Wallace was captured by the English in 1305 and the manner of his death led to his being proclaimed a martyr and hero.
The mighty Wallace claymore, 5’4” and seven pounds in weight to swing at his enemies.
Highland Folk Museum https://www.highlifehighland.com/highlandfolkmuseum/
Here we have the UK’s first Open Air Museum, which I have always thought is the best way to teach history. This expansive site educates through buildings showing Highland life in earlier centuries, and particularly through the costumed reenactors explaining their activities to the 21st century visitors.
Ah, well, what can one say about a distillery tour? Simply to enjoy!
I’m not a fan of whiskies, but I understand that Scottish distilleries have been developing a lot of gins lately—that might interest me!
Culloden Battlefield https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/culloden
Perhaps we’ve all visited battlefields—I remember Gettysburg when I was probably in middle school. The diorama was really “cool,” but the enormity of human tragedy did not register. A quiet morning at Culloden might change that.
In researching my distant Mackay ancestor, I learned that the Mackays generally fought on the side of the Hanoverians i.e. the British. And Neil also got out of Strathnaver before the Clearances, so I guess we were always on the “winning” side. Somehow there never is a winning side when it comes to such levels of conflict, whether it is politically or economically based.
Loch Ness https://www.lochness-cruises.com/
This cruise tour down Loch Ness gives us a different perspective. Seeing buildings, and the land, from water level helps to understand the defensive measures put in place by clan lairds.
Glenfinnan Station Museum https://glenfinnanstationmuseum.co.uk/
While we’re not riding the Jacobite Steam Train, we can at least imagine a bit of a journey on the rails, by stepping into the dining car!
Years ago I traveled from London to Leeds Castle by train; it was a day of magic, beginning in sunshine and ending in snow showers. The snow transformed more than the landscape; our evening return was interrupted as the train encountered electrical difficulties. However, being in a vintage train with its separate door for each set of seats quite made me feel as though I was in an Agatha Christie film! Amtrak doesn’t come close.
Armadale Castle and Gardens, and Museum of the Isles https://www.armadalecastle.com/
More amazing castle interiors and gardens—in particular the walled gardens display plants that you wouldn’t expect to thrive this far north!
With the Museum of the Isles, included at this property, there are six interconnecting galleries to bring us the history of the Clan Donald and 1500 years of Highland history and culture in the area once known as the Kingdom of the Isles.
Dunvegan Castle and Gardens https://www.dunvegancastle.com/
For this, our second day on the Isle of Skye, we head to its northwest corner, the home of the Clan MacLeod and the oldest continually occupied castle in northern Scotland.
The site of the castle was first developed in the 13th century, but what we see is the 19th century version of medieval.
Skye Weavers https://www.skyeweavers.co.uk/
Totally fascinating, a small crofting family industry, weaving designs based on the beauty they find around them, and powering the loom by bicycle pedaling!
Come meet these great people and appreciate their passion for life on Skye.
Known everywhere for this iconic image of rugged beauty, let’s explore the setting with its history of clan tragedy and present day appreciation for a “classic Highland journey,” or better yet, Highland hill-walking! Perhaps we’ll see some Highland coos!
For this modern marvel of artistry and engineering, we’ll stop at Helix Park on our return to Edinburgh.
The story of the Kelpie of Scottish mythology is much less endearing; this creature, lurking in lochs and sea beds, wishes to entice humans to their death. Most generally considered to be equine in shape, there are also tales of beautiful maidens portrayed as kelpies, perhaps linking back to the sirens of the Odyssey.