I am writing this article on the 25th January 2010. The date is significant, as, today, Scottish people will be celebrating Burns night. It seems a good time then to share my brief experiences of Scotland.
I visited a couple of years ago foor a short weekened break. We stayed at the Spittal of Glenshee. Although our stay was brief we did visit some of Scotland's sights, albeit briefly. ã
We visited Edinburgh for a day and were overwhelmed by the history and architecture on offer. It is a beautiful city with many attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile, shopping on Princess Street, parks, galleries and more.
We paid the entrance fee to enter Edinburgh Castle and were happy to do so. The Castle offers plenty to see and spectacular panoramic views of the City.
We travelled a little outside of Edinburgh, to visit the old Royal Yacht Britannia, which is now moored at Leith docks. The yacht is a pay to enter museum, these days, but was, well worth the seven pounds entrance fee. You can thoroughly explore the yacht and there is a small museum, shop and restaurant. A few parts of the yacht are off limits but not many.
Pitlochry is only a short journey from Glenshee. It is, in many ways, nothing special but here lies its charm. It is a very pretty village with good restaurants, bars and shops all set in a very traditional village. Pitlochry has a full calendar of events, which include its own Highland games, an autumn festival and a pipe band contest.
Not far from Pitlochry, there is the smallest distillery in Scotland, Eradour. Located in the hills above Pitlochry the setting is perfect. You can visit the distillery, learn a little of its history, sample the distilleries own whiskey and purchase some to take home if you wish.
Our driver arranged an extra stop off, on the journey home, at Gretna Green. All of us were highly excited at the prospect, and each one of us ended up very disappointed. Gretna Green was little more than a shopping centre, with overpriced tourist shops and cafes. There was the traditional Blacksmith's but nothing more.
All the Scottish people who we met were warm and friendly. The accent in some parts of Scotland is a little broad and may be difficult for some nationalities to understand.
The currency is the same as England's except that the Scottish five-pound note is a little different and not widely accepted in England. If you have one you will probably have to swap it in a Bank in England. It would be better to spend such a note whilst in Scotland.
Food and Drink
The Scottish speciality of Haggis is surprisingly good, especially if it has been freshly made. The traditional porridge was certainly warming, as was the Whiskey.
Scotland in general
For a relatively small country, Scotland is very diverse. There are the highlands, lowlands, Lochs, Cities and everywhere you look beautiful scenery. Near to Glenshee, the scenery was full of hills, mountains, rivers and fresh, fresh air.
Scotland has good golfing and fishing available almost everywhere. There are great walking areas, some for the more experienced. In recent years, Cities such as Glasgow, have undergone many changes and are now modern and very stylish. Glasgow has great evening entertainment, museums and galleries also.
I absolutely adored Scotland and cannot wait to visit again.
Of course, the weather may be a bit unpredictable, so pack accordingly. However, we had beautifully sunny days in late October.
Shopping is competitive but obviously, if you buy in the tourist areas, prices will be more expensive.
I think overall that Scotland has something for everyone, no matter what time of year you visit. In winter, there is skiing, in autumn the scenery is more beautiful than ever and of course Spring and Summer goes without saying.