It turns out that I was quite ambitious in my Scottish trip planning, as far as distances between destinations go. We did a ton of driving over the bank holiday weekend, and we saw an awful lot of Scotland. The iPod rwally came in handy, providing us with 3 days of extra super fantastic driving tunes, from Weezer to Neil Diamond to David Bowie to Neko Case. Of course, it was amazing! We spent most of the time in Highlands which is known as the UK's wilderness area. There were tons of lochs, dozens of castles and ruins, and copious amounts of sheep and pheasants. Pictures are up at Picasa Web, and I apologize for the obvious lack of sheep.
On Saturday, we took the ferry from Northern Ireland to Southern Scotland and proceeded to drive up the west coast along Loch Lomond to the lower-to-central Highlands, spending the night in a wonderful hotel in Ballachulish. Max encouraged me to try the haggis, and I have to admit, it was pretty darn tasty. I won't be rushing over to the interweb to look for any recipes, but I did enjoy it.
Sunday was whiskey day, and we drove through the Highlands up to Loch Ness and east to the River Spey where a good deal of Scottish single malt whiskey is distilled. On the way to our first distillery tour of the day, we stopped on the Glenlivet estate for Max to try his hand at clay pigeon shooting. (No clay pigeons we're harmed, but Max's shoulder is a bit worse for wear.) We toured The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich distilleries, learning the intricate differences between Scottish and Irish whiskey--Max is a total expert at this point. We also happened upon the annual Speyside Whiskey Festival which brought together a lot of smaller, independent distilleries--and more tasting. It was beautiful driving, and a lot of fun. To top it all off, we stayed the night in an old castle that had been converted into a hotel. It was really something special, and the grounds were astounding, not to mention the food and hospitality.
We started off bright and early Monday morning to make the long drive down through Braemor, Perth, and Glasgow back to the west coast to catch out ferry back to Northern Ireland. The weather was dramatic and mixed, with lots of heavy spells of rain and bright sun and rainbows all over. We drove the last leg down from Belfast to Dublin and arrived home as two very tired, but very happy and satisfied road trippers.
Next trip: Bodrum, Turkey in a few weeks, followed by Spain in June.