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Castle route to Kirkcaldy, Edinburgh and to Ayrshire

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 12 to 14 July 2000

Wednesday 12 July, castle route to Kirkcaldy, Edinburgh and to Ayrshire

Dunnottar Castle Dunnottar CastleAt the coast we drive to Dunnottar Castle, somewhat south of Stonehaven. The ruins themselves are beautiful, but especially the location on a cliff, 50 metres above the savage sea, makes it a magnificent view. Quite a lot of bloody events have happened here. Have a look on our castle-page to find more information on this castle.
Since Teije has problems with his feet and can't walk for long we skip a visit to the castle since it is a steep climb. But in 2003 we do visit it; read all about it there with more pictures (these are also made in 2003).
Braemar castleVia the B976, a lovely small road, going parallel to the A93, we arrive at Crathie, close by Balmoral Castle. Originally build in the 16th century, but completely rebuild in the 19th century into a country house. Since 1852 it is the royal residence in Scotland, where the royal family often spend their summers. The road then leads us into the hills and at Braemar we visit this small castle that looks a bit like an Egyptian dovecote. On the inside it is much bigger than it looks from the inside.
Public toilets are everywhereOne big advantage of Scotland is the presence of public toilets everywhere, something Elisabeth appreciates very much. In cities, small villages, along deserted roads, you will find them anywhere. Sometimes it seems as if we are driving a public toilet-route!
After we leave Glen Shee, we come in a much flatter and busier area. We have arrived at the middle of Scotland again, where the 3 largest cities are: Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth. Perth has been capital of Scotland for many centuries.
Again, we have made quite a long drive and we start looking for a hotel. We end up in Kirkcaldy, with a view on Edinburgh in the distance, opposite of the bay. It takes some time before we find an affordable hotel, but we don't feel very welcome there, so we decide to stay just one night. But the distance to the sea is only a hundred yards, so we have a walk on the beach at night.

Thursday 13 July 2000, we visit Edinburgh

Along the beautiful coastal road towards Edinburgh we pass the village Aberdour and see the door of Aberdour Hotel wide open. Within 5 minutes we have arranged a place for the next night, unlike some other times when it has taken us hours to find something we like.
Across the impressive Forth Road Bridge, we drive directly into the centre of Edinburgh. Just beneath the castle is a car park where we park our car, so in the middle of the centre.
View on EdinburghThe city is situated magnificently on a rock formation and extinguished vulcanos, and really stands out in this flat area. This capital of Scotland is a vivid and cultural city with many places of interest. It's nice, even to take a walk, for example through the medieval parts. Furthermore, there are many spots with beautiful views, on the city and it's surroundings.
Edinburgh from the castleFirst, we visit the castle and the museums it houses. Very impressive, but after a few hours of strolling we need a break. We buy us a sandwich, which we eat in the nearby park. Then we continue with a walk through the old, medieval city centre, a very pleasant experience where on can imagine being back in time.
Edinburgh from the Outlook TowerFrom all the things we see that day, the Camera Obscura in the Outlook Tower fascinates us most. The first 5 floors of the building are filled with 3-dimensional art and pictures of Edinburgh in older times. Some of the 3D-images are of an unearthly beauty, intangible. Like the gold digger, sieving the water when you walk by and the moving dancer on a vase. You can't imagine the beauty of it, you have to go there yourself.
On the top floor we look through the Camera Obscura at the town, in great detail. We can almost sweep the pedestrians off the street. Don't miss this place when you visit Edinburgh.
We enjoy our visit, but it will take days to see more of the city. So that means we will have to return someday. Late at night we return to our hotel in Aberdour, and are surprised by the fact that we have to pay toll to cross Forth Road Bridge. But you only pay when you cross it from the south to the north and it's less than a pound.

Friday 14 July 2000, van oost naar west, Barr in Ayrshire

Almost half of our journey has passed already and we have seen only a part of Scotland. We feel a bit in a hurry, but fortunately that feeling quickly fades when we decide to visit Scotland more often. We want to see everything and on this trip as much as possible.
We avoid Glasgow and arrive at Ayr through Kilmarnock. A nice town to walk through, but not to stay. Not far away, in Alloway, the greatest poet of Scotland was born: Robert Burns. He wrote in the Scottish dialect about Scotland, which made him one of the heroes of this country. He lived in the 18th century.
Like we always do, we take all sorts of small side roads to have the best looks at the country and land up in Barr at the end of the afternoon. Barr is a small village in the middle of nowhere. We really need a break, something to eat and drink, and decide to take a room in The Kings Arms hotel. Before we know we are conversing with English people having their holiday in Scotland. This is a nice place from where we can explore the south west of Scotland.
We made no pictures today, although we have seen many pretty sights. We are not used, yet, to have a camera with us and are very economical (another Dutch characteristic and according to hear-say also a Scottish one) with taking pictures. But we make it up in the holidays we have in Scotland in the coming years.


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