Bonnie Scotland - from Edinburgh to Dornie (June 12, 2012)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Kris and I got up on a train this morning. That was strange. We had to settle for sponge baths of sorts using a washrag and bottled water before heading off for our day. First stop, see if we could get the rental car early. We had no idea how very easy the boarding and disembarking of the train would be. Not one iota of waiting on anyone else to leave the train.  So unlike plane or cruise travel.

When we rented our car at Europcar online and chose the Edinburgh Waverly train station rental location, we had no clue how very convenient a choice it would be. As we are walking from the Caledonian Sleeper train to the exit, we find Europcar directly to our right-hand side.

They didn't have our car ready, but they did have a smaller automatic they offered us. The lowered our price. Score!

Kris and our automatic Vauxhill Corsa.

Edinburgh seems like a neat town, and I hope to explore it on the way back - on foot. We had a very busy day planned, so we had to be off.

First stop - Stirling Castle.

Stirling seems like a town of character. We were quite taken with the castle and spent over three hours there.

I bought a postcard while at the castle. It turns out the lady monitoring the area, Iona Leishman, did the painting in the postcard.  She had some hauntingly great paintings in the building.

Kris seemed to enjoy Stirling.

The castle overlooks the King's Knot - a raised garden plot commissioned by one of the former kings who never saw it completed.

King's Knot

Next up, the Stirling Bridge (which sits near the spot of the Battle of Stirling Bridge from many many moons ago.)

We weren't done with Stirling yet. Next up, climbing the steep path to the William Wallace Monument and the Abbey Craig. I waited for Kris as he continued climbing the 246 steps of the monument. I wasn't going to pay someone to torture me like that.

(Side note: almost everything in Stirling has William Wallace's or Robert the Bruce's name referenced.)

Kris had a great view of the town below from the top.

Our next stop was in a quiet little picturesque town called Luss which sits on Loch Lomand and the Trossachs National Park.

Village of Luss, Scotland

We walked through the town to the waterfront and picked up refreshments before driving further down the road to Glencoe and Fort William.

Our drive was filled with lots of stops at scenic overlooks at Loch Lomand and the Trossachs. We got to see Ben Nevis.

We also stopped at a strangely placed Cairn field off the middle of the highway.

Dinner this evening was a quick (but tasty) stop at the Ben Nevis Bar & Restaurant in Fort William. It sits overlooking the waterfront and serves pretty affordable and tasty food. I got broccoli and stilton soup with jacket potatoes. Kris got - drumroll please - haggis, neeps, and tatties. And he really liked it!

I decided to emulate the statue.

Continuing along the road, we struggled to find our B&B in Dornie due to a lack of address the GPS would recognize. Jason Thurston, a friend of mine, had recommended we stay at Sonas B&B in Dornie. He and his wife, Alexis, had been a previous summer. After entering Dornie, it is the first home on the right hand side of the road after the castle.  Their phone number is 01599 555733 or you can email johnstongill1 at aol dot com. 

It's really a comfortable and clean place. The B&B owner is an absolute delight - more on that tomorrow - and our room had a nice view.

After nightfall (though it still wasn't dark at 11pm), Kris and I headed over the take photos of the lovely Eilean Donan Castle. Many movies have featured this castle. I most recently watched Made of Honor. Talk about lovely!

What a long, fulfilling day!

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