Setting off early we started the spectacular drive down to Balmoral Castle, her majesties royal residence in Scotland, taking in the ever continuing beauty of the Scottish high country. It was beautiful to take in the scenery, but more than that experience the weather – we drove through some slight snow on day 1 – but it was noticeably heavier on the second day. It was an incredible experience given it was not that long ago that I was in the 38 degree sunshine, living the good life on the beaches of Thailand.
The best part about driving as I have already highlighted is being able to stop and enjoy the scenery – that is certainly something we took advantage of, stopping as we liked. You will see many spectacular scenery shots throughout my blog this is but a taste of what Scotland has to offer.
When we arrived at Balmoral we were treated to a wonderful view of the castle, and a great day to explore the grounds and gardens, the castle is spectacular, still a royal residence to this day, but still there was even more beauty in the gardens, a proper estate secluded in the Scottish country, I can completely understand why this is still popular with the Royal Family. It is quite the retreat.
Next stop for us was Stonehaven, and the beautiful Dunnottar castle ruins, perhaps the most impressive ruins that we saw on the trip. Unfortunately they were closed on this particular day but it was remarkable to see the still remaining ruins of the castle, feast your eyes on this view. It was remarkable to see these spectacular ruins that date back to the 16th century – truly extraordinary.
Our next stop from Dunnottar was St Andrews, known for beaches, golf and the famous cathedral ruins – a flying visit of this once magnificent cathedral (at the time the largest in Scotland) that dates back to the 14th century. The cathedral ruins are in themselves a sight to behold.
Edinburgh was our stop for the night – an opportunity to get a flavor of the biggest city in Scotland and the capital. We were staying a little outside of the city which was convenient to park our car, however given the limited time that we are visiting we set out to explore. Our destination for the night – the Grassmarket Area, recommended by a friend who attended boarding school.
The Grassmarket has historically been a watering hole for local uni students, and a chance to drink in the shadow of the beautiful castle. We decided on a supposedly haunted pub – The Last Drop – rumor has it, this bar is haunted by the ghost of a girl, and staff claim to have seen objects move, and heard their names called while working. Call me a skeptic – but seeing is believing. The Grassmarket area itself was also a happening part of Edinburgh. Very cool, lots of atmosphere and a really awesome vibe – somewhere that I will definitely be exploring when I return to Scotland.