Thursday, 25 April 2013

Rabbie's Tour of Scotland: Day 1

We joined a 3-day Isle of Skye and Western Highland Tour of Scotland with Rabbie's. Not to be confused with Rabies, Rabbies is the nickname of Scottish national poet and cultural icon Robert Burns, sometimes called Rabbie Burns.

Itinerary for Rabbie's Tour of Scottish Western Highlands - Day 3
Itinerary for day 1 of Rabbies' Tour of Scotland's Western Highlands
(Click to enlarge)

    The driving route (map doesn't show route between Edinburgh and Doune Castle).
            The driving stops.


Departure: 07:30.

This tour started near Rabbies' Edinburgh office. If I remember correctly, we started the tour at 7:30am. From memory, it was about 15 of us. The average age was in the mid 30's. Majority of tour members were from different parts of the Continental Europe.

Their van or minibus for our tour group. Parked near Mealt Falls on day 2 of our trip.

  Doune Castle
Arrival: 10:15.

This is our 1st stop. The 14th century Doune Castle really brought back memories. I had never been there. It was the location for a scene from Monty Python's The Holy Grail (1975). I watched it in Sydney in 1981. Yes, in those days, you could watch a movie that's a few years old in cinema. In fact, a film could be screened in a cinema for years. Believable or not !

Doune Castle, Scotland, UK
Doune Castle
The castle in the film is far larger than in real life. Not that it's small, but it was just smaller than I expected. Maybe it was because I was young when I watched the film. Everything looks larger when you're young. Maybe it's the camera angles. Dunno.

If you don't bother to watch the whole silly fun-filled video, skip straight to 2:16 for the view of the whole castle. The scene was shot in the "back" of the castle of the photo above.

We don't make movies like this anymore, and we don't make castles anymore. It's a shame.

The young is probably don't know about this film. Apparently, it also appears in the Game of Thrones. The old probably don't know much about the latter.

Great walk down the memory lane. Even if it was only briefly. We didn't stay for long, and didn't enter the castle (probably because the tour guide wanted to spare us from the French taunting).

Arrival: 11:05.

We stopped in this wee bit town for a wee bit lunch.

Dreadnought Hotel, Callander, Scotland, UK

The Old Bank, Callander, Scotland, UK

Arrival: 12:15.

I didn't expect to grace the awesome spectacle so soon in the trip. This natural wonder is simply too good for film directors to resist in using as their cinematic backdrop. One such film is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).

Before Harry Potter, not surprisingly this stunning natural wonder also appeared in Rob Roy (1995) and Braveheart (1995). Especially the latter where its sweeping panoramic beauty was fully unfolded on the screen. The audience could really appreciate the wide open spaces!


Glencoe, Scotland, UK

Glencoe, Scotland, UK

  Fort William
Arrival: 14:15.

This is a toilet and leg stretching break. This is a slightly bigger town than Callander. In Medieval time, this is a city because it had a church, assuming this church was built then.

We had a coffee here while sitting out for the rains.

Fort William, Scotland, UK
The town's church and hotel

  Inverlochy Castle
Arrival: 14:35.

We arrived here after a short drive from Fort William. This is one of the few Scottish castle that in its original state, which you can tell from its state of disrepair.

Inverlochy Castle, Scotland, UK
Inverlochy Castle ruins

Inverlochy Castle, Scotland, UK
Naturally nobody lives here except ghosts

Bridge, Inverlochy Castle, Scotland, UK
Bridge behind the castle

  Loch Duich
Arrival: 15:45.

We stopped here for some photo ops. This is the location of the famous and picturesque Eilean Donan castle. But we didn't get to visit it inside. I didn't know if it because it isn't in the itinerary or it's being renovated. I suspect the former because we were on the wrong side of the bank to the castle entrance.

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, UK
Eilean Donan Castle with scaffolding

Loch Duich, Scotland, UK
Loch Duich

We also met some hairy locals (not Sean Connery). They were hamish or Scottish highland cows.

Hamish, Scotland, UK
Hamish cow...
Baby Hamish, Scotland, UK
...and kid

Arrival: 18:45.

This is our last stop for the day, and was where The Bosville Hotel is located. We stayed here for a couple of nights. The hotel sits atop a craggy hill in a command heights.

The Bosville Hotel, Scotland, UK

For Harry Potter fans, Portree is the home of the Quidditch team.

For our purpose, Portree is the capital of the Isle of Skye, and so provides a good base for touring the island.

Portree is a charming and visually impressive harbour town. The weather had been quite unsettled throughout the day. This nice weather was perfect for us to walk around and explore this gorgeous town for awhile, and take some nice photos.

Portree, Scotland, UK

Portree Harbour, Scotland, UK
Scenic Portree harbour

Portree Harbour, Scotland, UK
The poetry of Portree !

To read about Rabbie's Tour: Day 2  

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