Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Scotland on a Shoestring Part 2 (without photos again for now...)

We spent the rest of the day sitting in beer gardens, watching the world and the river go by. There was a bizarre mixture of people around Callendar. There were the locals going about their daily business, groups of people from out of town, but who obviously knew the area, and then there were the tourists – like us – milling about, and taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the small town. One of the smells drifting over to us was that of the Chippy! By the time we had sat in the sunshine for a few hours, we were hungry…so we ventured over the Fish and Chip shop where we were going to indulge ourselves with another deep fried pizza. But then I read on the menu that they had deep fried Haggis instead! Mmmm, ooh, it was delicious. It has such a rich taste and texture, but with the fairly tasteless chips, it was heavenly. That set us up for the afternoon, so we ventured back to the campsite, via a supermarket on the way to pick up provisions. We were feeling very continental that night, we had Brie, with French Bread and a bottle of red wine – only we had to buy screw top wine, as we had not brought a cork-screw with us – this meant that the wine was hideous! But it’s all fun and games when you’re camping right? We sat in our chairs outside the tent enjoying what was now a beautiful day, with the sky virtually clear of any of the black clouds that had been bothering us earlier on in the day. We cracked out the wine and sat watching the world go by. It was a wonderful evening spent listening to music, and the sounds of the outdoors. We ate the bread and cheese, and felt like queens in our canvas thrones with our plastic cups of wine. We were so warm in the sunshine, but then, because it had been so clear, the evening was absolutely frozen! Sarah and I ended up sitting there with our waterproof trousers over our jeans, long sleeve t-shirts, hoodies and waterproof jackets too, just to try and keep warm. It didn’t really work too well, so we headed into the tent where it was slightly warmer. To compensate for the cold we slept in most of the clothing we had taken with us, only to wake up in the morning to the bright sunshine – I was cooking in all my layers!

It was a beautiful Thursday morning, which was going to be spent lazing around the tent, but as we were up and about, we figured we might as well ship out and initiate the penultimate stage of the trip. We shipped out and headed up north to the Trossachs. The hills, lakes and rivers that make up the Trossachs are stunning. As the road meandered through the sloping countryside, we were faced with a different picturesque view around every corner. Dotted along the road were various parking points, and so we pulled in to get snap happy with the cameras. It was breathtaking. We found our way up to the tiny village where Rob Roy is buried. I couldn’t tell you the name of village, even if I could remember it, as it was thoroughly un-pronounceable!!! But it was so pretty. There were three graves all together, for Rob Roy, his wife and his two sons. There was a small plaque at the foot of each grave, and at the head it said, “McGregor through it all”??? Having taken a few pictures and taken in the history and atmosphere of the place, we headed back South towards Dunfermline, our last port of call before heading home.

We finally made it to the city via Perth, where we had some lunch. We got totally and horrendously lost trying to find the street on which Sarah’s Aunt lives. We have this thing, where we just assume we know where we’re going because we know the name of the street! It doesn’t work like that! Haha!! Anyway, we arrived eventually and were greeted at the door with a smile, a hug and a bottle of cider! The rest of that day, and into the evening was spent chatting away in the back garden, and then the kitchen when it got too cold. Sarah’s Aunt got out all the old photographs so that Sarah could see her family, many of them for the first time. It was good for Sarah to see her roots, and find out why she is the way she is. We slept really well that night, in the most comfortable beds; it made a change from the floor again! Then early the next day, we got up, and left Dunfermline over the Forth Bridge, and headed back for England.

The week was fantastic, and holidaying on a shoestring is the way forward! It was great! We didn’t do the usual touristy things, (although I would like to go back and do that) but we ventured out and did other things instead. I love Scotland – the cold, the wind, and the flies – and I can’t wait for my next trip out!

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