East of Scotland

Our first stop was Grantown-on-Spey – chosen by Richard because of the large number of whiskey distilleries in the area! Our accommodation was another fine old stone house right in the centre of town.

We had 3 nights here and spent our time either hiking or playing golf plus a visit to a distillery which was interesting even to a non whisky drinker like me. While there was whiskey galore we could not say the same about the restaurant options – every menu seemed to be identical with fish and chips, pies and burgers and variations along those themes. We did find one exception which was a welcome relief.

Richard making believe he is trout fishing- the river was very low apparently

Our drive over to our next stop, Pitlochry, was beautiful.

We passed by the Queen’s residence in Scotland, Balmoral – you can visit the grounds during certain months.

But you can’t see anything from the road.

Pitlochry was a very busy small tourist town. We stayed in another grand stone house.

A beautiful loch near Pitlochry

Blair Castle a few km away was well worth a visit.

Blair Castle still has nearly 150,000 acres of land surrounding it and has some beautiful woodland walks.

We walked up to The Folly – specially constructed a few 100 years ago as a site for picnics!

Purely decorative.

The history of the castle and the sumptuous interior were fascinating. The family stills lives in part of the castle.

One evening we heard there was a Highland Festival happening at the local domain so thought why not?

It was a great atmosphere with performers of all ages.

There was lots of dancing with pipe bands, soloists etc. At the end we followed the pipe band through the town.

We felt very much like we were following the Pied Piper.

South to Edinburgh

On the way south to Edinburgh, Richard wanted to visit the spiritual home of golf – Saint Andrews.

I tried to get him to go on his knees on the edge of the Old Course but to no avail.

Playing golf there is on his bucket list but it was the peak season when we were there.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh was really humming when we arrived – with both the Tattoo and the Fringe Festival happening.

It is an interesting city with the old castle dominating the skyline

We loved all the street performers in the Old Town near the castle.

Some were very good particularly a classic guitarist from Tasmania who we listened to for an hour.

Others were advertising their theatre shows.

But the absolute highlight for us was the Edinburgh Tattoo, the best show we have been to.

And on such a scale. The atmosphere and lighting effects using the castle as backdrop were spectacular.

Band from Sultanate of Oman with drummers on horseback

The show was incredibly varied with bands and dancers from many parts of the world.

The Edinburgh Tattoo is definitely a must see if you are planning a trip to anywhere near Edinburgh in August.

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