SCOTLAND 2017

Norwegian Air announced non-stop flights from Bradley to Edinburgh, Scotland beginning June, 2017.  Ken and I have been wanting to do a  long walk in Europe and it took us about 5 minutes to decide to jump at the low introductory fairs!  Upon researching “Walking in Scotland” we found the 96 mile, WestHighland Way walk which could be undertaken over 5-10 days. Of course, we chose 5 days, meaning that we will walk between 14 and 21 miles each day. That didn’t sound like a big deal in February when we booked the trip, but after 12 miles around the city of Edinburgh yesterday, we are starting to wonder if we may have bitten off a little much. Nah…. that 12 miles was on 1 hour of restless sleep on an overcrowded airplane. With nice B & B’s, a van transporting our luggage, and Scotland’s renowned healthy meals, we should be fine!  Tomorrow morning we take the train to Milngavie (pronounced Mullguy) and head off for the first 18 mile leg of our walk.
We arrived in Edinburgh at 9:30am, took a train to our AirBnB apartment in the outskirts of Edinburgh,  dropped off our exactly 22 lb bags (the max allowed on Norwegian) and headed out to tour the city. Our thought was that if we managed to stay awake through the day, and go to bed early, we’d be able to get onto the Scottish time schedule most quickly. Edinburgh is beautiful- lots of old castles, graveyards, and gardens. Everything is built into a hillside, so the views are spectacular. Here are a few pics from our 12 miles around the city:

Edinburgh Airport


Edinburgh Castle, built in the 12th century, continues to stand guard, high above the city.  

From the Castle– looking towards the city

At the entrance of castle

The Moat around one side of the castle



We ate lunch at TukTuk, and Indian Street Fair restaurant built into an old bank.  This was in the restroom!


Greyfriars Kirkland— Greyfriars takes its name from the Franciscan friary on the site (the friars of which wore grey robes), which was dissolved in 1559. The churchyard was founded in 1561.


More views from the Royal Gardens in Old Town, Edinburgh

After walking over 10 miles through the city, we decided to catch a bus back to our apartment.  Clearly our bus navigation skills need work, as we were dropped off on the wrong side of our landmark (Murray Stadium), the bridge over the canal was closed for repairs, and we now needed to walk an extra 3 miles.  We were finally back to our apt by about 7pm and asleep shortly thereafter!

DAY 2- Thursday, June 22

Another day of touring the city.  We both slept restlessly, but were up at 4:30am and shortly there after caught a “practice” bus ride to Haymarket Train Station where we would catch our train to Milngavie tomorrow.  Nothing opens too early, so we wandered around, viewed St. Mary’s Cathedral, and eventually at 8:45 were able to get some breakfast.  

We wanted to go back into the city, and we got on the right bus this time, but going in the wrong direction!  By the time we realized it, we were near our apartment and decided to take a short nap before trying again.  Great idea- 45 minutes of actual sleep and I felt like a new person.  We now had the bus system down and rode back to. The Royal Mile.. We walked through Holyrood Park to Arthur’s Seat..  Arthur’s Seat is a hill that rises 822 ft,, and has a spectacular view of both the city of Edinburgh and the North Sea..  The surrounding trails and pathways are very popular for runners, hikers, families, and dogs.  

Next Stop was the Holyrood Palace, which is home to Queen Elizabeth for exactly one week each summer. We didn’t take the tour (too many people!) but we wandered around the outskirts before going to tea and a marvelous bookstore called Blackwell’s.  We were impressed by the entire room of Scottish books (guide books, history, novels…). The selection of “adventure” and sports books was also impressive, and we enjoyed an hour of browsing.  
On the way back, we walked through the Royal Mile and the Royal Gardens, then hopped on exactly the right bus which delivered us practically to our door stop.  

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4 Comments »

  1. Emily T Huntington said

    Beautiful! I am impressed with your navigation skills–you only got lost 3 times! ๐Ÿ˜€ Love the pictures of the castles/buildings/churches–so removed from anything we have here in the states. I will enjoy your trip vicariously!

    • Yes, you would love it Emily! Ken might still be circling the first half mile of the trail if it weren’t for GPS. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. What a wonderful adventure!!! Keep the posts coming Kathy! And enjoy!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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