Travel Report



2nd club trip to Scotland

March 23. - 28. 2011
Prestwick, Gourock, Edinburgh,
Speyside, Inverness, Skye, Mull, Iona, Oban Argyll

Theme: "Scotland in a Nutshell"

day 0 , day 1 , day 2 , day 3 , day 4 , day 5



day 1: From Prestwick via Gourock to Edinburgh

Prestwick

Thursday, March 24th, 2011. Today we start our "Scotland in a nutshell" tour. We get up very early. A first glance outside the window of our B&B shows: This will be a great day - blue sky - sun is shining.


During our beakfast our B&B hostess orders a taxi that brings us from the "Abbey Cottage" B&B back to the airport where we want to take our rental car.
The B&B is really nice. After a shower and the morning duties we have beakfast at the dining room on the ground floor. Full Scottish Breakfast is served, additional extra toast and marmelade, coffee and tea. Very good.

It is a short distance - Prestwick is not too large - and we are at the airport right in time and look around a little bit.
Theres a strange arrangement at the airports parking place.

We find the ALAMO CAR RENTAL counter at the terminal very easily. Quickly all paperwork is done and then we enter our car: a silver coloured SKODA Octavia. We are pleased: enough room for all of us and for our luggage, too.


Gourock and Firth of Clyde


Then we have to pass a number of roundabouts. Konrad as co-driver is in work. Heike and Ralf take the rear seats
We pass the Wemyss Bay lighthouse and turn left to the A770 shortly before Gourock.

with the 2nd attempt we find the road to Gourock harbour - our destination is the CALMAC headquarter.
Now the todays trip canb start: Jens drives - on the keft hand side of course! At first we have to find out the way out of the airport area.

We leave Prestwick northbound on the A78. between Irvine and Ardrossan we have great views over there to the Isle of Arran. As theres a number of road constructions we need more time then expected and so we decide not to go shopping in Ardrossan, but later in Glasgow.

We come to Gourock from the west. A first city panorama.

Theres a ferry vessel at the harbour which is obviously out of order. Deeply we inhale the sea air ! It is an undescribable feeling. Far goes the view over the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Bute and to Argyll - to the highlands.
Views over the Firth of Clyde , left to the west, to the Isle of Bute, from where a ferry arrives, right eastbound, to Gourock and Greenock, far behind there would be Glasgow.
 
Then we walk to the ferry terminal - the headquarter.

We have a very warm welcome there. We give some small presents and we talk about club activities and events. Andrew agrees to support us furtheron with CALMAC material. Here we are at the reception of the terminal.Much too fast this visit is over and we have to say farewell and have to leave.

We want to meet Andrew, who Jens knows for a longer time. This acquaintance makes that there is a long and very successful and enjoyable cooperation between CALMAC and the Whisky Club.


Erskine Bridge and Auchentoshan

As we travel along the M8 motorway eastbound we see the signs to Erskine Bridge. As Jens remarks, that theres Auchentoshan distillery right behind this bridge we decide at once to have a short visit there.

We don't have much time - not at all to have one of the very expensive guided tours. We leave the car and walk the short road down to the distillery. At the beginning of the road we find this nice whisky cask fence. Not bad !
 

Now we hurry to reach the distillery. The aslope road on the Distillery ground.

in the modern and a little bit cold featured Visitor Center we are invited again to take part at a distillery tour but we don't have any time !

Finally we find this old piece of furniture an the area above the distillery: An old Pot Still. Really nice and the weather is great too.

Said - done: We go via the bridge and then on the northern side we turn to the right on the A81 to Glasgow direction. As the first exit is clost because of road works, we have to take the next one and promptly loose one's way and find ourselves in the middle of a residential area because we can't find the motorway entry in opposite direction. After many tries we finally see the big Distillery sign.

There are whisky casks everywhere at the distillery area and also a very nice big stone thistle. We ARE in Bonnie Scotland !

Now it is in froint of us in its full glory and elegance: AUCHENTOSHAN DISTILLERY. Here the famous Triple Destilled Lowland Malt is made !

We pass the Warehouses on our way back to the car.
WE HAVE NO TIME: We want to undertake several things in Edinburgh. And we also have to go shopping at ASDA near the M8 in Glasgow - we need some food and drinks and want to buy several things to take back to Germany.

We are deeply impressed about the large range of products and about the extremely low drugs prices. Many drugs are available in supermarkets here.


Edinburgh

Now - the car is full of bags and we hurry to Edinburgh: The M8 crossing Glasgow is nearly empty and the motorway to Edinburgh is empty, too. Finding a parking lot in Edinburgh is much more difficult. After an unwanted city tour Jens finds a lot in a small aold town road that he still knows from his last trip near the Bank of Scotland building.


View from the Castle Esplanade southbound over the Old Town and to Arthurs Seat , a big rock in the Edinburgh ciuty area.

View from the Castle Esplanade downhill the Castle Hill to the famousGrassmarketwith its many interesting pubs.

... and to St. Giles Cathedral- with its prominent tower as a landmark of the Edinburgh Old Town.

We hurry the steps upstairs to the Royal Mile to enter "The Whisky Experience", but thy are closed since ca. 5 minutes and there's no way to change the gatekeepers mind. We are annoyed and walk the few metres uphill to the Edinburgh Castle. This is also closed since ca. 5 minutes geschlossen. Again annoyed ! Footled a little bit too long this afternoon.
We make the best out of it and are happy about the nice weatherand about the view from the Castle Esplanade westbound over the Old Town. A simply great sunset.

At the Royal Miles upper end of the, Castle Hill, there's a white building of a Camera Obscura (left) and the building of the Edinburgh Castle Webcam (center). On the right there is the tower of the Castle Hills church. The castle is behind the photographer.

Again we go the the castle an to its closed castle gate(left) and walk down the Royal Mile, passing well known pubs like "The Jolly Judge" and many kilt, whisky and scottish shops...

Before we drive to the Piries Hotel for check in, we listen to this Piper FILM on the Royal Mile. WE ARE IN SCOTLAND.


Edinburgh by night

After we entered our rooms, we start out Edinburgh-by-night event: A Taxi brings us to the great illuminated castle , from where we walk down the Royal Mile.
We turn right to Johnstons Terrace. Here the road is also the roof of the next houses line.
from here it is not very far to Greyfriars Bobby (right), the embodiment of scottish loyality and faithfulness.
Here we find the according Greyfriars Pub , where the worst beer ever is served - a dutch replacement because the standard beer it out.
To get a little bit more familiar with the world of scottish ghosts and demons of Edinburg we finish this day with a "Murder and Mystery Tour" through the Edinburgh Vaults, subsurface part of the town below South Bridge.
Many ghosts of hanged thefts still haunt around here. in a special vault there is "The Watcher". Jens takes a small stone with him from here that is responsible for all strange things at this trip from now on. This behaviour truely starts tomorrow. Then it is really enough for today. This day was extremely filled with impressions and as tomorrow will be very hard day, too, we take a taxi to the hotel and say "good night".



(C) Single Malt Whisky Club Sachsen e.V.- Report: Jens Burkhardt; Photos and Films: Jens Burkhardt, Konrad Rosenbaum, Heike and Ralf Schuster
Usage of the material not permitted except there is a written permission by the club, by the author or by the photographers.




day 0 , day 1 , day 2 , day 3 , day 4 , day 5