A Travellerspoint blog

Views from a bus

Day trip to Glasgow

overcast 13 °C

It was a very late night last night with Kona - Aussies were successful - Men's Pro second place with Luke McKenzie being overrun towards the end - Mirinda ran beautifully to finish strong for the Women's Pro win. With Kristian's athletes - Karla (our 66 year old superwoman) finished 3rd in her age group (a second third place, beating her previous Kona time) and Ross with a debut at Kona in just over 10 hours ... needless to say, it was a very late night to catch the finish of the pros and a very early morning to see Karla cross the line, unfortunately I didn't quite judge Rosco's finish time well enough - he finished before I woke up.

Since we had a good wander around Edinburgh town yesterday, we decided to pop down to Glasgow for the day today. I had a quick nap in the car as Jeff drove - took us just over an hour. We had a quick wander through the main street before hopping on a double decker open roof bus for an hour and a half cruise around the city. We found this intriguing window dressing in the mall ... a shop full of singer (and other brands) sewing machines - covering all the front and two side windows, as well as the back wall inside the shop - it was an incredible sight and rather ingenious, let alone quite arty!

Tailor showing off their singer sewing machine collection

Tailor showing off their singer sewing machine collection

We saw all the old sights around town but also saw some new ones ...

Modern art mixing with the older age - outside the Museum of Modern Art

Modern art mixing with the older age - outside the Museum of Modern Art


Glasgow Opera House - upturned hulls to represent the now depleted shipping industry

Glasgow Opera House - upturned hulls to represent the now depleted shipping industry


Graffiti art commissioned by the city - courtesy of an Aussie street artist

Graffiti art commissioned by the city - courtesy of an Aussie street artist

We finished off with another wander through the centre of town - and Dad, yes we finally saw an amazing piper and drum band - Caledonia - loved them so much I bought their CD - yes, really, so all the boys can continue to listen to the pipes after we get home!

Caledonia - pipe and drum band

Caledonia - pipe and drum band

Last night in Scotland and we went out to a French restaurant - not sure why ... then we went home to pack all our goodies ready for our big trip home.

Posted by DJBnomadz 15:10 Archived in Scotland Tagged glasgow kona Comments (1)

Wandering around town

Edinburgh showing its variety of colours

overcast 14 °C

Had a chat with the owner of our B&B this morning - what a co-incidence - David has just discovered triathlons - so we had a good chat and I'll be sharing a few of my hints with him.

We chose to wander the Royal Mile today - do a bit of shopping - we all had a few things in mind, so we set out just after 9am near the top end of the Mile (which is actually longer than an imperial mile) - after a wander in and out of lots of shops, along with hundreds of others of us, we got to the other end at Holyrood Palace by 12:30pm. A yummy roast pork roll for lunch and we wandered back up again. We spent part of the late afternoon resting up before an early dinner before a Ghosts and Ghouls' tour of the laneways and vaults of old Edinburgh town. We must say, one of our best tours yet - Liz was a great story-teller, involving her tour group - even whipped Jeff at Mercat Cross (the market place). The vaults were fascinating - we would have loved to grab a torch and map, and spend a few hours down there - something for next time (maybe).

After dinner on the Royal Mile waiting for our ghost tour

After dinner on the Royal Mile waiting for our ghost tour

I'm now tucked up in bed, downloading the live coverage of Kona (I warned David that I'd be chewing up his downloads on the free wifi tonight!) - my coach has 3 athletes at the World Championship today - two men and one 67 year old lady who is rocking it in her age group - came out of the water 10th (out of 18 in her age group), and after 75 miles on the bike is holding 4th place - her running is not her strength, so I'll be barracking for a little while yet! In the pros - we have an Aussie currently leading the men in Luke McKenzie and the fastest Aussie woman Mirinda Carfrae in 7th in the women's race, only 5:50 minutes down making up 30 seconds per mile at the moment, within striking distance ... a long night ahead!

Posted by DJBnomadz 15:21 Archived in Scotland Tagged edinburgh royal mile kona ironman vaults Comments (1)

Our last move

Back to Edinburgh

overcast 15 °C

After our night looking after our country manor, we went down to the huge dining room, with one table set at the window with long white tablecloths - our breakfast table - the chef in the kitchen - just for us! Didn't we feel spoilt! We watched some people teeing of the first tee on frosty fairways - it was cold overnight, but with frost brings a beautiful sunny day.

Learning from last time in Edinburgh, we downloaded our maps and route before we left wifi range. So off we set, straight to Edinburgh Castle, as our Explorer Pass expires today. We arrived on the outskirts on time - then after Google Maps started sending us the wrong way up one ways streets, we thought ... not again!! Accidentally, we found ourselves outside Edinburgh Castle without a carpark, so we thought, let's find our B&B then we can walk back to the castle. Which kinda worked, except for the couple of one way streets that messed us up again. When we checked into our room, Susan said that the detours and changes to the one way streets are frustrating for locals - now I know why we were frustrated :)

Anyway - No 53 Frederick Street looks comfy - one street back in the New Town, over the park from the Old Town - really convenient, so we walked up to the Royal Mile, and explored the Castle. Another amazing feat of engineering over so many generations, building on top of granite outcrops.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Before the afternoon was over, the boys spent almost an hour and a half on 5 floors of an illusionary exhibition - a bit of time out from mum and dad.
The boys on the Royal Mile

The boys on the Royal Mile

Posted by DJBnomadz 13:03 Archived in Scotland Tagged edinburgh castle royal mile Comments (0)

Welcome to the Barron castle

Oban to Loch Lomond

sunny 13 °C

We left Oban and our lovely hosts, Mike and Maureen on (you guessed it) a beautiful sunny morning! We were hoping we weren't taking the rain with us - and we were right - we had a glorious day to mosey on down the western side of Loch Lomond.

Our first stop was at Cruachan Power Station (yes, same as the hotel we stayed at in Fort William), on the banks of Loch Awe. It was built between 1959 and 1965 and interestingly, only generates power on demand, during peak periods. If the turbine is spinning, ready to generate, it takes 28 seconds to get to full capacity. If it does a cold start, it takes 1 minute 43 seconds. The amazing difference with this power station to the Snowies, is that it "recycles" the water it uses to generate power - when it doesn't generate power, it reverses and acts as a big suction pump, to extract water from the loch below, to fill the dam above back up, ready to generate again. It can generate non-stop for about 16 hours - the water level in the dam above will lower by 90 feet, and the loch below will only raise by an inch, due to its huge depth and breadth. It then takes about 18 hours to recycle the water by pumping it back up again. But only generating on demand, they will usually only generate power for a couple of hours in total at a time.

The other amazing thing is that when other power stations (eg wind, gas or coal) generate too much power and sell it back into the grid, this power station can take the power, convert it back to water pumped back up into the dam and the "excess power" is stored as water.

The bonus for the locals is that as the water is pumped back up from the loch into the dam above, it sucks in fish eggs from the local rainbow trout fish farm, so the dam is beautifully stocked with rainbow trout!

We continued wandering down the edge of Loch Lomond, enjoying the views - lunched at a little rest stop - and finished at Dumbarton Castle, which was unfortunately closed due to renovations - but wow, it was built on, amongst and around a big granite outcrop on the edge of a loch.

Dumbarton Castle

Dumbarton Castle

A few miles down the road and we arrived at our castle for the night ... check it out - we're the only guests for the evening and the night duty manager doesn't even stay here - he lives up the road - so we have the whole place to ourselves for the night - don't we feel special!!

The Barron castle - sorry, Ross Priory

The Barron castle - sorry, Ross Priory


Ross Priory's golf course

Ross Priory's golf course

The Ross was the country home for the Buchanan family, with 200 acres of gardens right on the edge of Loch Lomond. It was bought by a University in Glasgow for their use for conferences and education/recreation - you can join the "Ross Priory Club", so you can play golf on their golf course then have afternoon tea afterwards - very civilized! We're about to wander around the grounds, maybe pop our toes in the loch before dinner - see ya!

Posted by DJBnomadz 08:54 Archived in Scotland Tagged loch castle lomond cruachan dumbarton Comments (1)

Round trip

Oban - Kilmartin - Inverary - Dunstaffnage - Oban

all seasons in one day 13 °C

We picked a round trip for our last day in Oban - south to Kilmartin around the bottom of the Argyll shire area, then followed the Loch (can't remember which one) north to Inverary then back around the top to Oban. This was reflected in the weather - started with sun, drove into the rain, hit sun again, drove back into the wind and driving rain, found the sun again - a bit like Melbourne in a way - four seasons in one day!

It was also a special day - Jeff's birthday, which felt different to be celebrating in a new place rather than home, and without the rest of family - we tried to make it a good day for him.

Kilmartin Archeological Museum was a bit of a surprise - a trust bringing together scientists, researchers, artists and other enthusiasts - some exhibits based on experiments and practical researching to validate the scientific theories. It filled in some history before all the other places we'd been to - it covered the early man and bronze age eras - the stone circles, stone burial grounds and helped us view the countryside with different eyes. It was funny that the stone cairns were in the middle of paddocks, not protected or fenced off - just part of life.

Just as castles seem to be ... after almost two weeks, we're now passing castles (almost) without a second glance ... not another castle!!

On north to Inverary and we escaped the rain in the local court house and jail. Again, we experienced a very good museum, covering the punishment and deterrents before the courts and jails really began, then saw the differences in conditions in the jails before 1839 and after .. the big changes being heating, type of bedding, outside exercise, 3 meals a day, doctor visit every week, being taught maths and to read and write - the results of these changes were that the majority of inmates reoffended within a month of being released, which defeated what they were trying to achieve - they had no room for the additional inmates, longer times to go to trial.

We emerged in the sun, but the temperature had dropped. By the time we had grabbed some lunch, got back to the car to eat overlooking the loch, it had started pouring again - what a topsy, turvy day! Still heading north, we cut through a beautiful wooded road, however got hit by quite blustery winds. Luckily when we arrived at an old iron furnace, it had cleared up and we could wander around at look at the most successful iron furnace in Scotland - run for 100+ years. We created a bit of a traffic jam on a muddy one car-wide dirt track, so we extracted ourselves, just as another car turned up ... oops, let's get outta there!

Talking about more castles .. we arrived at Dusntaffnage only with enough time to run to the entrance shop to get in before 4pm (the time for the last entry) - it gave us half an hour, which although it doesn't sound much - was enough to explore the castle and charming chapel. It was one of the better laid out castles we have visited - we could really get a good feel for life within the fortified walls, how the family and guards lived. It was an amazing structure, built on top of the existing large rock formation, making it a formidable and foreboding structure.

Taking the wrong turn back into town took us past (not another) castle, again perched on a rock - a quaint little "stumpy" lighthouse, just tall enough to emit light to guide boats into the harbour in Oban, and along a wonderful set of B&Bs along the water front.

Why no photos today ... couldn't decide what to include ... so just popped in one of our B&B ...

High Cliff B&B, Oban

High Cliff B&B, Oban

Posted by DJBnomadz 13:00 Archived in Scotland Tagged sydney castles inverary oban stone cairns jail lightfhouse Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 32) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 »