Monday, 3 June 2013

Scotland 2013 -- Castles & Highland Cows and more






Welcome back, Blog Fans.  We've just returned from another wonderful week in Scotland over the Bank Holiday and "half term" break.  Recall that we spent a week in western Scotland at this time last year (link).  As tempting as it was to return, we decided to tour the eastern half this year.  It resulted in a very different but still enjoyable experience.

So, you know how long-winded I get after a week long holiday.  Hunker down, have a cup of tea and enjoy the ~200 photos.

We love Scotland.  The scenery is beautiful.  It's open and spacious.  Everyone is friendly and hey, the beer is better too (okay, that last one is just for me as the rest of the family doesn't care).

We logged 1250 miles (compared to 1400 last year).  We picked up a quick visit to Hadrian's Wall (J) on the way back as well.  Zooming in to the Scotland portion:

Our two bases for the week were in Crail, near St. Andrews (D) and Aboyne along Royal Deeside (H).  On the way up we stopped at Rosslyln Chapel (B) and the Linlithgow Palace (C).

Going from Crail to Aboyne, we stopped at Glamis Castle (E), Edzell Castle (F) and Dunnottar Castle (G).

For reference, it took about 5 hours to get to Rosslyn Chapel and another 1.5 to get to Crail.  Crail to Aboyne took most of the day with the stops but was probably about 2.5 hours of driving time.  Our route home took 10 hours but that's with 75 minutes or so at Hadrian's Wall and 4 pit stops.

We do realize how lucky we are not to have to fly or hire a rental car to do this.  In fact, we only needed two tanks of diesel for the week!

Saturday, May 25 -- drive up with stops

We got a nice early start on Saturday morning.  The weather was outstanding over the weekend and generally good all week.  We only had one afternoon of rain.  Our good fortune with Scottish weather continues!

Our route to the first stop had us taking an old, scenic route to Edinburgh.  I had to stop for a quick photo (above) to capture the scenery.


Our initial destination was Rosslyn Chapel.  Its recent fame is due to the final scene in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code book (and movie) but it is spectacular in its own right (site link and wiki link).   The chapel was established in the mid-15th century and contains many stone carvings inside.  After the Scottish Reformation (1560) it was largely dormant until Queen Victoria visited in 1842 and "suggested" that it be preserved (it re-opened in 1861 as a Scottish Episcopalian church).

Photos were not allowed inside.  We were treated to a nice tour/talk by one of the staff.  Highly recommended.


Our next stop was Linlithgow Palace (link plus wiki).  From wiki:

The palace was one of the principal residences of the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries. Although maintained after Scotland's monarchs left for England in 1603, the palace was little used, and was burned out in 1746. It is now a visitor attraction in the care of Historic Scotland.
 
large fountain in the center courtyard -- plaque mentioned that Scottish King James V was sending a message to English King Henry VIII regarding Scotland's Independence.
 
We had fun exploring the various rooms -- here's Alex looking out one window
 
 folks enjoying the fine day on the adjacent property


Kuk's turn from the window


Kuk and me in a few years?  I had to chuckle at this older couple who had nodded off.


Two of the cutest wee Scottish laddies outside a nearby church before a wedding.


we walked down to Linlithgow Loch ourselves


Our final destination for the day was our home for the first half of the week.  Crail is a small fishing village in East Neuk (i.e. near St Andrews) and made a nice base.  We stayed in the Hazelton Guest House and had a wonderful time. 

Kuk and I took a short walk around upon arrival while the kids unpacked and re-connected (wi fi is a must these days).

I had a feeling that this rocky coast would be in my future before we would leave.


a wee bit of beach near the harbor


the harbor


the view from our room -- that is the Isle of May in the distance; we would visit on Monday


Sunday, May 26 -- St Andrews

We spent a very full, but relaxing, day in St Andrews on Sunday.  I picked Sunday because the Old Course was closed for play (and therefore open for walking).  We parked by the golf course(s) and took this photo of the hotel.

Coincidentally, friends and fellow ex-pats Tim and Lori were spending the weekend in St Andrews with another pair of their friends. Lori was a golfing widow for the day so we invited her to join us.  Glad you could make it, Lori -- it was a great day!


Our first activity was a pleasant stroll along the adjacent West Sands Beach.  This was high on my list as it is not only picturesque but it also the place where the opening scene of Chariots of Fire was filmed (You Tube link).  [This was a fond memory for me as it was one of my Dad's favorite movies/soundtracks.]


of course, I made the kids run along for a photo up as well


Nicole giving it a better effort (Alex was a little confused on why he was running)


this was also re-enacted by Mr. Bean during the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony


Alex quickly split off from the rest of us for the long walk down to the water (at low tide)


he ran to catch up though


 two horses running along the beach too


We walked the entire length of West Sands including around into the estuary.   There was probably a way to make a loop out of it but I didn't figure that out.  We hopped up on one of the courses and witnessed a major duff off the tee and figured we were safer back on the beach!  Once back, we did take a few more photos of the Old Course.  Here is the famous one of the 18th green (on the right) and 1st tee (on the left).


holding the 18th hole flag (though it wasn't actually on the green at the time -- the green was blocked off)


after a bite of lunch we walked up to the ruined St Andrews castle -- this view is from the castle looking back to the cathedral up the coast


. . . and one of the castle (or what's left of it).  Quite a bit of history with the castle with the wars of Scottish Independence and later with the Scottish Reformation (wiki link).  Cardinal David Beaton imprisoned and later burned Protestant preacher George Wishard in 1546 in front of the castle walls.  Later that year, Wishard's friends snuck in disguised as masons and murdered Beaton and hung his body outside for all to see.  Protestants took hold for awhile and thwarted an underground (tunnel) attack by digging their own countermine (tunnel)!  Neat stuff.


Kuk with Lori -- again, glad you could join us Lori


 our turn


we enjoyed relaxing in the sun on the castle grounds -- Nicole made a monster daisy chain


Alex stormed the hill


 almost


nice one of Nicole


Alex preparing to roll down the hill (it's not always about the history you know)


next stop was the (ruined) Cathedral -- like many, it did not survive the Reformation


artsy shot #1


 view of cathedral grounds and St Andrews from the tower


artsy shot #2


We walked back to the golf courses and bid adieu to Lori who re-joined Tim and the gang.  I thought I would post this info board about the golf courses.  The famous Old Course is but one of many.  There are actually 6 courses on the site plus one more off site.

The Old Course is considered the "Home of Golf" and dates back to the 1400s.  Interestingly, King James II banned golf in 1457 because folks were playing too much instead of practicing archery.  The ban was lifted in 1502 by King James IV since he fancied a round himself.

The course initially had 22 holes but some were thought too short so were combined with others to reach 18 which is how the standard was established.

The "New" Course opened for play in 1895.

Another neat feature is the Himalayas Putting Green run by the Ladies Putting Club and open since 1867.  There are 9-hole and 18-hole courses.  For a grand total of £4 we played the 9-hole course.  We had so much fun, we actually did it twice.  We quickly gave up keeping score.  I imagine we were close to a 72 with putting alone (though it is set up considerable tougher than a regular green).  What a hoot.


Alex at the ready.


We later walked some of the Old Course -- perhaps about 4 holes out and 4 in.  Here's Nicole in one of the famous pot bunkers.


 family shot near one of the larger ones (2nd or 3rd hole -- sorry I didn't note it)


ground level shot


Nicole on the 17th green


the famous 700 year old Swilcan Bridge


parents' turn


kids' turn

Fantastic day in St Andrews.


Monday, May 27 -- Anstruther and the Isle of May

Monday was our day in/around the fishing village of Anstruther.  We had booked a boat trip out of the Isle of May for the only sailing of the day at 2:15.   We decided to visit a small cheese shop/farm and then the Fisheries Museum before hand.

Well, the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese shop (link) was a little disappointing.  They were making cheese but it's a small operation and they just had this one vat going.  Oh well.  We did watch a short video and read the info boards.   We'd seen similar (and bigger) operations in Cheddar and Normandy. 

We did try a few samples and bought some for later (along with a few other souvenirs) so all was not lost.  It would be a nice place for lunch but the timing didn't work out for us.

Next up, in Anstruther proper, was the Fisheries Museum.   It's much larger than the little storefront would have you believe.  It was well done and we were glad we went.  We especially liked the parts on the early fishing industry.

Fishing was hard work.  It was a family, if not community, affair.  The women, in particular, seemed to have loads to do.  For instance, baiting the long lines with over 1000 hooks.  There was another photo of them carrying the men to the boat so they wouldn't get wet!  Not to mention all the "regular" chores that they were responsible for.



I also enjoyed this display on herring packing.  Since herring is fairly fatty, they have to cure the fish quickly.  Two to clean and one to pack in the barrel with salt.  If I read it correctly, they could clean 60 fish a minute -- hard to believe.   The packer would fill 3 barrels an hour.  The process became regulated to ensure the highest quality and was known as the Scotch Cure.

 finger clothes or cloots to protect hands from the salt water or a slip of the knive


I've placed most of the food items at the end.  However, since this place is fairly famous, I'll include it here.


Supposedly some of the best fish-n-chips in all the land.  Not bad -- I could definitely tell the quality.  But you know what?  I guess I'm not a fan, no matter how good (it's the fried bit that I can't handle in large quantities).


We treated ourselves to ice cream afterwards.  We all had small cones except for Kuk who had to try an "oyster shell".

For the main event, we took a boat ride on Anstruther Pleasure Cruises (link) to the Isle of May.  The ride was just under an hour each way and we had 2.5 hrs or so on the island.  The island is known for its bird nesting, in particular the puffins.  We also might see a seal or two.

Monday was not the best weather day.  It was cool/cold with a stiff breeze and the threat of rain.  This was our only day to make the trip (they didn't sail on Tuesday) so we decided to gear up and give it a go.  When purchasing our tickets, she mentioned it was a "bit choppy" today.  Hmmm.

Given the weather, we decided to sit "inside" on the lower level.  Big mistake.  Less air and much harder to keep a view on the horizon.  Sky.  Water.  Sky. Water.  Pretty much the longest hour of my life.  The family was looking pretty green but only one of us lost our lunch.  Yep, this guy.  The staff were quick with the bags and I did have the foresight to get one before it was too late.  I stumbled out to the fresh air and carried on.  I'd say about 10-20% of the patrons tossed their cookies too with a good chunk of them coming from the inside seats (though Nicole witnessed some projectiles off the top deck -- yuck).

[We weren't looking forward to the ride back but it was slightly calmer and I got the outside seats and some motion sickness tabs and did better.] 

Okay, anywho.  On to the island.  Was it worth it -- heck ya!  [they did mention that this was the best day of the season for puffins -- likely due to the rough seas]


Our first taste with some puffins and other birds in the distance.


Eider ducks (males) -- we would stumble across the females along the path quite frequently


like this one


puffins and gulls


shags


puffin nests -- these were all over but I didn't see any puffins near them -- I think they were from previous years as they not yet laid their eggs


more puffins -- a little closer this time


quite sure this is the coldest I've every been on May 27th -- we had hats, gloves, neck warmers, multiple jackets and over-trousers


more puffins


one off by himself


a bigger colony of Razorbills (I think)


a longer view of the island


one more solo puffin


a gull squawking at us because the path (and us) were close to her nest


ready to re-board for the trip back -- great day despite the rough seas


Tuesday, May 28 -- Palaces

This day was about visiting two grand palaces:  Scone ("scoon") and Falkland.

Scone Palace was about 75 minutes away and our first destination.  We then circled back for Falkland which was closer.

Arriving at Scone we were welcomed by the Highland Cow herd (always good for nationalism and tourism).  They are really cute and quite a hit with this family.


 feeding time


 nosing around a root vegetable


 aww


bear with me -- too many cute photos to cull


friendly too


 whatcha lookin at?


only a couple more


 okay, last one -- at any rate, I'm sure the kids thought this was the highlight of the palace


nice peacock on the fence


and finally the palace

No photos inside.  Official website here and wiki here.  Scone Palace is privately owned by the Earls of Mansfield whose family who have been connected with the site since 1600 when it was bestowed as a gift from the King for some timely intervention.

The area is known as the place were Scottish Kings were crowned and once housed the Stone of Destiny before it was taken by King Edward to Westminster Abbey.  (It is now "on loan" at Edinburgh Castle after 600+ years in England.)

The house is nicely decorated and has the wow factor you might imagine.  Certainly a worthy visit.

replica of the Stone of Destiny


the Chapel on Moot Hill -- legend has it that this hill is formed by medieval noblemen's home soil that they brought with them to stand on when swearing to the King (they were expected to do this on their own soil but it was too dangerous for the king to travel to them)


 okay, one more before leaving


Next stop was the Falkland Palace (link).   This was the country residence of the Stuart monarchs for nearly 200 years.  Though I could take photos, I didn't really have any worthy ones due to the dark lighting.  I enjoyed re-learning some of the Stuart history (the King James I to VI, Mary Queen of Scots, unification, Charles I & II, etc.) but the rooms and furniture didn't do much for me.  We've seen quite a few places similar to this one so it didn't really stand out.

We had a little extra time in the afternoon so I took Alex down to the beach in Crail.  I knew he'd like the rocks and he must have thrown about 500 of them.


Wednesday, May 29 -- 3 Castles on the way to Royal Deeside

We said farewell to our hosts at the Hazelton Guest House and started our journey further north.  However, we had 3 planned stops to make on the way to turn it into a relaxing day.

First stop was Glamis ("Glomz") Castle (link).   Glamis is also privately owned; in this case by the Earls of Strathmore for over 600 years.  Viewing is by guided tour only which lasted about 50 minutes and was very well done.  This was probably our favorite of the week.

Glamis has some more recent history as well.  It was the home of the Queen Mother Elizabeth (i.e. Queen Elizabeth II's mother) who married the Duke of York (Albert/Bertie -- aka King's Speech guy) and became Queen when Edward VIII abdicated thrusting Albert to the throne as King George VI. 

The Queen Mother purposefully had Princess Margaret at Glamis in 1930 to have a royal born in Scotland -- the first since 1600.

Again, great visit even if I don't have a lot of photos and boring facts to go with it.


 aww -- they have one too


On our drive to our next stop I had to pull over to try to capture some of the color we were seeing.  We saw the bright rapeseed flowers all over in both England and Scotland.  Quite impressive in some cases.

I'd never heard of rapeseed.  A quick google search turned up the fact that is called canola oil in the States (though that may be a specific variant).  Rapeseed used to be high in toxic erucic acid.  It was re-bred in Canada and called Canadian Oil, Low Acid, aka Canola.   At any rate, it's all over the place and quite colorful.


Next stop was Edzell Castle (link).   This peacock must be tired having come all the way from Scone.


This was also a ruined castle that we had fun exploring.  It was unique in that the owner essentially made some bad investments (e.g. Scotland Colony group) and went bankrupt back in the 1600s (?) and the castle fell into disrepair. 


The main selling point for the castle is actually the gardens.  Unfortunately, we were too early for the blooms but we could still see the unique carvings and set up.   One side displays the seven planetary deities, another the seven cardinal virtues and the third the seven liberal arts.

 along the planet row -- Venus and Nicole


 the arts:  Geometry


 and a view of the garden from one of the towers


Third stop was the very impressive sea-side castle Dunnottar.  Here is an aerial view (from a poster).


 very impressive location


not an easy walk there (at least compared to others)


the complex was larger than I expected


 Nicole and I walked back around to the neighboring cliff for this shot


 Alex (and Kuk) were down on the beach throwing more rocks -- see the blue dots?


this yellowing flowering thorny shrub was all over the place too (even at St Andrews golf course) -- anyone know what it is?

And we finally made it to our next home, the Heugh Head Mill B&B (link).  This was a unique (and perhaps a little quirky) stay in that it was a recently converted former mill.  We had two rooms in the left wing (not shown) and the sloped ceiling caused a few minor concerns.  However, given its recent conversion (open only a year) it was nice and shiny new.

 view of the back and the actual mill wheel


Thursday, May 30 -- The Castle Trail

The area around Aboyne and along the River Dee (i.e. Deeside) is known for its castles.  In fact there is a castle trail (link) with loads of castles.  We set out to do the four above though knowing that the last one, Craigievar, would only be a walk by as it wasn't open for touring on this day.

It was an enjoyable and gently paced day.  Each castle had its own story and uniqueness, but to be honest they do tend to blend together after awhile.  We probably don't need to go out of our way to see to many more castles for awhile (ever?).  [These were all free with our National Trust membership -- sweet.]

First stop:  Crathes Castle (link).  Home to the Burnett family for hundreds years.   Inside they had the "Horn of Leys" presented to Alexander Burnard by King Robert the Bruce in 1323.  [Alex enjoyed this one because they had a miniature knight with a letter hidden in each room.  Once found and unscrambled it spelled "Horn of Leys".]


massive gardens (again unfortunately pre-bloom) on the estate


 we did take a stroll through the garden after going through the castle








 and finally resting under the mushroom tree

next stop was Drum castle (link), home to the Irving family (for hundreds of years) and is supposed to look like the photo above,but . . .

. . . looks like this.  Unfortunately the tower is under repair for the year.  The rest of the house was open however so we did take a walk through.

I liked this Bible Box with all it's locks and hiding places.  Remember that the religion du jour was based on who was in power so unless you frequently changed, you weren't always on the "right" side.


one of the more unusual artifacts -- nearly 1000 year old King hair
 
we also took a walk through the grounds here -- this fallen tree was interesting, made even more so by Kung-Fu Nicole photo-bombing me
 
it looks like it has been down some time -- long enough for the branches to grow up like mini-trees on their own (I guess this qualifies as my Jay Seppanen, Jim Seppanen photo).


our typical pacing with Nicole and me up front and Alex and Kuk "guarding the back trail" as my buddy Jay likes to say


forget the castles, they had a nice obstacle course/circuit
 
last full castle stop was Castle Fraser (link) -- this also had some interesting rooms and artifacts including an early false leg warn by one of the proprietors injured in a war. 


 more gardens


 and more playgrounds (or at least swings)


Our last stop of the day was to Craigievar Castle (link).   The castle is only open a few days a week in the off season and this wasn't one of them.  Though I knew that ahead of time, I thought it was worth a stop anyway (and it was on the way, more or less).


It has the fairy tale castle look, albeit a little crooked in this shot.  It was also unique in that it had a little color as well.  I'm sure it would have been a good one to tour, but we were happy with the photo op as well.


 one with the just the boys


Friday, May 31 -- Walking/Hiking Bennachie and the Burn O' Vat
 
Time for another walk!  I wanted to dedicate a day to a "proper" walk and I had a few choices.  www.walkhighlands.co.uk is an excellent site and one that I had used on our previous trip.  I thought about doing the Bullers of Buchan walk but opted for something slightly closer and with more hills.  We opted for Bennachie instead.

The walk trail head was about an hour from our B&B.  It took slightly longer as I opted to go via Banchory to grab some sandwiches at Tesco.  On the way back, we made a quick stop at the Burn O'Vat (link) for a very short stroll.

The starting point was the Back of Bennachie "car park" and involved a strenuous climb up to an initial peak (Oxen Craig) and then two additional peaks (Mither Tap and Craigshannoch).

Here's my geek plot from my GPS.  Pretty healthy climb for us flatlanders.  Geek stats:  6.7 miles in 3:45 total time (2:33 of which was moving -- we had a few rest breaks on the way up and on each peak).  2100' total climbing with 1200'+ coming in that initial climb.  It was actually warm and sunny at the start so we were getting quite the work out.

happy faces at the start -- the girls quickly lost their jackets/fleeces after we cleared the forest


it didn't really come out in the photo, but there was a unique glow in the forest with the sun filtering in


 he's back . . .


still on our way up, we've cleared the forest line and are into the darker ground covering -- notice the yellow rapeseed fields in the distance


we didn't see too many folks but Alex did get a surprise visitor coming over the hill


 aww, sweet doggie


 and we made it to the first peak -- Oxen Craig, the highest of the 3 at 528m


checking out the views -- enjoyable, yes, but not as jaw dropping as our western Scotland views from last year


 add another


  a look at the other two peaks we would ascend


Kuk was on a slow & steady pace today . . .


whereas Alex was on a mission -- can you see the blue dot that is Alex on the way to Mither Tap?


getting closer -- Alex is still up ahead -- can you see him?


this is at a crossroads near the peak -- we decided to wait for Kuk to join us before heading up


taking a break


 views across the opposite valley -- more rapeseed to contrast the green and brown


these are the remains of a ~1500 year old Pictish Fort, Mither Tap


and now at the top


hey, the old folks made it too


heading down along with another view of the fort remains


and finally to our third peak, Craigshannoch

We managed to stay dry all week but could tell the rain was coming.  Fortunately, we finished our hike and took the brunt of the rain while in the car.  We continued on to our "stretch goal" of visiting the geological formation called Burn O'Vat which was just west of our B&B.

It was lightly raining so we donned our jackets and waterproof overtrousers and walked the small loop (<1 mile).


rain gear shot, for posterity


now inside the glacially carved Burn O'Vat (wiki)


Alex, with his energy back, had to climb up for a better look


 squeezing back out


and the foggy view of nearby Loch Kinord

Saturday, June 1 -- Hadrian's Wall on the way home

It was time to say farewell to Scotland and make the long drive home.  I thought we'd stop at Hadrian's Wall to break up the trip on the way home as it was just a little over half way.  (wiki link)  The wall was built starting in 122 A.D. in Roman Britain.  Emperor Hadrian decided that his empire was getting stretched a little thin so rather than continue to expand northwards (or try to), he'd built a wall across "England" to keep out the riff-raff.  It worked for over 200 years.

There are quite a few places to stop along the way, but we chose the English Heritage site at Housesteads (link).  I didn't realize that they had also set up forts along the wall (duh) and this is one of the better preserved ones.  It provided a nice 75 minute interlude.


Here we are in the remains of the fort.  This required a short, but vertical, walk up from the car park (not necessarily welcomed by all given our strenuous walk yesterday).


another view of the fort and valley from a higher vantage point


the kids on the wall -- how cool is that?


 on the edge of the northern frontier (well, sort of)





the fort is just guarded by sheep now (well, and the EH ticket minder)

After 10 hours, including the stops, we made it home.  Yippee.
 
Food, Food, Food

As always, I snapped a few food photos along the way.  We do like our food.

Pleasantly surprised at the Pittenweem Inn on arrival day.  Veal for me.   The chef came out to mingle often with the crowd.


spicy pasta from Little Italy in St Andrews


Nicole's pizza from the same


fish at the Waterfront Restaurant in Anstruther -- this place didn't quite stack up with the others, but maybe I was still recovering from my boat trip!


I remembered that I much prefer Scottish Ales to English ones.  This was a nice one from the St Andrews Brewery served at the Doll's House.


the fruit and sherbet were a frequent starter for the kids


duck with a pepper sauce for me (have to have duck at least once) -- also from the Doll's House

didn't know where we would be when on our mid-week travel day -- we ended up at the Boat Inn in Aboyne.  It was a little "pub-y" for us but it was okay.  My steak pie was decent.


Our choice for Thursday unexpectedly closed for the day and we scrambled to the nearby Loch Kinord restaurant in Dinnet.  We had the place for ourselves for a bit.  It's a stereotypical inn stuck in a time warp (we certainly brought the average age down quite a bit) but was surprisingly good.


 creamy mushrooms for a starter


 and lamb with a black pudding mash (fortunately not too much black pudding)


 and the best for last -- another melon starter for the kids at the White Cottage outside of Aboyne


crab "pate" for us to share


we had the "top" table in the house out in the conservatory and it was lovely (as the Brits would say).  The rain picked up again and it made for a relaxing sound to accompany our meal.  I had a fish pie and Kuk had a spicy Thai green curry.  Excellent.  Though not pictured (because I already drank it), I found another great Scottish Ale:  80/- Shillings.  It was so good that I ordered a couple of cases when I got home!

Well, thanks for slogging through the blog -- I know it's a marathon sometimes.  We really enjoyed our relaxing week (though probably preferred the western bits from last year if I'm honest).  I can think of quite a few more places I'd like to visit in Scotland though we are likely out of time to take advantage of it while living here.  I can see us venturing over from the States though (albeit at twice the cost or more).

Take care everyone and have a good week.

6 comments:

  1. Well done on getting around so much!

    The yellow flowered-bush is gorse (or furze, or whin, or ulex) - it'll grow invasively on poor soils, particularly open heathland, up and down the country in different forms. There are more well-mannered and thornless relatives called "broom", that look very similar; you might see those in cultivated gardens.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some nice pics in there, I love the clouds in Scotland. Nice job of Kung Fu Nicole photo bombing you, pretty funny. Also funny was Alex almost making it up the hill. Nice job touring us through Scotland, thanks. Laverne told me about you guys meeting Shirley.

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  3. Castles, projectile vomiting, rare fowl, hairy cows, and walking elevation graphs. This post had it all. Really enjoyed reading this. Sounds like a pretty epic week. I'm going to keep an eye out for Scottish beers and give them a try. I exclusively drank whisky on our trip to Scotland but it sounds like I may have missed out on some good beer.

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