Calton, Stirling, Lomond and Kelpies

For our last full day in Edinburgh we left Edinburgh. We had pre-booked an all day coach tour to see Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond and the Kelpies. This involved being about three blocks up the Royal Mile to Highland Explorer Tours at 8:15 am, boarding a 32 passenger Mercedes bus with 14 other travelers and spending the day on the road. A quick mention that I was kind of dreading the bus ride as I was sure I would get crammed into a tight seat and with my knee it was going to be a painful day, brace or no brace. But lo and behold, the bus was half empty and Kathleen and I had the entire back row to ourselves. And since there was an emergency exit there, I could completely stretch out my legs, YEAH!

Before we did that I went out again at dawn (or just before) to take a Photowalk and shoot some more sunrise pics, this time on Calton Hill, the third highest point in Edinburgh. It was worth it as it wasn’t near as difficult as Arthur’s Seat but it gave me a chance to shoot some more great sunrise stuff.

After breakfast we were off on our tour. The first stop was to see the Kelpies. If you haven’t seen the Kelpies, check out my pics. It is a GIANT equine sculpture (the largest in the world we were told) that honors Clydesdale horses that used to pull the barges on the Scottish Canal which runs right next to the Kelpies. They are incredibly impressive and a photographer’s dream. We spent about 30 minutes there before we were off to Loch Lomond, Scotland’s biggest lake. We saw a part of it but not all (that would have taken too long), had a nice cup of coffee and then it was off to Stirling Castle.

On the way I have to say that the is country is SOOOOOOOO green. Green and lush. Check out my countryside pics and know that I did nothing to enhance them. They are amazing.

Stirling Castle (according to our superb and hilarious driver/guide James) is even better than Edinburgh Castle and I think he is right. Part of why we liked it better was Frank a Stirling Castle tour guide, who took us on an amazing tour that was one of the best tours I have ever done. Just outstanding. Pictures say it better than I can describe. I think you may recognize Frank as I am pretty sure when he was a lot younger, he played Dobby the house elf in the Harry Potter films 😀. He was stupendous as was his castle. Topped the tour off with lunch and a bus ride back and then packing. We have a 8:00 am train to York tomorrow morning where we will be picked up by the amazing Paul and Gail, our Martini Mates. We are staying with them at Castle Howard and touring what Paul calls, God’s Country—Yorkshire. Can’t wait.

One last thing before I throw in the photos. We are finishing up this trip a week from today in Dublin where we will meet up with my brother Steve, his wife Jamie, our niece Cassie, her cousin Analee and Jamie’s sister and her husband Pam and Dave. And two more special people, our buddies Bob and Holly who are enroute to Dublin as I write this. I mention this as Bob does a blog as well and he blogs as he travels. I want to recommend it as he always takes great pics and sometimes movies. You can find it by clicking here. It’s always a fun read so try it out.

Don’t forget you can always see the pics as a slide show and as soon as Flickr gets their act together and fixes their uploader, I will have more pics in my Flickr feed (see the column at right.)

I have rarely if ever found anyone out of whom I could not extract amusement or edification. —Sir Walter Scott (seen in the Waverly Rail station while walking today)