This is part 2 of my trip report which began here.
I have to admit, I was a little sad to leave the beautiful Isle of Skye, but in the morning we were on our way to Loch Ness.
We stopped at the Loch Ness Centre, which we were told was the less tacky of the visitor’s centers in town. We got the regular tour of the center, and then had lunch with the head of the Loss Ness Project, Adrian Shine. He spoke about his project and answered questions for us.
Next stop was Loch Ness itself. We were wavering back and forth about whether we wanted to take the boat ride or do the canoeing. In the end, my younger daughter opted to canoe with Lenora, our adventure guide, and the other three family members wanted to go on the boat. My main reasoning for choosing the boat was that I wanted to be able to take photos, and it was cold and drizzly, so canoeing didn’t seem terribly attractive. But I think everyone had fun with canoeing who went.
The boat was one of the Loch Ness Project’s research vessels. They showed us how they used sonar to track the depth of the Loch, and my older daughter had the chance to steer the boat for a bit, which she enjoyed.
Then after the boat ride we explored the Urquhart Castle. There was a lone piper playing on the grounds, which was a nice soundtrack to the visit.
After the castle, we continued to Inverness and the Kingsmill Hotel. This was the first hotel that had a real family room, and the kids were SO excited about their bunk beds.
The was our day of pleasant surprises, and perhaps my favorite day of the trip. Although it’s a tough call, since everyday was packed with gorgeous scenery and fun activities. (of note: the newer ABD itineraries for Scotland no longer have this day included)
We started the morning with a surprise encounter with the Celtic Football Club players who were staying at our hotel. My soccer-playing daughter got a photo with the team manager (who is a former pro soccer player himself). Then we headed out to the airport for our flight on our private jet flight to the Isle of Lewis. This was my first time on a private jet, and that was a cool experience.
On the Isle of Lewis we had a wonderful local guide who explained to us about the Harris tweed that comes form the Island, and various other aspects about the island and the sites. Our first visit was the blackhouse. This was our first experience with a real peat fire. I won’t forget that smell!
Next we drove to Dun Carloway Broch, which presented our best display yet of heather. I think any other time of year this might be a less amazing stop, but now with the heather, it was just stunning. My daughter enjoyed learning about spinning wool here at the visitor’s center as well.
And then we headed over to the Callandish Standing Stones. This was really cool, because unlike Stonehenge, you can walk up and touch these. The trick was trying to get the tourists (and our own group) to step away long enough to get a nice photo. But with a little patience we could. The kids enjoyed picking wildflowers and were making flower jewelry.
I kept hoping to have an Outlander moment, but no magic in the stones that day. Apparently they get quite popular during pagan holidays.
We then headed back to Stornaway for lunch and had some time to wander around the town. I got some Harris Tweed shopping done here. Then we went back you our jet and flew back to Inverness.
The plan for the evening in Inverness included a dinner with the group, but I had discovered that Diana Gabaldon (the author of the Outlander series) was in town and doing a talk and book signing about 2 blocks from where our dinner was. Two other couples from our group were interested in going, so one of our adventure guides and the others from the group joined me over at the book signing. I was truly like a kid in a candy store about this amazing coincidence. She spent about an hour talking about her start as a writer and inspiration for the books, and then answered questions about the series. It was interesting to see what questions Scottish people had about the books, which were written by an American about their country.
Trip report continues here.
This trip review is from our Adventures by Disney Scotland trip. I book my ABD trips through Archer Luxury Travel. My camera for this trip was the Nikon Df with a versatile and lightweight 28-300mm lens.Share on Facebook