Adventures by Disney

Scotland: Inverness and the Day of Castles

This is part three of a trip report continued from here.

Day 7

Our day at Rothiemurchus Estate was the day my kids had been looking forward to since we first talked to them about the trip. And I think from their perspective it delivered. However, this was the day I heard the most complaints from the adults. I think it’s probably the day that the ABD folks still need to work out to match expectations with reality.

The kids’ agenda for the day was 1) horseback riding, 2) lunch, 3) bike ride and 4) archery. Perfect and just what they had hoped.

For the adults: 2) bus ride with stops to feed the red deer that are being farmed on the grounds and a stop to see the highland cattle, 2) lunch, 3) archery 4) bike ride.


My first surprise was that the Rothiemurchus Estate wasn’t like a Downton Abbey house that we were going to see with gardens around it. That’s what I had imagined. In reality, we never saw the main house on the estate. We got to use the restrooms in one of the smaller houses, and lunch was in a tent outside that little house. In reality, the Estate is part of a park, and it’s like going to a state park.

Feeding the deer and seeing the cattle was a nice experience, but I think the adults really would have liked to be able to do the riding with the kids. And the kids would have enjoyed the deer-feeding, too. I understand the weight limits, but it seems like there must be a way to find a horseback-riding experience that would allow for the whole group

The cycling experience required a pretty high fitness level and created a bit of an issue for some members of the group.  We rode on a bumpy and hilly stone pathway to the lake, where we saw the ruins of a small 15th century castle.

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One couple opted out of the ride from the beginning. They were told that there was no alternate activity they could stay near the small house where we had lunch and wait. They ended up coming and watching the other group do archery.  Another man from our group had to drop out of the ride mid-way due to health concerns.

The archery was fun, and the guides brought wigs that we put on to help channel our inner Merida.

All-in-all it was nice to have an active, outdoorsy afternoon.

In the evening we walked around downtown Inverness on our own.  We were treated a bagpipe performance in the streets, which were lined with “Yes” and “No” signs referencing the upcoming election for Scottish independence.

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Day 8

We were sad to get to this, the last day of the trip. We had to pack up in Inverness and hit the road very early to get in our day of castle-stops before we made it back to the last night back at the Balmoral.

This was the bus ride where they finally played the movie Brave. Surprisingly almost half of our group had never seen it!

Our first “comfort stop” was at a Burger King on the North Sea. My daughter had left her iPad at the Kingsmill Hotel and Lenora spent some time on the phone during the bus ride sorting out what to do about it, and my daughter spent this whole stop crying about her missing prized device. I was a little bummed that she missed going down to the beach, but my other daughter and I managed to go there myself and catch a glimpse of the surfers, swimming labs (dogs), and the oil rigs.


Our first real stop of the day was at Dunnottar Castle. This was a very cool ruins of a castle on a cliff. It still has more of the structure of the all the buildings than Urquhart had, so this was a nice place to visit. And the views of the water from the cliffs were just stunning.

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Our second castle stop of the day was Glamis Castle. This was unique in that is it still a family home and still lived-in rather that ruins. We had lunch in a cafe that was part of the castle, and then got a private tour. The most unique things was that we were told we could take photos, unlike the other visitors. So we took a ton! One of the girls was able to play the piano in the game room as well.

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Then we continued on to Edinburgh and checked back into our hotel. We had a little time before dinner, so we took that opportunity to head over and see some of the street performances that were part of the Fringe Festival and explore Calton Hill.


Because the Tattoo was done before we got back in Edinburgh, our group was able to go to the Edinburgh Castle for dinner. We were escorted up the hill by a piper, and then got a private visit with the crown jewels. My daughters really enjoyed that. They asked a lot of questions to the docent. Then we were led across the courtyard with the piper to dinner. Our guides dressed up for the occasion, and we had a lovely farewell dinner with the group.


Day 9

We flew through Ireland on the way home and stayed in Dublin for a couple days where we explored the city by foot.  We had a great first experience with Adventures by Disney and were excited to book our next trip shortly after we got home: Ecuador and Galapagos.


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.

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