Scotland 2006                                           
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April 2006........ No apologies are made for including yet another run up to Scotland, this time to the little village of Killin which lies at the Western tip of Loch Tay.  Scotland has an amazing ability to lure us back there time after time, it really is an awe inspiring country. Sure there are bigger mountains in the Pyrenees and Alps etc. but Scotland has a character all it's own which is impossible to find anywhere else in the world, it has the real and genuine "X Factor". I always feel like I'm in a different country when I'm there - well, I know it IS a different country but being part of the UK I suppose it's reasonable for the non-initiated to expect it to be similar.  

I go to Wales for instance (but only when absolutely necessary) but I never get the same feeling of being in a foreign place regardless of the language which they seem intent on ramming down my throat with every opportunity - and with every road sign they erect. Maybe it's just that I can't take seriously a land with a native tongue that sounds like next doors cat hocking up a hairball and an accent that resonates like a bus with a broken gearbox.  How anyone can come up with a language that has so few vowels is beyond me! They ought be bloody grateful to the English for giving them a language that can actually be used and understood!  

And, as far as, "There'll be a welcome in the hillside" is concerned, not when Constable Taffy welcomes you over the North Wales border with a 60 fine for doing nowt but being English and riding a motorbike there isn't!  For these and many other reasons I try to keep out of Wales, despite one of my good friends being half Welsh .........The Welsh are welcome to it.  The only saving grace about the place is that you can get a shag, a nice warm coat and great casserole - all from the same date!    

'r Scottish dafarnau agor acha Dydd Sul hefyd..........  But. I digress (or should that be Dai-gress in  Wales?)

Nope - Scotland is like going to a genuine foreign land, and there's nowhere else like it. The laid back manner, strange customs & humour of the people, the indecipherable language (which they think is English but I beg to differ), the mountains & even the food are incomparable.  Where the hell else in the world can you go into a fish and chip shop and ask for a Mars Bar in Batter, or where the natives think that "Irn Bru" actually tastes good?.......I rest my case...... The Scots are truly unique. 

Scotland also has the best biking & driving roads you'll find anywhere, unfortunately on this occasion we're up here in the Honda Civic,  but we more than make up for that by the fact that Wesley and Morticia, are with us so we manage a few (well a lot) of good booze in excellent company.  



                                                            

                                                           

 

Accommodation for our two nights stay in Killin is the Craigbuie Guest House. IIt's owned by a very nice but slightly odd couple called Sue and Vic and their gorgeous Gordon Setter bitch "Bracken". They're not actually Scots, but from somewhere down Norfolk way. The rooms are clean and comfortable but ours stinks of fresh and potent paint fumes, which means we have to leave the windows open during the night or endure a long  painful & drawn out death by toxic choking, it is thus that we discover the coldest place on earth. Not much  helped by the fact that the heating is never turned on more than a trickle despite the snow and sub zero temperatures outside.....and the shower is shite, never raising it's temperature to anything more than lukewarm. We have to go to the pub to get warm, thankfully they were open late!  Definitely a B&B to stay at in summer months only.

Most of the following day is spent poking about the village and taking a drive up to Aberfeldy. The morning's very cold after the night time snow falls, it's lovely here though all covered in white . On the way to Aberfeldy we take a run up to the Visitors Centre half way up
Ben Lawers  to get into the snowline proper. It's a nice run up here but the road gets more and more snow covered the higher we go so we have to be a bit careful. Of course Wee Jimmy and Morticia can't resist making a snowman - even if it is pathetic.  Keeps 'em quiet and happy for a while though.

                         



  'Kin'ell, it's freezin' 'ere




The Falls of Dochart after the overnight snow


                       


Pathetic!




By the time we drove up to Ben Lawers the weather had brightened, but it was really cold up here



  Loch Tay from Ben Lawers



  
Aberfeldy is the home to the Black Watch so of course there has to be a statue to commemorate the fact



The Wade bridge over the River Tay, built over 250 years ago and still in use



 
There's a litte single track road that runs along the southern shorline of Loch Tay, it's a very pleasant drive with some stunning
views and is where this shot of Ben Lawers was taken from


 
Main Street Killin

 

We've had a nice weekend break at Killin, recharged the body batteries a bit, drunk some fine beer, mostly in the Fisher Bar and The Coach House Bar, who have live music in the evenings - and ate some decent food in the Bridge of Lochay Hotel at the opposite end of the village. Now though, Wee Jimmy and me have to get home - we've got just 2 days to prepare for our next trip which is to Spain to stay with our friends on the Costa Brava. It'll be nice to get to a warmer climate for a few days.                                 


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