My Maid-of-Honour to be, Brigette, and I joined up with will a small group of friends to do a Paddywagon-esque tour of Scotland over the weekend. We opted to try out Macbackpackers, a small Scottish company running coach trips for young people. Brigette and I were both happy to find that although the oldest people on tour, we still count as young people 😛
Under a grey sky, we started out ominously from Edinburgh on Friday the 13th. The weather report promised finer weather in the north and as we approached our first stop, the fort town of Dunkeld, the clouds were dissipating.
Decaffeination meant there was a hard start to the tour and the only reason the driver guide’s icebreaker “mock the tourists” jokes were tolerated was because he had promised a good coffee stop first. Dunkeld managed to serve this purpose for the coffee drinkers while I managed to get a good look at Dunkeld Cathedral. Construction on the cathedral began in the 13th century, but an early monastery dates back to the sixth or seventh centuries. The town itself is settled on a strategic, riverside location at one of the few good passes between the lowlands and highlands of Scotland.
With everyone suitably stocked up on snacks for lunch (Brigette had no fewer than two takeaway cups of coffee – one for each hand), we set off again. The next big stop of the day was the Tomatin Distillery. Everyone was really looking forward to this stop because of the bathrooms! Our lunch had been taken on the edge of a beautiful lake surrounded by trees and full of cute little ducks. No bathrooms. A couple of the group ventured into the woods out of desperation. The rest of us waited for the land to turn black with moss – the sign of a distillery. After the relief, we had a whiskey tasting and a short chat about how Whiskey is made. It really was a whirl wind stop, but as I said, we were only looking interested so we could use their bathroom. Turns out none of the 13 on the bus seemed to rate whiskey as their big tour drawcard (how unusual!). My favourite find – a whiskey for Tiernan!
Then we hit the trail again for bus-sickness, amazing views and Loch Ness!