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Old 20th July 2009, 02:47   #31
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Last 2 of the pics posted are breathtaking and a wallpaper material and i dunno how you guys manage such beautiful pics.

awesome pics, please keep posting and and a bit faster please.

cheers
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Old 21st July 2009, 02:58   #32
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Default All about Loch Ness

You can cruise in Loch Ness from here....

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A view from the harbour .....

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The kind of boat which will take you around...
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The French guide who was in the boat..
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All the pics below were taken from the boat
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Scotland Saga: The 1st Installment-img_372619.jpg

Scotland Saga: The 1st Installment-img_373323.jpg
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Old 21st July 2009, 07:33   #33
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A really good photo shoot. You brought back memories. Nice one Laddie
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Old 28th July 2009, 22:22   #34
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More details of my recent trip for TBHP members planning to travel in and around Scotland


4 July, 2009, Saturday
Day 1

Start: 9:00 AM
End: 9:30 PM
Distance travelled: 172.5 miles

First stop: Luss Village
Start of journey: Glasgow Central Station
Distance: 31.5 miles
Start time: 11:30 AM
End time: 12:30 PM
Duration of travel: 45 minutes

10 mins from our start we were already in the Motorway M8.Several warnings from the Navigator ,everytime we cross the 70MPh speed limit ,a couple of round abouts and some nice straight roads and we realised we are in the LUSS village. Luss is a small village, where you can stop and take a nice view of Loch Lomond. In summer, canoe and boat rides are available. You will also get a splendid view of the Loch Lomond from the pier. Check out the first set of my photos to get a clear picture of the scenic beauty.

After spending around one and a half hours in Luss, we set our navigators to Fort William.
Around two or three miles on the way, you will find another spot where you could have a different view of Loch Lomond and the electricity powerhouse. We stopped over there and found a beautiful place on the rocks where we had our lunch (that we brought along with us) as we marveled upon the splendid view of the mountains and the lake.

After lunch, at 2:00 PM, we continued our journey from Loch Lomond to Fort William, with plans to stop over at Glencoe Mountains which is on the way to For William. There are narrow, smooth and curvy roads with a lake on one side to please you throughout the journey

By around 3:00 PM, we reached Glencoe Mountains. It is a group of three mountains which is also referred to as the “Three Sister” mountains. The view of the Three Sister mountains is strikingly beautiful and instantly pleases the visitors. These mountains are well known for skiing and snowboarding during winter.

Second Stop: Fort William
Distance from Luss Village: 75.6 miles
Duration of travel: 2 hours

At 4:00 PM, we reached Fort William. It is the largest town in the West highlands and one of the commercial centers. This town has a lot of history and magnificent scenery to serve the visitors. The drive from Glencoe to Fort William is through Ben Nevis, beautiful lakes and forests.

We stopped in-between the drive to take photos, but it was the drive through beautiful scenery which felt more amazing than seeing the town itself. But for visitors who are interested in history, I am sure there are tourist information centers where you could find a lot of interesting information about Fort William.

We stayed there only for a while before heading to our third destination of the day: Fort Augustus.

Third Stop: Fort Augustus
Distance from Fort William: 32 miles
Duration of travel: 1 hour

By 5:00 PM, we reached Fort Augustus. Fort Augustus is one of the holiday destinations in Scotland and is also known as the Gateway of Loch Ness. It is also the heart of the region’s historical, political and natural heritage. Visitors can take a cruise at Loch Ness and even get to Inver Ness in boats. Private and high-end boats from different parts of Europe visit Loch Ness during summer. Visitors will also see a lighthouse on the shores of Loch Ness, claimed to be the smallest manned lighthouse in the whole of UK.

We had our high tea there. The view of Loch Ness and the boats from different parts of Europe was not to be missed. We spent an hour and 20 minutes walking around the area and were re-energized to continue on with our journey at 6:20 PM.

Fourth Stop: Inverness
Distance from Fort Augustus: 33.4 miles
Duration of travel: 1 hour
Stopover: View point of Urquhart Castle

Almost 30 minutes from Fort Augustus and on the way to Inver Ness, on the right hand side, is a spot where you can get a view of the ruins of Urquhart Castle. The view of the castle and Loch Ness behind it is something which gets imprinted on your heart, the moment you see it.

Urquhart Castle is known as one of the best romantic ruins all over the world. Visitors may choose to visit the castle.

At around 7:30 PM, we reached Inver Ness. Inver Ness is the most popular city in the highlands and a best place to look for accommodation, if you intend to stay over. There are plenty of restaurants and options for entertainment. The Loch Ness and other cruises are easily accessible from Inver Ness.

We stayed over at a kind of accommodation pertained to as “bed and breakfast.” It was run by a very old British lady, whose warm hospitality and service should not be left unmentioned.

It was almost 9:30 when we got settled with the accommodation and the dinner. (Accommodation cost was at 25 pounds per person, breakfast included.)
After an hour of chit chats and watching TV, came the time to relax….

Goodnight !! ,for a fresh day tomorrow……

Last edited by roopakr : 28th July 2009 at 22:28.
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Old 16th October 2009, 02:45   #35
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Default Scotland Saga 2: The Isle of Arran

Train + Ferry = Trek to culture and history 300 years back

I would like to express my sincere thanks to my friend and my companion for the trip, Kai Magsanoc, for framing this write up for me.

This month, I celebrate my first year here in the UK. The past year saw my travels to London and various lochs and towns in Scotland; and for this second year, the travels have yet to stop. Not only have I been able to practice my love for driving and automobile-watching, but I have also taken more pictures of people and places that I was seeing for the first time in my life.

The Isle of Arran
Arran is the biggest of the three islands that comprise the Firth of Clyde. Incidentally, the Firth of Clyde is also the name of the body of water within the circle of the three islands.

With a land area spanning 432 sq km, Arran is a favorite of bikers whether from Scotland or tourists, young or old. Bike and car hires are right at the ferry port when you arrive at the island; and with just one road to follow going around it, one will never get lost (although my trusty iPhone GPS helped me a lot in terms of choosing the right path whenever I encountered crossroads).

To take you through my trip more easily, I shall take you through my day as it unfolded:

8:30AM, Glasgow Central
I took the train from Central Station to Ardrossan (Port) Station. The trip lasted roughly 45 minutes. With young international students in the coach I was in sharing lively, animated banter, there was no boring moment during the trip.

9:44AM, Ardrossan Port
I boarded the Caledioan Ferry that would take me to Arran. The weather was sunny and chilly at the same time. I didnít mind; as long as there would be no rain.

On the ferry, I had breakfast at the cafť. A traditional Scottish breakfast was a great choice to keep myself full until way past lunchtime.

The ferry trip ran for more than an hour. Groups, couples, families mainly stayed in the lounge where it was warm, but the upper outdoor decks were also filled with people enjoying the view of the ocean.

10:47AM, Isle of Arran
I originally planned to hire a bike to ride around the island; but upon seeing a car hire for GBP 25 (and I was traveling with one companion), I changed my mind. The price difference wasnít much (bike hire for two bikes was GBP 24), the weather was unpredictable and I wanted to be more sure that I would have enough time or speed to cover the sites on the island that I wanted to cover. I was in exploration mood and didnít want to spend just five minutes in a site because of lack of time.

My uncertainty on whether to hire a bike or a car was solved after I saw the car that my companion and I were going to rent: a two-seater Smart car, a little bigger than a Matchbox, but big enough to accommodate two people and their light luggage (the first part was an exaggeration).

I felt excited to drive the car. Smart felt like a semi automatic car with weird gear shifts. The lack of a clutch pedal really got me into trouble for the first few minutes, which I got used to in no time. The Otherwise, it was the perfect ride to go around the island with.

11:20AM, Brodick Castle
Brodick Castle, nestled at the east of the island, was the ancestral home of the Montroses until it was sold to the Public Trust of Scotland in 1958. Popular because it is found in the GBP 20 note in the UK, Brodick Castle is also surrounded by beautiful gardens and walkways, and is connected to Goatfell, one of the most popular sightseeing points in the entire island.

I went on a tour of the castle, and was taken to history 300 years back. The inter-marriages based on politics and economics was confusing farther up the family that was traced as we went through the castle, but it was fascinating nonetheless. Looking at a room, and imagining the people who used to live in it going about their daily life, it felt wonderful to be taken back to that era (the 91 stag heads hanging on the wall helped a lot).

After the castle tour that lasted for about 50 minutes, I stayed for a few more minutes at the vicinity of the castle; taking photos of its faÁade and the plants in the garden around it.

1:30PM, Lochranza Castle Ruins
At 1:00PM, I left Brodick Castle and headed northwards to the ruins of Lochranza Castle. Lochranza is a quiet town where lots of stags roam freely.

The drive to Lochranza was one of the most beautiful and relaxing Iíve had in my life. The roads were going upwards, and we were surrounded with green scenery on both sides of the road; or, if not greens, beaches and gigantic igneous rocks and granite which could be found all over Arran.

Unlike Brodick where one had to pay a fee to enter, Lochranza Castle could be explored for free. It was surrounded by a lake that was quite dry at that time that I was visiting, and so boats and yachts were docked on dried land. The castle was also in clear view of a row of cottages on one side of the road, truly a refreshing sight.

The ruins were brooding and moody. The skies turning quickly from blue to gray during the duration of my visit set the dark mood when it was time for me to go. It was a joy to take photos of the scenery.

3:30PM, Lunch
At 3:00PM, I decided to head back down to the east for lunch. I passed Brodick and went to the commercial district of Arran, where dainty shops were in a row. Some of them had simple names like The Chocolate Shop, Souvenir Shop.

I stopped at a place where I saw people eating outside called Bistro. The Smart car didnít even take only half of a normal carís parking space. It was funny in its own way that I couldnít help taking a photo to document it.

Lunch was pizza and curly fries, with matching sweet-chili sauce and fresh apple juice. Refreshed, I went back out to continue my journey.

5:00PM, Kildonan Castle Ruins
That day being ďcastle dayĒ for my friend, we planned our last stop to be the ruins of Kildonan Castle at the southern tip of Arran. From the commercial district, we took the way west going towards Kildonan.

In contrast to the trip going to Lochranza, going to Kildonan meant passing through roads that go downwards; and instead of mountain views, there were beach views. The most observable thing was that any free spot around the island had a bench or two on it, for people to sit and appreciate the view.

We reached the vicinity of Kildonan Castle faster than expected, the final stretch being a semi-steep zigzag road. It was reaching the castle itself that proved quite a challenge, since none of the write-ups online mentioned that the ruins are actually now situated on private land, and is not directly accessible from the main road that travelers took.

Good thing, though, we found a camping site whose owner was kind enough to let us park for free, and who showed us a path through the beach that would lead us to the closest possible view of Kildonan Castle.

The walk along the beach was cool. We had been seeing the ocean around the island all day but never had the chance to walk along the shore. Although that time of the day already showed dark and not blue waters, it was still relaxing. Hearing the wind and the water hit against the stones was very peaceful. The ruins of the castle atop the mountain were haunting. After just a few minutes there (making sure we caught the ruins on camera), we decided to head back to the dock.

End of day
By 6PM, the Smart car was back in the car hire and my friend and I were sitting at the pier, waiting for the ferry that would take us back to Ardrossan, and then the train back to Glasgow.

It was hard to believe that an entire day had already passed. With all the sights I had seen, I still had the energy to see more. We only got to visit three places; there was definitely more to discover in that considerably small (but bigger than the others) island.

When you visit Scotland, you should visit Arran. You wonít see Scotland the same way again.

Brodick Castle

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View from the ferry, across the Firth of Clyde

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Smart for Two

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Old 16th October 2009, 14:13   #36
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I have done the circuit when it snowed like hell. Will post some photos of the same during snowfall if you don't mind.
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Old 16th October 2009, 14:17   #37
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Did you miss out on Stirling? That's a cute little place!
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Old 16th October 2009, 15:04   #38
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This is one of the most fantastic photo blog seen in a long time. Really like almost all the pictures. Absolutely high quality and professional way of shooting
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Old 16th October 2009, 17:08   #39
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Default Scotland in winter

The route from Ft William to Inverness. This was in the beginning of winter. We had some real good snowfall. Sample photo. Not to hijack your travelogue. I shall probably put up a separate travelogue of this stretch in winter!
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Old 18th October 2009, 00:53   #40
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@mx6, I have taken the same route during last winter in October, but definitely it was not snowing this much. That picture that you posted is making me take this route again. Looking forward for
your travelouge.
@mobile :- thanks very much :-)
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Old 21st October 2009, 17:39   #41
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@MX, Stirling is ofcourse there in the list. Have passed Stirling many times , but was never able to visit the castle.
I just came back from a Lake district trip. :-)
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Old 21st October 2009, 18:38   #42
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Beautiful pictures, amazing countryside, very well written travelogue. Thanks for sharing it. One of these days, I would also like to do this circuit, but focus a bit more on the "water of life" angle.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 00:51   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roopakr View Post
@mx6, I have taken the same route during last winter in October, but definitely it was not snowing this much. That picture that you posted is making me take this route again. Looking forward for
your travelouge.
This time when you do, drop by Stirling. There's also the William Wallace monument apart from the castle. Stirling city centre is very pretty as well. There are a couple of Indian restaurants too with good food there.

Fond memories as I used to work there a year back!
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Old 22nd October 2009, 01:27   #44
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Beautiful one roopakr. I dont know how i missed this for so long. Wondeful, Fabulous. Phoof
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Old 22nd October 2009, 11:11   #45
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Missed out this one chetta... Lucky you!

You have keen eye for capturing the place, keep it coming
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