|Vintage bikes in Banchory|
We gave up on finding stone circles for a while and made it in time for a quick cup of coffee with the biker friend in Banchory – before heading off again. Along the Royal Deeside route are yet more gorgeous villages such as Braemar, Blairgowrie and Pitlochry. In the cooler months the mountains in the Cairgorms are covered with snow and there are – ski resorts. The last two winters in Scotland, 2010 and 2011, have seen plenty snow. In summer people come to climb the munros, cycle the hills, canoe up and down the River Dee or go fishing – read more – here. What is a munro you ask? Follow – this link – to find out.
One of the must-sees on this trip was Balmoral Castle. It was apparently Queen Victoria’s favoutite home and still much loved by the current Queen Elizabeth. It’s only open April to July when the royal family aren’t in residence. Read more – Balmoral Castle. I would allow at very least two hours to walkabout and watch a plethora of presentations. Avoid the cafe if you can. My Swedish friend had the very worst burger of his entire life there. A floppy white bun with a mingy piece of meat. That was it! He was bitterly disappointed.
|Croft Moraig Stone Circle|
At Braemar we popped into the tourism office and asked where we could find stone circles en route to Edinburgh. The young lady was somewhat surprised by our request but she found info on the internet and set us on the road to find – Croft Moraig. Happiness!! We found a stone circle. Unfortunately so did another party of other people together with a bunch of children. They spread themselves all over the place and these kids were charging and leaping about the stones making it hard for us to get a
picture. But we did. We ticked stones off our to-do list and headed for Edinburgh.
The smaller roads in Scotland and the UK are mostly narrow, windy and single lanes. There are few emergency zones or places to pull over. We got stuck behind tractors, slow cars and trucks most of the time and our journey took a lot longer than we anticipated.
|Croft Moraig Stone Circle|
We finally got to Edinburgh at 18.00pm. Fortunately in summer the sun goes down very late in Scotland so we knew we could afford to take our time.
I booked a budget hotel in Pilrig Street in Edinburgh with – booking.com – as it had parking for our car and also because it was walking distance to town. The room cost £52 per night. When we arrived at this place my heart sank into my stomach. The reception area looked dreadful. Fortunately the room wasn’t bad and the bloke at reception was well meaning and helpful.
By now we were starving hungry and we took a walk to Port of Leith which was about 2 kilometers away. There are lots and lots of pubs, cafes and restaurants in the area. Mostly seafood and steak type places. ( a vegetarian sigh!) However, I had a nice meal at The Kings Wark – read about it – here.
|North Bridge Edinburgh|
I always skip breakfast at hotels if I can. Eating out is usually cheaper than at hotels and it’s another way to explore the city. The next morning we went in search of breakfast and we found a French Style Cafe along Leith Walk. A meal for two with coffee came to around £18. Then we hit Edinburgh on foot to see as much as we could in one day. Read about that next week.
Next week in – Part 4 – and the final part I talk about what to do in Edinburgh.