Ruined bridge outside Aberfeldy

Last week in – Part 1 – I spoke about what to do in Pitlochry, the theatre festival, Loch Faskally and the fish ladders.

After our mini tour of Pitlochry we washed, changed and went for a meal at – Drummond’s before walking to the theatre to see the first of our two shows. Drummond’s is located in a lovely setting next to the River Tummel. I’m vegetarian and always moan about the lack of vegetarian food on offer. I had the only veg option, a veggie lasagne and my husband had Scottish salmon. Both came with veggies. I would have liked a wider variety to choose from but what we had was good and the service was great.

Blair Castle Ballroom

On day two we only had a morning to spare as we only had to be back at 14.00pm for the matinee show. We took a drive out to see Blair Castle. It’s one of the better castles to visit in Scotland. Entrance was £9.50 each. We walked from room to room . . . to room to room . . . to room. I lost count of how many we passed through.

Each one had either been restored with original furniture or had mementos and souvenirs relating to the Dukes of Atholl, their families, historic visitors and the Atholl Highlanders who are the only private army in Europe.

The Atholl Highlanders were formed as a personal guard for Queen Victoria and her husband Albert. It was at Blair Castle that Victoria fell in love with Scotland and set about building her own castle not too far away – Balmoral Castle. The current royal family still love to escape to Scotland and it’s easy to see why.

Any castle visit takes longer than you think. Allow at least 3 hours to see the exhibits and wander around the gardens. Most castles have cafes so you can plan a lunch stop at a castle.  I can’t promise good food. You can even sleep over in certain castles.

Blair Castle

George Murray, the 10th Duke of Atholl placed Blair Castle into a trust to ensure it’s preservation. His successor the 11th Duke of Atholl was a born and bred South African. John Murray came out from South Africa to Scotland to inspect the guards every year. He was succeeded by his son, Bruce Murray this year (2012), so the 12th Duke of Atholl is also South African. Who knows how many people with royal blood lines live around the world?

McKays in Pitlochry

After the matinee we went to McKays for a meal. McKays is a hearty, down to earth place, done up in contemporary Scottish style. The waitrons, both male and female, wear kilts or tartan skirts. McKays food is reasonably priced and entertainment ranges from a live band to a Ceilidh  (pronounced cay-lee) evening, which is traditional Scottish dance and music. It’s a festive and popular place.

We shared a starter of fried mozarella and salsa. My husband had Shetland salmon with vegetables and said it was the best salmon he had ever eaten. I had a jacket potato with cheese and beans. With a bottle of wine, our meal came to around £35.

Blair Castle Hercules Garden
Big Old Yew in Fortingall

The next morning we had cooked oats for breakfast. My other half had a choice of kippers which came complete with the head, eyes teeth and tail or haddock. I had boiled eggs. The breakfasts at Dundarach were good and their service was excellent. I loved the tartan carpets and old wooden staircase in the foyer.

After brekka we decided to do a round road trip taking in the towns of Aberfeldy, Kenmore on Loch Tay and Fortingall. We passed a few ruined bridges and visited the oldest Yew tree in the world in Fortingall. This poor tree has had so many hardships. It should be much bigger but at least it is still growing and is still the original tree.

We drove back along the beautiful Loch Tay and stopped at Queens View, which is a view point taking in Loch Tummel and the Glencoe Mountains. It’s named after Queen Isabella, wife of Robert the Bruce, but some say it could be named after Queen Victoria.

If you have time you might want to consider doing a bit of cycling. We saw plenty cyclists out enjoying the local sights. We had our car so we took a slow drive back to Aberdeen via Royal Deeside area passing Balmoral Castle and driving through the pretty towns of Braemar, Ballater, Banchory and Crathes. Royal Deeside is the area adjacent to Perthshire. It is similar and just as beautiful. Read more about that road trip – here

Loch Tay outside Kenmore

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

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