I am taking a break from rustling scorpions and tarantulas in our new home in Tucson to continue my travel blogging posts. If you follow my Instagram then you know what I am talking about, and if you don’t then click on over for some really interesting photos!
Our next stop after Belfast were three ports in Scotland. The first stop was Greenock, a place I had never heard of before. But the first oder of business was a quick morning training run. Have to train while on vacation!
We got back to the ship and cleaned up for the second half of the day. There were several options for sightseeing and we finally decided to tour Glengoyne whisky distillery. We boarded our coach that took us about 45 minutes out into the countryside.
A beautiful church along the way
At first the distillery looked like a cattle barn to me.
Once we got out and started to look around I began to notice the amazing landscape.
It actually reminded me of the wineries we see back home in Woodinville, Washington. There were flowers all around and birds zipping through the open field.
Then our guide came out to meet us and that’s when I knew we were someplace else!
The kilts and the accent that I could barely understand were a definite tip off that we were in Scotland!
To say these guys are passionate about whisky is a gross understatement! One has the impression that whisky is all they live for here. Our guides impressed a few things upon us about the production of true Scotch whisky. For off, Glengoyne is unique in that they are the only distillery to use water from the Highlands and age the whisky in cask barrels in the Low lands. The waterfall in the back of the property is stunning, and my pictures do not do it justice, but I tried to capture the irrigations system as it flows onto the property and is naturally filtered by the rocks and stones before it enters the production facility.
They next spent an inordinate amount of time talking about how they smoke their barley-all I remember is that they don’t use peat. I am guessing that is important!
We were then treated to some free samples. This was a very popular part of the tour, for everyone except me, not a fan! They passed around the whisky, which always looks like urine to me and tastes like gasoline. Everyone loved it! The tour continued, after a short video on the history of the distillery which has been operating non stop since 1833. Our guide explained that Scotch whisky is the only “true” whisky and the only one allowed to be spelled without the “e”. So if you see “whiskey” it was not produced in Scotland and is therefore, by his definition, inferior! He was quite sure on that point!
We moved onto the storage facility.
This beautiful display demonstrated how the whisky changes over time in sherry casks. There were several other such displays for aged whisky in other types of wooden casks barrels.
I loved the colorful barrels in the storage room
The tour ended with a stop in the gift shop (of course, what tour does not stop in the gift shop!) where another sample was distributed to the crowd. I took a pass as the subtle difference between unleaded and diesel are lost on me!
We hopped back on the tour bus and went onto Loch Lomond for a quick stop.
This is the largest waterway within the British Isles, but we only spent a few minutes here. Just enough time to grab a coffee or ice cream and have a look around.
On the bus ride back to the ship we saw this little outpost nestled in this island. It had an impressive backstory relating to strategic placement during war time, I just liked the look of it!
That ended the day in Greenock. We next arrived at Invergordon. Again, I had never heard of this town but it was (sort of ) near Edinburgh, if you don’t mind a long bus ride. There were many sights to see and places to visit, but they were quite a ways off and we did not schedule any excursions. So, my pictures are mainly from the ship and from a run we decided to take through the small town.
Looking at my run map above it appears I am running on the water. This pier is where that portion of the run took place.
The town was quaint and quite small. Our 8 mile run pretty much covered the whole area! We should have visited a castle or gone to the Royal tattoo which is a huge festival in August, but we didn’t do our homework and missed out on that.
We set sail for South Queensferry, home of the very impressive Forth Bridge.
The Forth Bridge was built in 1890 and was the first steel structure built in the world and is still the world’s longest cantilever bridge. It serves as a passenger railway and I was shocked that only 57 men lost their lives during construction. That is low when you consider that 4,000 men were employed and safety concerns were not what they are today. The bridge (and the other two which have been erected since) basically support the growth of the town. It is a quaint, but busy city with shops, tourism and great restaurants.
A typical European taxi
I love a country that has its priorities in place!
This was as close to Nessie as I was going to get this trip!
These shops and buildings just screamed Scotland to me!
All of a sudden it began to pour, buckets! We are told that happens in the British Isles, so it was time for lunch! We ducked into the first place we could find.
Just as fast as the rain started, it stopped again and the sun came out! We went over to the The Hawes Inn which was built to house and feed the Forth Bridge workers back in 1850.
After touring around the Inn it was time to head back to the ship. We took the tender for the short ride and I took a few last shots of the surroundings.
Two of the tenders from our ship
There is our mobile home!
This tanker ship was getting fuel nearby
Our departure from Scotland, next stop for me Paris, France!