We had a nice sleep in this morning and then scrambled eggs with mushrooms and bacon for breakfast. It’s rained overnight and the sky is very cloudy this morning. After shopping for lunch in Aberfoyle we went over Dukes Pass to Loch Katrine. We did a 50 minute walk next to the Loch and went to the top of Glen Finglass Falls. The Loch provides water to Glasgow. Our next stop was the Brig o’Turk Tea Room which was established in 1923. We had espressos and shared a cream tea which was not as good as any we’ve had to date. We then made our way to Callander where we had lunch next to the water, before walking up and down the main road. We walked to Bracklinn Falls. The old iron bridge was destroyed in a flash flood in 2004 and replaced with a modern structure. On the road to Stirling we stopped at the Scottish Antiques and Art Centre. After a look at various items we made our way to Deanston Distillery. This is in Doune on the River Teith and is a converted cotton mill. After 180 years the mill closed in 1965 and was opened the following year as a distillery. 80% of their whisky is blended, including their own label of Scottish Leader. We tasted their single malt virgin oak and the 12 year old, which we bought. This is aged in bourbon casks and cost £37! We had espressos in the coffee brothy before heading to Stirling to do shopping. Today we walked just over 9km. Tonight’s whisky is Cragganmore 12 year old for Dave and Dalmore 12 year old for me. Wine is Mondelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo from Italy. Dinner was four cheese tortolloni with a vegetarian sauce. This was followed by strawberries and cream and then cheese and biscuits.
After a relaxing start to our day and super sized omelettes we left the apartment at 10:30. We stopped in Aberfoyle to get a baguette and some ham and pâté for lunch and then headed up the road half a block! The road to Callandar was closed due to a police accident. Our plans for the day changed we headed toward Glasgow. Our first distillery visit was to Glengoyne which was established in 1833. They have a time capsule buried representing the typical pub from 1983 with 12 items in a whisky barrel. There is a waterfall and stream leading to the distillery. The whisky is unpeated and aged in sherry barrels. Here you can fill your own bottles and there are various tours on offer. We didn’t do one as we’ve already had an extensive distillery tour at Edradour on our last visit. We then turned back the way we had come and turned towards Drymen. Our destination Loch Lomand which is part of the Trossachs National Park. We stopped at Auchentullich farm shop for espressos and bought some leeks. We stopped at Luss where they are filming a period piece. Whisky Door (?) forms part of the £45 million industry in Scotland. We had lunch at the start of the Pilgrimage Pathway Project and then went to the Loch Lomand Arms Hotel for a half pint – which is cheaper than espresso! Dave had the Southern Summit which was quite fruity and I had the Lochtoberfest festival ale. Both were from the Loch Lomand Brewery. We drove past the power station at Inveruglas that we had seen yesterday from Inversnaid. We rounded the north end of the Loch and then stopped at the Falls of Falloch. The next Loch was Lubhair and then Loch Lubnaig. We had a short walk and Kilmahog before going past Loch Venachar and Loch Achray. We made our way back to Aberfoyle, to the Aberfoyle Butcher. He’s been in business for 26 years and kindly opened up for us. We bought locally reared pork chops – free range for dinner. Then we went to The Wee Tablet where I got a Scottish tablet ice cream, and Dave the raspberry ripple. We came back to the apartment and Dave went to gym while I blogged 🙂 We then went to the cocktail lounge. Dave had a Glengoyne 15 year old and I had the Jura Superstition. We are drinking Innis and Gunn ‘the original’ beer with dinner tonight. We had black pudding, asparagus and shitake mushrooms with our chops and then strawberries and cream for dessert. Cheese and biscuits ended off our meal.
Our day started with eggs, black pudding and kippers for breakfast. At 10am we headed out for a walk to Kinlochard. We walked around the Loch and then up the mountain on the Couliegarten walk which gave stunning views over the area. This is a 2.5 mile walk and quite steep. We then stopped at the Wee Blether Tearoom for the largest fruit scone I’ve seen! That sufficed for lunch. We then came back to the lodge – having walked over 7km’s. We caught the end of the welcome talk and then had a bit of R and R in the apartment. We headed to Aberfoyle to watch the Italian Grand Prix but Dave had worked out the time wrong and we walked into the pub just as the race ended. So, we went to the Wallace Bar at the Forth Inn. Dave had a Jaw Brew Fathom and I had a Thistly Cross. After walking around Aberfoyle we drove to Stronachlachar and on to Loch Katrine. We had espressos at Pier Cafe and then drove past Loch Arklet where there are waterworks, to Inversnaid and Loch Lomand. We walked to the waterfall at Craigoston Woods and to Rob Roy’s view point. We then drove back to the apartment having walked a total of 9.75 km! Had a glass of Hobgoblin Ale before dinner. Watched the F1 highlights package. Very interesting to watch 53 laps in 7.5 minutes. Supper tonight was Scottish lamb loin chops, leeks and stuffed mushrooms. We went to the Hotel so Dave could check emails and then back to the apartment for cheese and biscuits.
Woke up just after 7 and had a slow start to the morning. We had breakfast at The Square Edinburgh. Dave chose the mini Scottish breakfast, Mark a morning roll with double bacon and I had the porridge. Went to the Scottish National Museum. After a short walk around we headed towards Grassmarket. We bought cheese at IJ Mellis. Mark found Steampunk Coffee which is the perfect gift for the wedding couple as it’s the theme of their ceremony. At Grassmarket we tasted and bought Mead from a young man dressed for the occasion. We also spent £5.90 on a fair amount of vegetables. Our coffee stop was at a pub established in 1516! After the White Hart we went to the Castle Terrace market. We then walked back to Stockbridge and headed towards York Place. We had lunch at Jekyll & Hyde. I had a half pint of Highland IPA, Dave a half pint Guinness and Mark a pint of Innis & Gunn which was the best choice. So far today we’ve walked nearly 6km. The boys had pulled pork panini’s and I had a loaded potato. It’s sad that our time with Mark is coming to an end! Got back to the hotel and collected our luggage, hugged Mark goodbye and got straight onto the tram. The trip is 40 minutes and there is free WiFi on board. The tram goes to Murrayfield which must be a pleasure for the spectators. We arrived at Europcar at about 14:05 and took a ticket. After a 10 minute wait we were told there were no cars available and we would be given the next one to become available. An hour later we were called for our car – a Kia Venga and we were off. Stopped in Stirling to do shopping for the basics, dinner, breakfast and some beer, cider and wine and then drove to MacDonald Forest Arms. Checked in, schlepped the bags and shopping up to the 3rd floor and unpacked. The view from our apartment is amazing, trees and Loch Ard and it’s so quiet. Went for a drink in the cocktail bar. Old Pulteney 12 year old for me, and the Three Wood for Dave. Wine tonight is Chateau de Fauzan Minervois 2013. On the menu is spinach and ricotta tortellini with a vegetable sauce. After cheese and biscuits I decided it was bed time. We have twin beds which at least means no fighting over the duvet.
Woke up far too early in my opinion, with not enough coffee. Had a lovely breakfast on the plane and after disembarking came through security to the transit lounge. There is no way to get to the Salon Icare Lounge that we can see. Had croissants and espresso – about a triple. Now waiting for our flight to Edinburgh which leaves at 10.
Arrived in Edinburgh and got through border control after a fair wait. Collected our bags – my lock had been broken off so while I reported that Dave changed our car hire booking. Caught the tram to York Place – free WiFi on the tram and an easy journey. Met Mark at the Hotel – so amazing to see him. Took a walk to the Albanach for lunch. I had Tobermory 10 year old to drink, Mark has the Auchentoshan “Three Wood” and Dave had a Springbank. I had scampi to eat which was excellent. Mark had a burger and Dave haggis. We then walked up to the castle and back and found a shop selling charms. Then found another shop selling spurdles. Stopped for coffee before heading down to Holyrood House and then a nice walk past monuments, through cemeteries, and up to see views over the city. Now back at the hotel relaxing before dinner. We had Laduree macarons for tea. A treat from Paris. Frambois for me, chocolate for Mark and salted caramel for Dave. It’s amazing to just spend time with Mark and a blessing.
Mark got dressed into the clothes he’s wearing to a Victorian wedding. He looks fantastic! After a shower and some relaxing we took a walk to the Scran and Scallie. Meaning food and children, Tom Kitchin’s gastro pub is amazing. The food was excellent and the staff fantastic. I will do a review on my blog. We had a good walk back to the Hotel and within 5 minutes of getting here exhaustion set in. I was so happy with how Mark can just chat with us about anything! I climbed into bed and discovered the soft mattress is actually the springs which have given in. Despite that, and the noise, I managed a fair night’s sleep.
What a pleasure the start of this trip was. Left Cape Town at 14:10 and got to Johannesburg at 16:00. Went to the Air France desk to get our boarding passes. Our luggage was checked through from Cape Town to Edinburgh. Border control was a breeze and we sat in the lounge relaxing until it was time to board. Now on the flight to Paris! A glass of champagne to kick off the flight and then curried fish for dinner. We had a nice meal, some wine and then tea for me with my sleeping tablet. Which did not work straight away. Had a restless sleep which for the first time was not comfortable due to my knee.