May 2000

Most of the pictures expand when clicked on

Arrived in the am and went to the Blades Hotel on a nice street not to far from the Themes.
Spent the afternoon at Westminster Abby which was closed during our first trip to Britain.  Also took a quick jaunt to the British Museum.  That evening we saw a show called Buddy which was a review of the Buddy Holly story.  Very entertaining.
The next day we picked up our car for the tour of Northern England and Scotland.  They gave us a Rover 75 which turns out to have been a very nice and expensive car which drew a number of comments during the trip.
First stop out of London was Windsor Castle which was also closed on our first trip.  Spent the night in Mansfield at the Portland Hill Hotel which we thought was a nice touch.  
Spent much of the day at Chatsworth House one of those amazing English country houses.  This one belonged to the Duke of Devonshire and was built mostly in the 1600s.  
Drove north to York and saw the York Cathedral as well as the town of York.  
Next to Castle Howard another of those British manor houses. This one was built in the early 1700s by the 3rd Earl of Carlisle.
Drove through the North Yorkshire Moors.  A very wild and empty area.  It always surprises me as to how much of Britain is so sparsely settled.  
In the center of the moors is the quaint town of Gothland.  The town is very popular as a tv and movie set including Harry Potter.
Found our way to the Wheeldale Hotel in Witby By The Sea. One historical feature the town boasts is the ruin of the Abbey built by St. Hilda that overlooks Whitby from the cliff tops. It was here, in 664 that the Synod of Whitby took place, when the Celtic faction of the early Christian Church decided to join with Canterbury and thus fell under the jurisdiction of Rome .

Spent much of the next day touring Hadrian's Wall and the related Roman forts and artifacts.  Spent the night in Gretna Green.
Next day we got to Edinburgh.  Here is a view of the Edinburgh Castle from the roof of the Scottish Museum.  We stayed at a four story B&B on the top floor.  
Strolled down the Royal Mile to Hollyrude House
Sterling Castle was next.  It was hard to take a good picture of the castle so I got this one online.
We were wore out by walking up and down Edinburgh and Sterling so we found a boat ride to pass the tile.  this is the Sir Walter Scott on Katrina Lake.  You just take a scenic ride to the other end of the lake and back.
Drove that afternoon to Oban.  This is the harbor at Oban.  Went to McTavish's Kitchen for a Scottish highland evening.  A fun show.
Took a three island tour that included a boat to the Isle of Mull, a bus tour of the island which mainly served to get you to the other side, a boat to Staffa to see the rock formations and Fingels Cave, then to Iona.
Iona is the mystical center Scotland.  It'is the island of ancient Scottish kings.  The Abby of St. Columbo originated in 600 dominates the island.  The rebuilt Abby includes elements from 600 to 1600.
Took a very nice hike up Glen Nevis.  Scotland really is as beautiful as you see in movies like Braveheart and Rob Roy.  
Spent the night at Fort Augustus on the southern shore of Loch Ness.

On the way to the Isle of Skye you pass Eilean Donan.  Although it looks ancient the castle is 100 years old.  If it looks familiar that's because it has been featured in numerous movies including the Bond film The World is Not Enough and the recent Connery film Entrapment.  
On the Isle of Skye we took a ride to Elgol for a boat trip to an island with an inland loch.  The ride to Elgol was the most interesting part of the trip.  It was 15 miles on single track which is a two way single lane road.  You have to learn the etiquette of who has the right of way and how to use the spaced pull off properly.  Just being in the village of Elgol was fun.  The restaurant where we eat lunch used a rug as a door.
Skye ended our Scottish tour.  We drove south pretty fast to Warwick Castle for a day.
We finished the trip at Stratford on Avon to see the Shakespeare sites before returning to London and the flight home.