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Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Hot Ticket


Skyfall - Glencoe/Glen Etive

Well well well, CNN have named Scotland as the world's top destination for 2013 citing "racing through Scotland's dramatic countryside" as just the ticket in 2013.
Glencoe gives me the heebie jeebies ( and I'm not even a MacDonald)  but there is nothing like 
 a romp  through this green and pleasant land.
This week I have been doing just that around Loch Lomond which has been a cool glass of water for my fevered spirits.

The Great Glen divides the nation. To the east are rolling lands and  a soft natural beauty,  but the west of Scotland is made from a very distinct tectonic plate which was once part of Greenland and Norway. Here the land rises as if a giant's fist has punched up from the underworld; creating a landscape of rugged sharp crags, the violence of which is tempered by our noble guardians, forests of ash, beech, birch and stalwart oaks. 

Surprisingly I have seen very little of my own land. From the age of 17, any time I had any money my one thought was: 'Get out of Dodge', now I am starting to explore my home. 




cuties at the local alpaca farm


Part of the West Highland Way.


gratuitous summer time shot of the same spot.


Of course the local pub got more than a look in but only for coffee and cake,











The Drovers - Rob Roy Macgregor's local.






117 comments:

  1. I guess we're trendsetters then. ;-) We're getting so excited about our upcoming visit in late April/early May. We're starting off with a few days in Edinburgh, then on to Oban to see the western edge of the Glen. Hope to see many beautiful sights like these, and taste a wee dram or two.

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    1. Sorry to butt in here, but just today I find I am unable to comment on your blog, Pseu. Do you no longer have the "anonymous" option? All the other choices don't work when I try to use them, at least not on my iPad.

      ---Jill Ann

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    2. Jill Ann, have been playing with settings trying to thwart the comment spammers. Will set it back now.

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    3. DP, if you're going to Oban, hop on a boat from there and skip over the sea to Skye. It's stunning. But take something for the midges!

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    4. DP: do what Curator said, around Oban is beautiful, I much prefer the West Coast but you have to nip over to Skye, it is really out of this world.

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    5. I'd recommend the Tower Suite at Cameron House on Loch Lomond too. It's the gorgeous big stone doorway pic Tabs has shown, 5th from the bottom. And if you drive back over he bridge from Skye, you'll see the very famous and beautiful Eilean Donan castle. Oh lucky you!

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    6. Still have 3 hand knit and dyed sweaters from a stay on Skye 12 years ago-- absolutely magical place.

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  2. I'll shoot you an email soon, hope you'll still be available around that time...

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  3. Scotland is my favorite country outside of my own. I would move there in a heartbeat.

    Mr. Dina's ancestors are from the southwestern bit of Scotland, definitely rugged out that way. :) I loved it, Mr. Dina was not a fan. Hmph.

    I absolutely positively adore the Isle of Arran most. What a wonderful little place!

    And my most favorite person in Scotland (outside of Ewan McGregor and Sean Connery--yummy)? You, of course! ;)

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    1. Arran, is really quaint, I only went for the first time two years ago, and thank you!

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  4. Tabitha, one of these days I'm going to visit you in Scotland.
    Can you introduce me to Sean Connery?

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    1. Belle - you'll find him sunning himself in The Bahamas.

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  5. We'll be there in March, and absolutely can't wait. What's "heebie-jeebie" about Glencoe? Quite curious, although only passing through.

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    1. Kathy - because of the massacre lots of people say they "feel' something there, I don't, I just don't like that kind of landscape, it's cold and barren, I need trees around me to feel secure and happy.

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    2. I've heard the same about Culloden, but I've been to neither place.

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    3. Dear Tabitha
      Husband's paternal grandfather came from Scotland and even wore a kilt sometimes in Oz (his grandmother on the other hand was Prussian/Polish). When hubby was studying in the UK, one Easter we took off on a driving holiday in Scotland with another Aussie couple. It was brilliant and beautiful, almost two weeks up the East coast and then to the West and Skye. We arrived at Glencoe late in the afternoon, the only cars or people there. The weather was fine with just a few clouds, but it is such a lonely desolate place. It was so quiet, only the occasional sound of the wind, and so eerie. We all fell silent as we walked around and studied the landscape. A low mist began to rise. For us there was definitely an eerie feeling, sad and rather uncanny and even a little frightening. We'd been looking for somewhere to camp but were unanimous in not wanting to camp there. (Have had a couple of other experiences of feeling a strangeness in places, eg in the mountains at Delphi in Greece, though that was without the sadness or the fear).
      One night we camped on the lower slope of Ben Nevis. It was so bitterly cold we slept in all our clothes with rugs and the sleeping bags but still couldn't get warm. Peering through the tent flap next morning, we saw everything was covered in deep snow! After that we mostly stayed in B and Bs!

      The lochs along the west coast were spectacularly beautiful - cold, sunny with long vistas of mountains and cloud reflections in the still waters. We all loved Scotland.

      Husband wore his kilt for our wedding (in England), with the full regalia. He looked sensational. Our son also wore it for his outdoor wedding in a garden in Oz. All the guys wore kilts and there were wonderful pipers. It was splendid. Before the wedding dinner there were drinks and canapes near a billowing fog sculpture. With pipers leading us through the mist people said it was like Brigadoon. A great wedding. Best wishes, Pamela

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    4. Pamela - eerie, that's exactly what is.

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  6. Please Tabitha I'm begging you ...let's do a house exchange. You live in the most beautiful country in the world. I'll even kick out the kids home from university if it's in the summer .Send them off to Dani's or Wendy's .I hereby put your name forward to be Tourism Ambassador for Scotland. I could get lost in those pubs every weekend.Just tell my husband to fetch me on Sunday.

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    1. Marsha - I love the idea of Dani or Wendy going to their "aunties," so that you can make a great escape.
      I love little pubs like that too, the older and darker the better just as long as the fire is going and there are a few dogs lazing around.

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  7. My ex-husband was Scottish. Scottish people are lovely. Bit tight with money. But sense of humour is unparalleled.
    The gratuitous summer shot is beautiful. But the winter snaps are gorgeous too.

    Was mortified by the beautiful dog in your last post. What a terrible way to go. The poor owner. My heart goes out to her. Just so, so awful.

    xx

    PS Agree with above ladies about Sean Connery and Ewan M. Loved EM even when he was covered in mud, swearing like a journalist and riding over some road of bones in Siberia. Actually, that's prob why he appealed...

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    1. Janelle: Do you think that's true about Scots being tight with money? I'm not sure, I think it's an old fashioned thrifty attitude born from poverty that's fading into the mists.

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    2. Bill says the Scots were skinflints because they were in many cases poverty stricken, but too proud to admit it. If we were to list stereotypes about Scottish people, I think we'd have to say 'Proud as a Scot' (though I understand Scots say 'Proud as a Spaniard'?

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    3. I saw a French chef peel, chop and blanch brocolli stems before putting them into risotto last night on TV.

      Someone called me frugal because I went to the library. I didn't like it. I think that's bad, though. With 7 billion people it might be a good thing to avoid waste. Ya think? :)

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  8. Good for you getting out and about around the local traps. It looks bleak and cold and cosy. As opposed to bone dry and boiling here.

    The dog from Tatler story made me very sad.

    xxx

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    1. FF: I swear I was tramping about yesterday utterly freezing thinking about the heat you are having.

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  9. I need to go to there!

    Greatest worry: will throw myself at every man between 18 and 95 - I am besotted by the Scottish accent - perhaps an inner genetic thing? When you take Marsha's house I am coming with her. No reason to take husbands....

    Good for you on seeing your own country - I have been across Canada a couple of times and was so inspiring!

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    1. WMM: in the last few years I've started to visit Scotland more, Orkney is my favourite place and the really majestic landscape of the west coast from Oban upwards, Shetland took me 18 hours to get to and I loathed it.

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  10. Nice to see CNN getting something right. Beautiful pics of my ancestral and spiritual homeland. Now pardon me while I slip off into a reverie of ambling into that pub with Rob Roy, warming at that hearth with a wee dram of speyside, and jousting with RR for the attention/affections of Deborah Kerr, Kelly McDonald, & Tabitha and then having to console myself with the Premium Blonde.

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    1. GSL - you will always find succour with premium blonde.

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    2. Yes, it is high time I upgrade from Dishy

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  11. Scotland is top of my wish list, ever since I sang Loch Lomond and Down in the Glen as a wee child. Then appeared in a stage production of Brigadoon - ah, memories ... One day I'll get to see those Highlands and Lowlands. I like to tell people I know someone in Scotland - that would be Tabitha :))

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    1. Patricia - you see, I don't really like Loch Lomond but at least I'm trying now.

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  12. My daughter is studying in Dublin this spring...if there's any way I can get there to visit her I'm SO coming you're way!!

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    1. Sue - fly over, it's just 40 minutes away by air.

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  13. Ah, Glen Coe is my favourite spot on the planet.
    We were just planning our next Scotland trip tonight over dinner!
    You must go next to Skye!!

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    1. Oh I've been to Skye Pamela, it's out of this world as is Orkney which is an incredibly spiritual apace.

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    2. Tabs - I was thinking of Dunegan and how the MacLeods have the fairy flag at the ready and now i have the fairy shoes - coincidence, I think not...

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  14. this is spectacular - and the photos (especially of West Highland Way) are beautiful. one of my bucket list items is to visit Scotland. it's moving up the list now. :)

    xox P

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  15. I would love to visit Scotland one day, the British Isles are quite intriguing to me.

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  16. I have always wanted to go to Scotland. These pictures make me want to even more!
    Isn’t That Charming.

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    1. Emily, LR and Phipi - I am starting to see its appeal now but it took me along time.

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  17. Tabitha, I'm like you, as soon as I could I left, always had my eye on the wider world. But it's true - it's a beautiful place, and the people are second to none.

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    1. Patricia: the sun is such a great lure for us, I was 30 odds before I decided to look around my own back yard.

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  18. Ah I married a descendant from the MacDonald AND Campbell clans...
    would adore a visit in your whereabouts. Serious beauty just look at those images!

    Care to come to BC and stay in our wee bungalow?
    We have all the mod cons and a newly installed heated floor on the lower level.

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    1. Hostess: I think BC looks wonderful, I would love to visit one day.

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  19. I would like to walk the Scottish moors with a handsome english gent who sings songs about sending a pillow full of dreams my way -....

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    1. An English gent? mozgirl, he'd get you stuck in a bog!

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    2. Morrissey has wings - or maybe some solid wells he can't sink he's light in the loafers - figuratively speaking of course


      God I hope not......

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    3. No disrespect to anyone - if this offends anyone I will gladly remove the above comment

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  20. Good for you being a tourist in your own land. I need to do the same here. Scotland looks so magical, mystical and lovely. I've been to England, Wales and Ireland. Why have I never been to your beautiful Scotland?? I love your photos...the pub looks so cozy and inviting. Even for just cake and coffee.
    Have a great week,
    Jennifer

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    1. Funny - "magical" is exactly the word that came to mind as I looked at these photos. That fireplace looks so wonderful - I would love to sit next to it for an hour or two.

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  21. You are making me yearn for Scotland. That country changed me. I'd like to say I fell in love with it first, but I'll be humble and say, "Bravo, CNN. Bravo."

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    1. DB: you fly the flag for Scotland very well.

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  22. Stunning. I long to go there one day!!!

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  23. Wonderful photos. I particularly love the West coast of Scotland where I have spent many an "scotch mist" holiday.

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    1. Chic: yes it's the most stunning part of the country.

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  24. If one's never been then it's a must. But like anywhere, it can grate after the repeated drip drip of the weather at times. I loved Skyfall by the way. Thought I wouldn't, but it was a happy surprise. The scene you show with "M" and Bond is not atypical; pretty and haunting as a one-off, but inclined to being a bit off-pissing when that's all it's doing, day after day. Loch Lomond in good weather is quite stunning. I have some pictures somewhere, from when my brother lived on its shores.

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    1. C: I agree with you, if only we had the weather, I don't really Like Loch Lomond, I find a bit bleak unless the sun is shining.

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  25. Beautiful country! Amazing what you find in your own backyard, isn't it?

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  26. Must get there before I'm too old and senile to enjoy it. Unless being senile is an advantage...

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  28. It's always interesting to explore your own backyard, isn't it? I usually see my own area with new eyes when we have guests and I have to figure out what would be good to show them!

    On first glance, I thought that the top photo was Iceland. Your geological description of the area explains why I was fooled!

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    1. Abby, yes there are touches of Iceland's landscape in parts of the country, I prefer the rich green areas.

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  29. How lucky are you Tabs!

    Spare a thought for we poor wee wretches in the Old Smoke.

    Say hello to the A939 for me.

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    1. C: that's where I was when you and GSL and Sally were bantering, I was sitting with people and couldn't start typing on the phone like a mad loon, I felt as if I was in a straight jacket!

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    2. You have no idea how green with envy I am!!!!
      Get many rabbits? After dark the road is just a seething mass of fur.

      Missing it so much.
      Can we do a swap?

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    3. "A seething mass of fur" that's a wonderful description, I am dying to get back down to London after my trip in December.

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    4. Drinks in the Fumoir?
      Maybe we could persuade some of the other reprobates to come along...Sulky and Sally would be most welcome.

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  30. Beautiful. That's just what I need,a good tramp around the Loch followed by a wee dram beside a blazing fire.

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    1. Sulky, we can't get your paws dirty.

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    2. Nothing like the smell of singed fur and single malt.

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  31. Tabs, I know your fear of walking, but those stairs on the West Highland Way are so enticing! As that little white furball better known as Sulky Kitten said, a good tramp followed by a dram beside a fire - defintely the way to go!

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    1. Claire - by a good tramp you mean Brad Pitt, right?

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  32. I had a terrible boss when I first came to Britain, a bully, a walking talking personality disorder from Dundee; well, actually he grew up on an island near Mull. He really put me off all things Scottish for a very long time. A few years ago Bill and I spent a weekend at Aberfeldy and walked around Loch Tay. And now his youngest lives in Edinburgh, so we visit occasionally. I'm fascinated with Scottish history, the Jacobites and all that. So far as I can tell it was Queen Vic who made Scotland all the rage. Good to have your recommendations, Tabitha; will add Skye to my list.

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  33. Luss is a pretty little village to stroll around and see the Loch from the best vantage points. I'm an exciled Scot presently in Belgium (although make frequent trips back to Edinburgh to see daughter who is boarding at ME)and do miss it especially the West Highlands which, for me, will ever be home.

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    1. Zella, well spotted, I am officially old, I would like to live there now.

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    2. Just wondering...Is Mary E your alma mater?

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    3. The little graveyard at Luss is chock-full of my distant (I'm from California) relatives, Colquhouns all. I found it enchanting when I visited several years ago, and I would just love to return. Someday . . .

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  34. Ah, Lodge on the Loch Lomond, scene of many a weekend away with the Ex. (4th phot from bottom)

    The current (and husband to be) has upgraded me to Lomond Castle. Thank god.

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  35. One of the best decisions I ever made was dropping a class during my London study abroad because it interfered with a 5-day side trip to Scotland (my dad wasn't quite as enthused, haha). We took the train north, then hopped on a bus tour and I got to see so much of the country from Edinburgh to Inverness, from Perth to Oban, and I was totally smitten with Scotland and her people. I spent an afternoon hiking through Glencoe and I definitely felt a unique energy in the air (different from the creepy energy at Stonehenge, which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up). I'd go back in a heartbeat!

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  36. Having been brought up with tales of my far back Scottish heritage I'd love to go to Scotland. At my mother's funeral we had a bagpiper which I know she would have loved .

    Talking of visiting one's own country it's so expensive to travel in Australia it's often cheaper to go overseas ..well some parts anyway

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  37. Such a gorgeous country. This is like an advertisement for the Scottish tourist board. Some of my most fun times have been in Scotland.

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  38. Tabitha,
    Scotland is beautiful...making me wonder why I haven't been. Perhaps this year. This post makes me want to get out and explore this world.
    annie

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  39. oh tabitha i hope one day to explore scotland. i have always wanted to visit. it looks so peaceful and beautiful. one day...

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  40. Your home looks so incredible!

    <3Chelsea Elizabeth

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  41. I have boots like yours. They are called Sorrels here. Supposedly mine will keep feet warm to minus 40. Did you know -40 is the same temperature in Celsius and Farenheit? Just a bazaare little bit of information for you.

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    1. bizzare? Do they have spell check on this thing? :)

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    2. Sheree, I wish they did.

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    3. Oh and I didn't know that about the temp, mine are from LL Bean in Maine, bough them yonks ago, everyone here laughs at them.

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    4. Hold on I've got sorrels also for the snow. Nobody laughs at them up in the Idaho mountains.

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  42. In some of the photos, it could almost be Martha's Vineyard...

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    1. Does it? I've only been once, fell off a boat, nearly died - must go back in calmer mode.

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  43. Lovely photos and good to see that you are appropriately shod. Firms my decision to call in on my Scottish cousins in the coming year!

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  44. I can't wait to visit Scotland, I think I told you that we are trying to come out in the next few years, I'll be hitting you up for tips then! When are the best months to go?

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    1. Katherine: probably May, that tends to be our best weather but autumn can be lovely too if you get a few dry days.

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  45. I do love the countryside especially if there is a pub at the end of it with a shandy and this one looks older than ever I've seen (sorry now I speaking in ye Olde Worlde way) and I lived in Gloucestershire for a year (for me sins) and have seen some oldies. Is one of the pictures of your house?

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  46. I remembered reading in the papers when we first moved to the UK that Edinburgh was voted the best place to live. I've been intrigued ever since. I had no idea that west of Scotland was once part of Norway and Greenland. I love how you describe the country. I've been meaning to visit someday.

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  47. I thought that Skyfall was breathtaking. Suddenly I wanted to see Scotland. Granted I live in a much warmer climate in the US but oh the romanticism of Scotland. Beautiful.

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  48. Beautiful! I guess I am right on trend...I want to go to Scotland again this year....was thinking the spring but now it will be autumn if I have the time. Seeing Skyfall made me a totie wee bit homesick lol

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  49. Wow, I'm sold. Scotland is gorgeous and so ancient. I love that.
    My favorite part of Skyfall was the Scotland scenery.

    Love all your travel posts.
    Have a good weekend!
    xx
    Kim

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  50. I'm re-reading my favorite novel at the moment and it's set in the Highlands so your photos are helping my imagination out a bit.
    Love your duck boots. x.

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  51. We were in The Highlands in May. I must have a hundred pictures of mossy walls and stairs. It was so beautiful and magical. Have fun exploring !

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  52. Here's tae us! Wha's like us?

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  53. Thank you for the tour. Nothing like real Scottish moss! xo

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  54. Lovely photos. I like exploring Scotland too and have had a few holidays on my home turf in the last few years. I especially love the whole north west, Torridon and all that part. And yes, Skye - afternoon tea at Kinloch Lodge is a must! I've got a wedding to go to at Lodge on Loch Lomond in May so great to see photos of that - just hope the weather isn't freezing then! Have you got a lot of snow where you are just now?

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  55. Not one solitary snowflake, I am so envious of the rest if the UK.

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    1. Same here! A pathetic amount of snow, hardly worth the effort. My sister in Buckinghamshire on the other hand is snowed in! The usual weather circs are reversed.

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  56. Tabitha, I seem you have fallen behind on your posts! Sometimes I don't think they get in my in box :(

    Such beautiful countryside and it's no wonder Scotland has become a vacation destination. Your photos are wonderful.. love the alpacas and the pub looks like my kinda place. I like the rustic feel to it and I'm sure the beer is delicious.

    Enjoy your day!

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  57. I adore Scotland - but it's a tie between west and east coast...

    But Harris and Lewis was like visiting another planet - I think that place is a must because you get craggy coast and then the lightest blue beach with sheep grazing on it.

    As someone said to me - if Scotland had better weather the whole world would move there so it shifts out the chaff with the weather!!

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    1. For me, Scotland isn't just the place to visit in 2013. Scotland is a country for all years and all time. It's my favorite place to visit outside the US. I love it there.

      Elizabeth

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  58. Oh how beautiful it does look! I still regret not having time to visit Scotland on my previous trips to the UK. Actually, given I took my married name which has officially made me a "Mc"... I think the Universe owes me a trip to your lovely land!

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  59. i love the place .. i wanna leave there i hope ..!!!!! :)

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