Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We're in Scotland!

After a restful night on the Caledonian Sleeper...we disembarked...picked up our rental car...and headed out into the Scottish countryside.  To work the kinks out, we stopped for a round of golf at the course in Girvan.  This is a classic seaside links course...very close to the famous Turnberry (the site of Tom Watson's heartbreaking second-place finish in the 2009 British Open).  The big rock way-y-y out there in the water is Ailsa Craig.

Now, I want to make one thing perfectly clear.  I am not a golfer.  I have (I believe) the athletic ability to be a golfer...but I do not have the temperament.  The game brings out some not-so-attractive elements in my personality...and since the sight of a grown woman swearing and stomping a golf ball into the ground is not something for public consumption, I usually decline to play.  That said...I DID play here...and enjoyed it!  True links golf is very different from what we're used to in the States.  Distance is not so important here, because without the lush fairways, the ball rolls...and rolls...and rolls.  I was able to keep up with The Mailman, which pleased me very much.  

I was playing quite well, when one errant shot headed toward another group of golfers.  I yelled "FORE!!!" as loudly as I could...and felt something go a little funny in my throat.  I thought I'd just strained my voice...but I was wrong.  Sense of foreboding.  More about this later. 

Our next stop was Culzean Castle...a stunning estate that was a favorite vacation destination for General Dwight Eisenhower after World War II.  

The castle was closing just as we arrived...phooey...but the gardens were open! 

Then, it was on to the beautiful town of Inveraray...

...and Claonairigh House, where we spent the next two nights.  Fiona (Fee) is a most gracious hostess...a triathlete and former nurse with a wonderful, lively family...who handled our confusion about fruit tea with aplomb.  (We put cream in don't want to do that.)

Lots of beautiful things to see in the old headstones in this churchyard cemetery... 

...the Isle of Seil, where TM engaged a group of locals in some serious stone-skipping... 

...and one of Scotland's most photographed places...the Glenfinnan Monument.  If you visit this spot, you MUST climb up to the top of the tower!  (Claustrophobes, beware.)

Harry Potter and Hogworts Express fans will also recognize the Glenfinnan Viaduct.  You know, I have yet to see a Harry Potter movie! 

 Then, it was another round of golf at Traigh (pronounced Try)...a picturesque little course that we discovered on our 2007 trip.  The little white building is the clubhouse...and the first tee is roughly where you see the small group of people.  Another difference from American golf...NO golf carts...even on the fanciest courses.  In fact, you are considered something of a sissy if you use one.  And they play speed golf.  And the courses are hilly.  What a workout!

Phew!!! Are you tired yet?  Better get some sleep...our next stop is Skye!


Anonymous said...

Oh, what a lovely place!
A dream vacation, for sure.
Have a wonderful time and take it easy on the vocal cords.

Kimberly :-)
Niesz Vintage Home

Rebecca said...

Kathy...I sold a lot of totes on ebay, too. They were ALLLLLLLL big-time-overdone and the funny thing is I didn't/don't own a one. I like uncomplicated stuff even though I want it feminine. When I saw the tote at Goodwill I just knew it would be charming refashioned in an easy style. Love the idea of the pin, too! Not sure I'll ever sell any as I'm kinda OUT of that phase...but~fun to think about none the less!

LOVE your post! So want to travel more in our future.

Love to you~


Beverly said...

Ahhhhh, lucky you! What a wonderful trip. Found my way here through Stephanie Suzanne. ...will be back to see more!!

Jen Coplen said...

Hmmm...maybe I should research schools in Scotland next!!!!

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