Posts Tagged ‘Haggis Adventures’

Royal Highland Christmas – yet another, Haggis Adventure

January 12, 2012

Christmas is indeed my favourite and sadly for the last two years I haven’t been able to head home and spend those days with my family. Last year I was stuck working at Starbucks- but this year I was lucky enough to have 5 days off as the juice bar was closed :D

I had a few options open to me- going to London to spend time with friends, hanging around Edinburgh- cooking my own meal etc, or signing on to yet another Haggis tour to spend some more time in the Highlands.
I decided to go to London, but then when I started looking at train times etc… it was a bit of a mess. I had to work on the morning of the 27th and the trains weren’t co-operating. So I decided to treat myself and do the trip. If I wasn’t going to be with family or friends- having a 3 day adventure was indeed the next best thing.

It was a pretty big group- I think there were 36 or 37 of us in total with our tour guides Greg (Greggles) and Chris (who was also a guide on my trip in September). There were quite a few things that we did that I’d already seen/done in September but it was kinda nice and twilight zone-esque to end up at these stops again after feeling like I’d never set foot there again.

For instance- our first stop The Wallace Monument in Stirling- when I was there last time it was chucking it down- so it was hip to linger a little longer exploring.

We stopped at The Green Welly Stop for lunch and I must admit I was the most excited to have the fish pie again. I might have dreamed about it. Once. So delicious. That cupcake by the way, was maaagggnificent.

Then we drove through Glen Coe where you find the Three Sisters. One of my favourites. Would love to have some extra time out there…

Photos don’t do any of this justice.

Then we went on to Loch Ness where JOY OF JOYS! OF ALL THE JOYS IN JOYVILLE- we were going to do the Nessie Haka.

This is Urqhart Castle- saw this bad boy in September as well…

Dug this wee tree by the Loch…

Gazing into Loch Ness prior to the Haka… :D This was my third time doing this bad boy, and no- it does not lose it’s appeal. Christmas came early.

Then we made it to our destination The Royal Highland Hotel in Inverness.

I decided the first thing to do after seeing the massive bathroom was to take a bath. IT WAS THE BEST BATH IN LIFE. The towels on the rack were so bloody warm. SO BLOODY WARM. Which prompted me to take the photo below to commemorate those towels. Those glorious Christmas Eve towels. *snuggle snuggle snuggle*

The grand staircase in this bad boy was apparently inspiration for the one they constructed in the Titanic flick- it was impressive.

That night we went to a club called Hush where we were all very quiet. (Bad joke? Yes.) It was a pretty good time- free champagne and a free drink voucher yes, yes. Got to dance to Bootylicious as Chris showed off his sweet dance moves. But I did call it a night early as I was running on a mere 4 hours of sleep.

The next morning we were all greeted with stockings on the bus filled with things like Irn Bru and these fetching Christmas hats which were worn for most of the day.

We spent our day something, something Christmas hill… …wandering the Highlands…

Duke of Sutherland…

I have never felt wind like that in my entire life. Not on Orkney, not at the Butt of Lewis, no, no… this wind picked me up and threw me on my ass then proceeded to drag me a few meters after flinging off my glasses in a fit of joy. Real wind friends. Real. Wind.

But what a view…

The victorious majority. Wahey!

There should be a photo somewhere of the entire crew at the top of this guy but I have not come across it in my travels yet.

Buddy on the right there demonstrates a bit the force of that wind.

This was the only snow I interacted with at Christmastime… beggars shall not be choosers no? No.

Then we ate our Christmas lunch in the gardens of Dunrobin Castle.

Tres princess-like. Our sandwiches were strange with three bloody slices of bread… weird- weird sandwich.

Everyone likes tree tunnels. These are the lovely South African friends I made- James, Kath and Clara.

James and I explored this majestic gate. Yes, majestic. I might have licked it.

Then we went to Dornoch Beach for a Christmas stroll. You can only have Christmas strolls on Christmas so that’s what it’s called.

I collected seashells as I didn’t grow up by the sea this brings me the most pleasure. :D

Then we made our way back to the hotel where I had yet another bath. Be jealous. You should be. Then I got dressed up (read: got out my tittays in a little black numbah) and went down for Christmas dinner.
We had Christmas crackers and everything. It was LOVELY.

The starter- soup- some lentil variety if I remember correctly…

This is Nkoyo my Nigerian seat mate. She is absolutely AMAZING. We had such a lovely time together. And to my right is a Kiwi who fell in love with Irn Bru. Yes… Irn Bru.

Christmas dinner… was kinda mediocre truth me told. But meh, at this point I was winning anyway by drinking all the win(e).

James makin’ faces with Kath-

Christmas pudding- which tipped the scale into “I ate too much” territory.

Then after our delicious meal it was time for a Ceilidh. I was stoked as um… well… this accordion player Fiona who I think is kinda the prettiest lady ever was coming from Fort Augustus. She’d been at Morag’s Lodge when I was there in September. I got to tell her she was the prettiest and I got a wee kiss. BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER.

Also best dancing ever. I had the epic dancing bruises to prove the awesomeness.

The next morning we had to pack up and head home of course stopping at some lovely spots along the way-
I got to go to Culloden again.

Necessary Haggis bus photo-

Then we headed to the Ruthven Barracks which looked pretty interesting as the whole area was flooded.

Impressive no?

I loved lookin’ at the snowy mountains on the ride back to Edinburgh… pretteh.

Our final stop was the Falls of Bruar. Nice wee saunter.

And there we have it. That was how I spent Christmas- not your normal Christmassy shenanigan. But Christmas goodness no less. Was nice to meet some lovely new folk from Nigeria, South Africa, America etc… and to hang with Christo.

Pretty cool to tell some saucy level jokes to the right crowd. Let the “Q” reign superior.

K

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Scotland Playlist

October 16, 2011

Ok here we are- my McMarmalade playlist for those with Spotify.

If you do not have Spotify I recommend you get it- here.

Please note- The Jezabels tune is on there purely for myself as I was introduced to it at a pub by some dude while eating haggis but surely anyone can enjoy it.

Also- Spotify has no Led Zeppelin- hence the cover band.

For those of you who do not have Spotify and do not wish to play the download game- You Tube will suffice yes?

Here’s a YouTube playlist.

And for those of you who are lazy bastards- these are the more important tracks.

K

Scotland Adventure Day 11- Kyleakin, Caisteal Maol, Skye Bridge, Eilean Donan Castle, Five Sisters of Kintail, Loch Garry, Spean Bridge, Glencoe, Green Welly Stop, Hamish-Heather-Honey, Wallace Monument

October 6, 2011

Started the morning quite hungover but prepared with painkillers, loads of orange juice and water. Later I discovered that a cheese bun would be the ultimate remedy.

Deb and I wandered Kyleakin before our departure time- I think the overcast skies suited the day- a bit of melancholy knowing the trip was coming to an end.

*sigh*

This is Caisteal Maol a ruined castle- it’s also known as Dunakin Castle.

You can see Skye Bridge in the distance- there’s a bit of controversy over it’s construction which can be read at the link.

This coo was a treat for a very tired Deb and Kayla. We made quick friends.

This is Saucy Mary’s Lodge

Our first stop that morning was Eilean Donan Castle.

She’s a beaut!

Sexy ladies in front of the castle- Deborah, Shae, Kerstin, Deb, Emma and yours truly-

Next we learned about the Five Sisters of Kintail

I sadly not only missed our crossing of Skye Bridge but some bits and bobs of storytelling because I was committed to drawing our Clan McMarmalade front page for the ‘book of awesome’- which documents memories from our grand adventure. :( Pleased with my wee art project but could kick myself – for that and the hangover really- argh argggle

We went by Loch Garry

Then stopped for a hot beverage in Spean Bridge where I found this handsome fella-

Next up was the majestic (yes, majestic) Glen Coe.

This is where Chris told us about the Massacre of Glencoe :(

We stopped at The Green Welly Stop where I acquired this fish pie which made love to my taste buds for about 3o minutes. (Yes, it was that good.)

Then we met Hamish, Heather and Honey – clearly the most awesome coos of the Highland variety.

This is Deb’s moment of glory as she becomes BFFs with Honey.

Our final :( stop was the Wallace Monument in Stirling.

View from the top-

None of us really wanted to separate when we were dropped off at the Haggis office- these lovely, lovely people felt like family now. A few had to leave due to previous travel arrangements etc- but 12 of us made plans for dinner to milk those last few moments.

Deborah, Deb and I went and had a tasty hot chocolate and then we went for Chinese buffet nummers.
Kerstin, Sophia, Scott, Casey and moi-

Emma took these lovely photos ;) – the sauciest of the faces

And then we parted ways. :(

And I went and drank beer with Mr. Kissyface, the lovely Eddie Ross and the lovely Mary.

/Haggis Adventure
Enter- Edinburgh Pt. 2

K