Epic Europe Trip: Day 3 - Edinburgh Lochs and Castles

On our third day in Edinburgh, we joined a tour recommended by our host, Susan. We got a 10% discount with our Loch's and Castles to...

On our third day in Edinburgh, we joined a tour recommended by our host, Susan. We got a 10% discount with our Loch's and Castles tour arranged by Rabbie's. We woke up early morning, got our breakfast and ran to the tram which got delayed for five minutes. We arrived at exactly 8:15 which was supposed to be the departure time. We were second last persons who arrived (which was so much better than being the LAST ones).  It was quite chilly that morning and I hoped it won't rain.

Here's the itinerary we signed up for:

Capture the spirit of the Western Highlands and explore some of its most atmospheric Lochs and Castles.

You travel past Stirling, stopping briefly below the impressive Castle, then on to the medieval stronghold of Doune Castle, set of Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” and the "Outlander" series. From here you continue north into the stunning Scottish Highlands and on to Kilchurn Castle, magnificently situated at the head of Loch Awe and surrounded by towering mountains.

Next stop is the whitewashed 18th century town of Inveraray, home of the Duke of Argyll and his magnificent Baronial style castle (open April to October). You continue over the spectacular “Rest and be Thankful” pass to Loch Lomond, stopping at the conservation village of Luss, set on its “bonny, bonny banks”. From here you return to Edinburgh.

I have always been interested in Loch's as I wasn't so clear what it was. When I googled about it, it pretty much sounds like a lake. While I have always been fascinated with castles when I was young reading (and believing) in fairy tales. I have seen castles during the Rhine trip but we never went inside.

Anyway, Our guide Ewan (pronounced as Yu-Wan), was an enthusiastic and smart guide. I also need to mention that he is indeed charming and knowledgeable.

Our first stop was the Doune Castle, a popular filming location for Game of Thrones and Outlander (which I haven't watched yet so I can't really relate). It doesn't really look like a castle from the outside but when I checked the aerial photos online, it actually does.

There were well, an enormous kitchen and a dining room.  The entrance comes with audio which tells you more details about each side of the castle. I remember going only into two doors, while the rest were locked. And since this is a ruin, you will need to use a lot of imagination in navigating the place. We were given 20 minutes to explore the place on our own which was enough since there was not much to see. 

However, we were still late for five minutes to the meeting point, thus we swear to ourselves that we would not be late again. One Indian guy even told us that coffee should be on us the next time we were late again. We ignored him nonetheless! Being late for 5 minutes in a group tour is still reasonable, duh? 

Our next stop was Loch Lubnaig, 5 kilometers long and 45 meters deep. Lubnaig means crooked or bent or twisted out. It was a pretty sight especially with the sun finally out, shades of blue and green could be seen. There were people having coffee and picnic on a few tables. 

Another stop was the Kilchurn Castle which we have not been able to reach, as nobody wants to walk through the mud. After going half way, we all walked back to our van. 

The next stop was marvelous as we get to have lunch in the small Inveraray town. There was an Inveraray Castle which looks perfect from the outside, but our guide said it can be compared to a Disney castle so we forget about the idea and just took a photo of it. We were dead hungry anyway. 

I love walking into the town of Inveraray, although most of the time, we were really just sitting in one of the restaurants in Inveraray Inn where we had a nice seafood lunch! The small town got a church, restaurants, shops and a statue of an infantry man. 

The next quick stop was in the "Rest and be thankful" pass before going to the Loch Lomond, which is the largest inland stretch of water in the Great Britain area. It was treated like a beach, there were people who went for swimming and boating. It is a touristy area, there were bed and breakfast, shops, and restaurants. There were lots of people that maybe when we went earlier in the morning, it would feel more serene? 

Traffic was quite bad when we drove back all the way to Edinburgh, but we still managed to reach the centre at 6:30 pm so it was still okay. The sun was still out as the sun usually sets at 9 pm (or onwards) during summer. 

It has been a nice day out and surely, there is a lot to see in Scotland. Here's a photo of me and Ewan who was wearing a kilt. The kilt was banned for quite some time until Sir Walter Scott encouraged people to wear it during the visit of King George IV. Ewan has elaborated a lot on Scotland's history and culture that we definitely recommend him to anyone taking Rabbie's tour.

We ended the evening by watching one more Fringe show - we went for the Sherlock Holme's improvised comedy show where they would pick the topic from the audience. We eventually watched a crime on a zoo being solved. It was funny (but sexist).

I love the fringe, there were probably thousands of show you can watch. If time and budget allows, I want to go back next year just to watch these shows. 

Anyway, it was time to pack for our next stop - LONDON! 

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