SCOTLAND - Popularly known for being home to Haggis-eating, Bagpipe-playing, Kilt-wearing and Whisky-drinking folk, Scotland is this and much more. Her islands and highlands have been staging grounds for her adventurous and challenging history.
TRAVEL - Our journey will take us to remote islands, ancient castles and forts. We will explore Neolithic sites, taste Haggis, hear the skirl of bagpipes, and visit sites of historic significance..
OUR CHOSEN ROUTE was about 900km long and we hired a car. In the UK a smaller car rather than larger is preferable due to higher petrol costs.
HISTORY: Scotland has been subjected to influences from the Romans, Irish invaders, Vikings, French activity and English territorial ambitions. Scotland’s misty prehistory has left outstanding monuments, particularly on her outer islands.
THE ROMANS: gave the name Caledonia to the land north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of the empire. The military presence of Rome lasted for little more than 40 years for most of Scotland. At no time was even half of Scotland's land mass under Roman control.
THE SCOTS 500AD: Increased migration of Scoti or Scots from Ireland to Scotland leads to the establishment of the kingdom of Dalriada in what is now Argyll.
VIKINGS:After the arrival of the Vikings in the late 700s, Scandinavian rulers established colonies along coastal sections and on the islands. LORD OF THE ISLES, BRAVEHEART, ROBERT THE BRUCE, KING JAMES VI - Scottish history does get quite complex!
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT SCOTLAND:The Scots have their own pound notes, which are on par with England's, but not readily accepted in England. The landscape will amaze you, so try to get out and do some walking. Visit the historic sites, and give thanks for a day without rain..
SOME HIGHLIGHTS: Scotland accounts for 1/3 of Britain’s surface area, but 80% of its coastline and 10% of its population. We will be touring and exploring the islands that make up this coastline and meeting some of the people that make this great nation.
Our journey will take us to remote islands, ancient castles and forts. We will explore Neolithic sites, taste Haggis, hear the skirl of bagpipes, and visit sites of historic significance.
ROUTE PLANNER: There's so much to see in Scotland - depends on how much time you have. Lonely Planet has a number of suggestions - one week, two weeks, etc. Our journey was through the islands, but by no means a peripheral journey, as much of Scotland's history is intertwined with its islands - Inner Hebrides, Western Isles and the Orkneys.
YOUR SCOTTISH ACCOMMODATION: This is usually in B&Bs or inns and can be booked in advance. We found that in some cases we could ring a day ahead for a night's accommodation.
FOOD: Mostly good quality traditional Scottish food is served up at B&Bs and village inns and there are wide choices in their menu. Most B&B owners can cater for vegetarians or people with other food preferences if given sufficient notice. Many establishments serve HAGGIS.
WHEN TO GO: The northern Spring or Autumn seasons are recommended as accommodation is easier to obtain and the tourist numbers are lower.
WALKING GEAR: Scotland is a marvellous place to explore on foot. Good walking boots and socks are critical. Your shoes should have been worn in. Also important is what rain gear to take. Make sure it’s made from a breathable material.
The following is an outline of the 12-day journey we took driving around Scotland.